Torrance police warn of planned youth 'takeover' at Del Amo Fashion Center on Saturday

A disturbance involving a large crowd of juveniles shut down streets around the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Dec. 30, 2023 …
A disturbance involving a large crowd of juveniles shut down streets around the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Dec. 30. (OnScene.TV)

Police say they have become aware of a planned youth "takeover" at the Del Amo Fashion Center on Saturday and will beef up security at the mall to thwart any potential problems.

Should it materialize, the takeover would be the latest disturbance at the Torrance shopping center, which recently instituted a chaperon policy after several large youth melees.

"We have seen this type of activity play out in community after community," Torrance Police Department Chief Jay Hart said in a statement posted Friday on the social media platform X. "We will not accept criminal behavior, and our department will have zero tolerance for those who come to our community and cause harm."

Read more: Youth brawls draw hundreds to 2 California malls, including in Torrance

There could be road closures around the mall Saturday, Hart added.

Torrance police did not elaborate on the scope and timing of the potential takeover or how it came to their attention. The department did not immediately respond to a request for additional information Friday night.

Last August, police from multiple agencies swarmed the Del Amo mall after a brawl broke out. Authorities later estimated some 1,000 juveniles watched the melee. Amid the crowd, juveniles were fighting and witnesses reported hearing gunfire.

A few months later, five youths were arrested after another crowd's "escalating disruptive behavior" forced the mall to shut down early.

The swarming events have become a problem for law enforcement agencies and retailers across the country.

Read more: Massive brawl breaks out near Pike Outlets in Long Beach

A similar scenario played out in Long Beach last weekend, when police warned on social media they would increase patrols around the Pike Outlets after hearing of a planned "group gathering." Hours later, a massive brawl broke out. A few blocks away, a 16-year-old was shot in the leg.

Hart referenced the Long Beach incident in his message and pleaded with the community to "offer these children an alternative to violence and disorder."

Simon Property Group recently established a chaperon policy at the Del Amo mall, prohibiting anyone younger than 18 from visiting without being accompanied by an adult age 21 or older after 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Under the policy, one adult can accompany up to four youths but must remain with them at all times and is responsible for their actions.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.