– New policy enhancements put PEP in effect during all operational hours every day of the week —
Syracuse, NY (February 3, 2021) – Destiny USA, in partnership with the Syracuse Police Department, today announced key changes to the center’s long-standing Parental Escort Policy (PEP).
The enhanced PEP now mandates that all guests aged 17 years and under, must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian (aged 21 years or older) when visiting during all operational hours, every day of the week. The enhanced policy will also provide the Syracuse Police Department with greater authority to arrest and hold juvenile offenders accountable for violations of the center’s Rules of Conduct.
Proactive community engagement is also a priority. Destiny USA’s ongoing partnership with UnBEYlievable Enterprises Inc (uBe), for example, allows uBe team members to regularly meet with any at-risk guests who visit Destiny USA. Founded and led by Timothy Jennings-Bey in 2015, UnBEYlievable Enterprises is a community-based peer support network that helps deter juveniles from engaging in risky activities.
As New York State’s largest shopping center and the premier dining and entertainment destination for the Central New York region, Destiny USA attracts roughly 26 million visitors every year. While the overwhelming majority of visitors act responsibly, a very small percentage are responsible for isolated disruptions.
“If there is one overriding goal of our Parental Escort Policy at Destiny USA, it is to ensure that all guests have a continuous, safe and enjoyable shopping, dining and entertainment experience,” said Stephen J. Congel, CEO of Pyramid Management Group. “While 99.9% of the guests that come to Destiny USA act responsibly, including our younger shoppers, there is a very small percentage that are disruptive. We don’t intend to allow that small percentage to damage the experience of local residents and tourists.”
The Destiny USA PEP was first implemented in 2003 as part of the center’s comprehensive safety protocols. Since then, the framework of the highly-collaborative program has benefitted from regular meetings between Pyramid’s local team and the Syracuse Police Department. The Community engagement programs, sophisticated closed-circuit camera systems and other less visible measures that are very effective, also have been introduced to Destiny USA’s overall safety protocols.
“Based on recent discussions with our law enforcement partners at the Syracuse Police Department — as well as feedback from tenants, guests, community leaders and city officials — we determined that broadening the scope of PEP was necessary. It’s also consistent with the evolution of similar safety policies at other major retail complexes, including the Mall of America in Minneapolis” added Congel.
“Destiny USA is a vital part of the Syracuse community, and the high volume of guests that it regularly attracts has also included a very small percentage of individuals who are unfortunately disruptive,” said Syracuse Police Chief Kenton Buckner. “Our on-site work with Destiny USA has clearly helped limit these matters in the past, and we are confident the enhanced PEP program will allow us to intervene and actively address any incidents involving disruptive juvenile guests.”
In addition to its PEP enhancements, Destiny USA has also created additional space on its fifth floor to be used by the Syracuse Police Department’s on-site officers, which provide the officers with a more expansive, functional work area.
For more information about Destiny USA’s safety guidelines, including PEP, click here