Clergy study curfews to stop mall violence

Four were arrested after a fight at Circle Centre Mall over the weekend.
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Clergy and city leaders are looking out of state for ways to curb teenage violence at area shopping malls.

While leaving Circle Centre Mall Tuesday afternoon, college students Brandon Coleman and Michael Robinson say they'll most likely be back on the weekend, to hang out with hundreds of other young people.

"On weekends, between like 3 and 6, is when most people get here," said Robinson, 18.

"We are not really mobile and this is the closest we can get to the mall and the others are pretty far, so we just come to this one," said Coleman, also 18.

But so do hundreds of other teenagers, making the young crowds unmanageable, even with community volunteers patrolling to keep the peace.

"We really need to do something different," said Rev. Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition.

Harrison and fellow clergy are sounding the alarm with the city's new Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

This past weekend, officers arrested three juveniles and one young adult at Circle Centre Mall following a fight with off-duty officers. After gunfire Friday at Lafayette Square Mall, officers confiscated a handgun from a 15-year-old.

Harrison believes if the mall requires adult supervision, it will cut down on the number of incidents involving teens, especially those who get into trouble over and over again. So Harrison looked at the parental escort policy used at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

"After 4 or 4:30, none of those kids are allowed to go into the mall without some kind of parental or adult supervision. We need to look at that," he said.

It's a move that may not get favored by some young people.

"If I was younger, I don't think I would like it too much," said Robinson.