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US Shopping Malls Begin Imposing Youth Curfews

It is summer vacation season for many students around the world - a time for summer camps, blockbuster movies or just hanging out with friends. But some business owners say an increasing number of students are content simply to congregate in shopping malls. And as VOAs George Dwyer reports, some retailers say this is ruining business.

Like many U.S. shopping malls, suburban Detroit's Fairlane Shopping Center attracts large crowds of young people during the summer months. Mall manager Catherine O'Malley says some days are busier than others.

"We would see numbers anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 youngsters," she says.

The influx of youthful shoppers results in higher sales for certain items, but some retailers say the throngs of teens can be disruptive. Shopkeeper Sherrita Wright says the kids are cutting into sales and bothering her customers.

"Noisemaking, profanities, which was a bother to a lot of older couples, mallwalkers, just people who want to shop," she says.

Retailers also complained there have been problems with shoplifting and security. So now many malls, including some of America's biggest, are imposing curfews on unchaperoned teenagers - something that has met with surprising and welcome results.

Joe Castaldo manages a shopping mall in New York says when they come with parents they usually spend more.

"Instead of kids coming in unattended and maybe spending $15 or $20, they are now coming with their parents in the same stores, $70 or $80," he says.

Across the U.S. there are already more than 100 shopping malls with some form of curfew in effect, and that number is growing.

At Michigan's Fairlane, the number of seniors strolling through the mall has doubled since a curfew went into effect. And other mall operators say they are now seeing better sales. Still, there remains one group that finds the curfews objectionable - the teenagers themselves.