Louis Joliet Mall clamping down on free-range kids

Brock A. Stein | 10/12/2017, 8:59 a.m.
This Friday, Oct. 13, the Louis Joliet Mall will roll out a new program aimed at reigning in kids wandering ...

This Friday, Oct. 13, the Louis Joliet Mall will roll out a new program aimed at reigning in kids wandering unsupervised during the weekend hours.

The new youth supervision policy will require that any kids 17 or younger be escorted through the mall by an adult who is 21 years or older “at all times from 5 p.m. through the mall’s closing time on Fridays and Saturdays,” according to a statement from the mall’s management team.

“This policy allows us to continue offering a pleasant, family-friendly shopping experience here at Louis Joliet Mall,” read a statement from Sandy Maldonado-Martinez, Louis Joliet Mall’s marketing director.

This week, shoppers should begin to notice new signage notifying visitors of the new policy. Shoppers can also expect to be greeted by mall security when they enter the mall this weekend where they will receive a handout on the policy change and enforcement.

The new rules note that only one adult can accompany up to six kids and that teens employed at the mall will be required to show a valid ID and proof of employment.

Shoppers and other guests, according to the release, may also have to show proof of age with valid ID “such as a driver’s license, military ID, state identification card, passport or visa.”

In a follow up with the Times Weekly Newspaper, Maldonado-Martinez said that the new policy is part of changes that are being rolled out across all of corporate owner Starwood Retail Partners mall sites. The Joliet mall is the fourth location to undergo the policy change in the Chicagoland area she said.

“This is a program that a lot of malls throughout the country have,” she said.

She said that the policy came from “listening to the community, and our shoppers and the city and kind of figuring out what they want.” She said the changes will allow the mall to continue to provide a “wholesome, family environment.”

She said that the new policy does not apply to the mall’s Cinemark theatre but teens under 18 would not be able to enter the mall or food court before or after a movie without an adult escort. She said that the location of Cinemark movie theater near its own entrance makes that possible.

“It will be easy to ensure that the teens go in and watch the movies and then leave once it’s over,” she said.

Despite a press release that thanked Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and the city police department for their “input” on the new program, Joliet Police Sergeant Ed Gregory said that the city and officers were only notified about a week before the impending changes were announced to the public on Monday.

He said his department would only get involved if officers were called by mall security in which case it would be a trespassing charge.

“But that’s a last resort,” he said.