WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The largest shopping attraction in Winston-Salem has recently become a magnet for violent crime.
On Thursday, for the first time, Winston-Salem police and Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies patrolled Hanes Mall together.
The agencies’ unified presence is to let the community know they take your safety seriously.
In addition to hired mall security, off-duty deputies are now stationed at some of the main entrances, while officers patrol inside and outside the mall.
“We are all working toward the same goal, towards keeping the community safe,” said Cpl. Harvey LeGrant, with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Last weekend, a group of teenagers were caught on camera beating up a couple outside the TGI Fridays when they were picking up their daughter.
“You see a bunch of kids on social media fighting and then fighting the parents and everything. It’s disheartening,” said Lt. Todd Hart, with the Winston-Salem Police Department.
In response, the mall also updated its Youth Escort Policy. It says shoppers under 18 are required to be accompanied by an adult after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and all day Friday through Sunday.
“Rules are rules. If they are the ones committing these assaults and everything, that’s what needs to be done,” said Ron Davis, a shopper at Hanes Mall.
Officers and deputies who are standing guard are confident their presence will make a difference.
“I want families to come out shopping and I want everybody to have a good time,” Hart said.
Mall security is keeping an eye out for teens violating the Youth Escort Policy. Deputies and officers will step in if security has problems with getting them to leave the property.
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