Police say a parental escort policy, common at many other malls nationwide, could have prevented a rampage by some 2,000 youths Saturday night at Mall St. Matthews in suburban Louisville, reports the city’s Courier-Journal. Hundreds of unsupervised juveniles disrupted shoppers and commerce by causing fights and exhibiting unruly behavior throughout the mall. Four police departments were called in to help, and the mall closed several hours early.
The disturbances began at about 7 p.m. as several small groups of youths got disorderly. “Once this starts happening, kind of a mob mentality takes over and it starts feeding on itself,” said Dennis McDonald, a police spokesman. “We’re still looking into whether or not some of this was pre-planned, whether there was a gang element involved.” Many U.S. malls, including the Mall of America near Minneapolis, limits access to unaccompanied teenagers, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.