Youth violence is a significant public health problem that affects thousands of young people each day, and in turn, their families, schools, communities and businesses.
Following a spate of violent exchanges between teens at one of Atlanta’s most popular shopping malls which has been visited by consumers around the nation and even the world, Lennox Square officials have taken an unprecedented step, establishing a policy that will only allow minors in the mall if they are accompanied by an adult.
According to mall operators, the “youth supervision program” will require minors to be with an adult age 21 or older after 3 p.m. every day while on mall grounds, beginning Sept. 21. Only four minors will be permitted per adult and violation of the newly established policy to reduce violent crime will be required to leave the mall’s premises.
Lenox Square has already added metal detectors and K-9 units in parts of the mall to help crack down on crime there.
“Lenox Square is committed to providing a pleasant and family-friendly shopping environment for all guests. The program is in response to feedback from the community and community leaders, as the center reinforces its commitment to the community to provide a pleasant, family friendly shopping environment,” Simon Property Group and Lenox Square officials said in a statement.
In June 2021 two teens, a 15-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl and shot a security guard before fleeing to a nearby Westin hotel where they were apprehended and arrested by Atlanta police.
On Aug. 16 Atlanta police officers were called to Grady Memorial Hospital at 6 p.m. after a man arrived at the hospital in a private vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound. The injured victim said he was shot at while leaving Lenox Square mall earlier that afternoon.
Lenox Square which houses a number of luxury boutique and anchor stores has been plagued with incidents of violent crime over the last two years which escalated during the Covid-19 pandemic.