WHITE MARSH, Md. (WJZ) — Following a brawl at White Marsh Mall between teenagers, local officials are asking the MTA to restructure service to the mall to prevent large crowds from hanging out there.
As a part of the new weekend curfew proposal, Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and Councilman David Marks are hoping by changing the bus patterns they would deter large crowds of teenagers from gathering there.
In a letter to the agency, Bevins strongly suggested buses stop at 11 p.m. instead of 1:30 a.m.
She also said she believes more frequent pick-ups will force minors to go home.
“My concern is my constituents and when I have people who say ‘I don’t feel safe and what are you going to do about it,’ then I have to try figuring it out,” Bevins said.
However, some who use MTA to get to and from work could be affected, and Marks acknowledged them.
“There are many employees who use MTA service to get to White Marsh Mall,” Marks tweeted. “We should respect that, but restructure service so there are not large crowds hanging around hours after the mall closes.”
Bevins and Marks are also looking at a weekend curfew at the White Marsh Mall similar to what other malls in the area have.
For a minor, trying to shop without an adult on Friday or Saturday evening could, access to the mall would be denied.
“These venues are not babysitters. You shouldn’t be dropping your children off and not coming back for three or four hours unless they are attending a movie or have a meal. They just shouldn’t be wandering. We’re talking 14, 15, 16-year-olds,” Bevins said.
However, City Council President Jack Young and Baltimore County executive Don Mohler are criticizing the proposal, saying the schedule change appears to have racial overtones.
“I hate to say that, but that’s what it appears to be,” Young said. “I’m not going to say the two council people are racist, but what they’re asking for seems racist to me,”
“While I understand the frustration that was caused by a recent disruption at White Marsh Mall, stigmatizing and creating hardship for City residents is not an acceptable response. It is 2018. Not 1950,” Mohler said. “We are neighbors with Baltimore City and stand with them. We cannot and should not put a moat around our City partners. We must continue to work together on complex issues for the good of the Baltimore region.”
Bevins maintains her constituents are her primary concern.
“People are saying, ‘I don’t go to the mall anymore except in the morning or afternoon, I never go after 5 p.m. there’s just too many unsupervised teenagers running around,'” Bevins said.
Meanwhile, police said they will have an increased police presence at the mall this weekend.
Councilman Marks said their proposal would also put more buses in service up to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and therefore reduce the wait time for patrons and employees using the MTA.
The councilmembers are also urging the mall owners to put a youth escort policy in effect at White Marsh similar to the one at Towson Town Center.
Towson Town Center and the Avenue already have curfews. Towson Town Center’s curfew states that those 17 and younger not accompanied by an adult must leave by 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Avenue requires anyone under 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 21-year-old or older after 9 p.m.