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Bannerman Crossing bans underage loitering after property damage

Posted at 6:13 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 18:13:07-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A new policy is starting Friday night at Bannerman Crossing. No loitering for anyone younger than 16 years of age.

Bannerman Crossing has become the new hangout spot for pre-teens and teenagers, and the property owner says increasingly rowdy crowds are now a safety concern.

"We've had a problem over the last couple of months, which has intensified," said Claude Walker, the CEO of Summit Group Companies.

Walker says the problem is unsupervised pre-teens hanging out around Bannerman Crossing.

Walker says that groups as big as 25 come to the shopping center on Friday and Saturday nights and cause trouble.

"We've had kids who have broken through our locks to get to the roofs of the buildings," Walker said. "We had a lady last week that got hit by a kid on a skateboard. "

Now there's a no loitering policy.

Anyone younger than 16- years-old without their parent will be asked to call a ride home or go back to the adult they came with.

While some business owners fully support the decision, McGowan's owner, Robin McGowan, hopes this doesn't hurt her business.

"Friday and Saturday nights, we have kids walking in and out talking to their parents and then taking off, going to have some fun, and coming back to talk to their parents again," said McGowan. "It happens all night long. My restaurant is geared towards that and that atmosphere."

McGowan does agree that there is an issue. She says she has seen plenty of close calls with pre-teens.

"The last thing we want to see is kids get hurt," McGowan said.

She also understands a parent's perspective.

"Parents need the break of sitting out having dinner and letting their kids come and go knowing that their kids are nearby, but they're also able to join their kids and have a great time," said McGowan.

Bannerman will increase the number of off duty officers to make sure there's no loitering.