Garden State Plaza Mall cracks down on unruly teens with new chaperone policy

Some shoppers tell News 12 New Jersey that the crowds at the mall are noticeably worse.

Matt Trapani and Nick Meidanis

Apr 18, 2023, 2:24 AM

Updated 452 days ago

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One of New Jersey’s largest malls is taking efforts to stop disruptive crowds and fights.
The Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus now has bouncers at the door. Police and security will be checking IDs, and children aged 11-17 must be accompanied by someone 21 years old or older Friday and Saturday night.
Some shoppers tell News 12 New Jersey that the crowds at the mall are noticeably worse.
“I’m like hesitant to go back with [my kids], so usually, if we go, it’s like in and out,” says Deanna Lamanna, of Paramus.
She says that she avoids the mall on the weekends after seeing how a fight in the food court incited panic.
“We were leaving, and everyone was just running out in masses and people were screaming it was gunshots. We ended up hearing it was a broken bottle,” Lamanna says.
Another shopper says that she has been coming to the mall for 30 years and says that it has never been this bad.
“I see a lot of videos posted on social media. Fights in the parking lot and a lot of other things happening inside the mall,” Nicole Tomasella, of Rochelle Park
The chaperone policy is set to begin on April 28. It does not apply to the movie theater or restaurants. Department stores don't have to follow it. But when teens leave these locations and enter the mall -- they will be screened.
The Paramus police chief did not respond to News 12’s request for comment. But in the last year, the department on several occasions sent out alerts about a police response at the mall, repeatedly trying to reassure shoppers that there was no shooting.
News 12 also reached out to the Paramus mayor and Bergen County executive. The mayor could not be reached, and the executive did not wish to speak.
Garden State Plaza manager Lisa Hermann also told the News 12 crew they were not welcomed on the property. She did not wish to be interviewed.


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