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Northeast Ohio outdoor shopping areas restricting children without adults

Crocker Park, Pinecrest and the Van Aken District are requiring children to be accompanied by adults when visiting.

CLEVELAND — As children get out of school for the summer, shopping districts across Northeast Ohio have implemented new guidelines for youth.

Crocker Park, Pinecrest and the Van Aken District are requiring children to be accompanied by adults when visiting.

“We want to keep it as safe as possible,” said Leslie Muha, a guest in the Van Aken District.

Crocker Park requires guests under 15 to have adult supervision, while Pinecrest requires adult supervision for guests under 18. The Van Aken District requires guests under 17 to have adult supervision.

Business districts cite safety concerns as the reason behind the new guidelines.

The Van Aken District told 3News they’ve had several issues with children that didn’t have adult supervision. The issues include vandalism, trespassing in restricted areas and fights.

However, the issues don’t happen with all youth.

Teenagers in the Van Aken District told 3News it’s sad to see the rules enforced on kids who mind their business and hangout.

However, safety concerns remain a priority for the business districts.

3News obtained police reports from the Westlake Police Department which show that officers responded to Crocker Park more than 60 times over the last six months. Issues included juveniles throwing shopping carts off of parking garages, fighting and racing each other.

Crocker Park and the Van Aken District tell 3News there may be exceptions, however Crocker Park says violators may be banned from the property or arrested for trespassing.

The Van Aken District posted the following on Facebook on Wednesday:

We have officially entered the summer season and with that we are excited for all the programming we have in store for...

Posted by The Van Aken District on Wednesday, May 31, 2023

On Thursday, the Van Aken District clarified its post in a statement to 3News.

"The Van Aken District was developed as a community gathering place where everyone feels welcome, comfortable, and safe. This continues to be our number one objective.

"We have unfortunately seen a number of issues with many unchaperoned youth that led to us being more vocal about our procedures. This includes vandalism of common spaces, trespassing in restricted areas, and fighting.

"The Van Aken District has always had an age regulation; however, it was not something that was actively put on display. Given recent events, we will be more active in enforcing the policy for misbehaving youth. If a juvenile is here engaging as an employee or patron, enjoying the space as it is meant to be, and not being disruptive, they are welcome.

"We apologize to the community for the confusion around our original post. The Van Aken District thanks the community for its understanding and support to make it a place that continues to be safe and enjoyable for dining, shopping, living, working, and gathering."

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