The Washington Park mall in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, has banned unsupervised teens amid a spike in theft and vandalism, KJRH reported Tuesday.
A sign posted at the door of the mall specifies that minors younger than 16 years old cannot enter without an accompanying parent, teacher or guardian, according to KJRH.
The kids “were disrupting the tenants, disrupting the customers, and I just kept getting more feedback from people asking ‘what are we going to do?’” general manager Michelle Harris told the outlet.
Harris said the mall “isn’t a place for them to run around, this is a place of business,” adding that a few teenagers were captured on camera kicking and etching the Plexiglass of a Veterans memorial located inside the shopping center, according to KJRH.
“That is very sacred to us,” Harris continued, saying the teenagers “showed they had no respect.”
Other transgressions have included unruly behavior and theft, KJRH reported.
Because of repeated incidents of vandalism and theft, Washington Park mall in Bartlesville has banned unsupervised teens under 16. The Y in Bartlesville implemented a similar policy for similar reasons.
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No one “wants to see this mall thrive and flourish more than we do, but as a small business owner, we want to feel safe and we want our employees to feel safe,” Ashlynn Richey, owner of Ashlynn’s Boutique in the mall, told KJRH.
Richey added that ultimately the aim is “to provide a fun atmosphere for customers and to have this policy in place is a good idea.” (RELATED: Thieves Drive Stolen Audi Through Mall During Brazen Robbery: Police)
Maintaining that the policy does not necessarily have to take on a permanent nature, Harris told the outlet teenagers will have to regain the trust of the mall in order to enjoy it without a supervising adult present.