HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Teenagers hoping to hang out at Hattiesburg's Turtle Creek Mall on Friday and Saturday nights will now need an adult with them in order to do so.
The mall announced Wednesday that beginning May 25, a new Youth Escort Policy will go into effect. That policy prevents anyone under the age of 18 from being in the mall alone after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. All minors will be required to have a parent or guardian who is over the age of 21 with them.
Feedback from local government, business leaders, and members of the community helped Turtle Creek Mall make the decision, according to a press release.
"Through feedback from our community, including shoppers and retailers that have voiced concern about inappropriate behavior, we have designed a policy that will allow Turtle Creek Mall to address unsupervised youth issues and provide all our shoppers with a pleasant experience," said Stacy Woodard, General Manager of Turtle Creek Mall in a written statement.
According to the mall, the behavior and conduct of unsupervised youth have created an "uncomfortable atmosphere for mall visitors and an increasing security challenge." Mall officials did not elaborate on any specific behaviors.
Teens employed at the mall will still be allowed to work after 5 p.m. on weekends and will be issued identification by the mall so they can get to their jobs without delay.
"Turtle Creek Mall strives to remain a center of commerce in the community that brings quality stores and shoppers together," said Woodard. "Unfortunately, a growing number of unsupervised youth are attempting to use the mall in a manner that is inconsistent with this purpose."
The Youth Escort Policy can be found on the mall's website by CLICKING HERE.