CHERRY HILL -- The mall isn't your babysitter, cops are effectively telling parents this holiday season.

From 4 p.m. to closing at 9 p.m. Thursday, teens won't be welcome at the Cherry Hill Mall without adult escorts. Police plan on patrolling the parking lots of the mall and other shopping centers looking for signs of trouble, the Cherry Hill Police Department said on Monday.

"Over the last few years, malls nationwide have seen an increase in the number of unattended juveniles that are dropped off at retail shopping centers creating disturbances and engaging in criminal behavior," police said in a Facebook post.

They said juveniles not acting responsibly will be escorted off the property. Those who break laws "will be arrested and prosecuted," police said.

Under the mall's policy, all guests under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or supervising adult over the age of 21 while the restriction is in effect, and proof of age will be required for admittance. One adult can accompany up to four minors.

In 2017, the day after Christmas, police were called to the JC Penney wing of the mall where they reported finding a disorderly crowd of about 700 to 1,000 unattended juveniles, police said at the time. Officers at the scene arrested five juveniles while breaking up the crowds, on charges including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

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