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Teen riots at Kings Plaza. The inconvenient truth

On December 26, 2013, NYPD tried to downplay teen riots at Kings Plaza shopping mall. They claimed that nothing serious really happened. Police did not report any arrests or crimes committed. Moreover, 63rd police precinct sent a statement that “There were no reports of any injuries, larcenies, or property damage”.

According to the police source, the situation was complicated only because about 500 teenagers behaved “like kids”, running around and being “just rowdy”. But on February 19, 2014, Kings Plaza mall once again became a place for teen disturbances. Almost 150 teenagers, age 13 and 16, ran around, created chaos and unwelcoming environment for shoppers and store owners. And again 63rd Precinct was trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation.

Police Lieutenant Vito Ardito

At the recent meeting of Marine Park Civic Association Police Lieutenant Vito Ardito repeatedly asked the audience to calm down and reminded that it is not illegal “to get together” inside Kings Plaza shopping mall. Two arrests were made after police decided to ask all “flash mob” members to leave the mall.

Ardito talked about the installation of security cameras before the end of this year, about police inside info from monitoring the Facebook and about proactive measures to improve security at Kings Plaza.

Unfortunately, nobody talks about the true reasons for these teen riots. High School students just have nothing to do during school recess or their vacation time! So, the only way to prevent future incidents like these ones are to open as many programs and clubs for teenagers – in order to keep them really busy. Sports and arts, computer classes and music, video production and discussion clubs could alleviate the situation. All security measures and conversations with parents are helpful, but they are just temporary measures.

Of course, teen clubs and programs cost money. But fighting crimes among young people cost even more money. It should be a collective effort by the government, schools, parents and private donors to fully fund such an important initiative. We cannot pretend anymore that the root of the problem is a Facebook activity or lack of security cameras.

Ari Kagan

Rowdy Teens Take Over Kings Plaza Mall, Spurring Police Response


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