RANTOUL — A Rantoul business has adopted a policy that bars juveniles from entering its business after 1 p.m. without being accompanied by a parent or guardian after a series of destructive incidents over the past year.
Dunkin’ Donuts, 402 S. Century Blvd., adopted the policy that does not allow anyone 17 or younger to enter the premises after the set time.
Rantoul Police Chief Tony Brown said his department has been called to the business at least 23 times in the last year to deal with unruly youngsters after they are dismissed for the day from nearby J.W. Eater Junior High School.
The policy went into effect May 6.
Brown said within the past year, officers have responded to calls at the business — many times multiple times in one day — regarding juveniles who are disorderly, fighting or destroying property.
“We’ve spent a lot of time there,” Brown said. “It’s pretty regular that we have officers there after school closing about 3.”
To combat the problem, police have maintained a consistent presence in or near that area.
Dunkin’ Donuts has not been the only business affected by unruly behavior.
Brown said police have been called to Subway, Speed Lube and the Firehouse Chicago Style restaurant for juvenile problems.
He said Subway officials developed a policy that if someone is not buying food at the restaurant, they are told to leave the property.
But Dunkin’ Donuts has had the most problems.
“They’ve really bent over backwards to try to accommodate these kids,” Brown said, noting the business has even provided free coffee and wifi for them in an attempt to get them to behave.
“Unfortunately, some of these kids don’t respect other people’s property,” he said. “They don’t respect authority.”
He stressed not all people that age are troublemakers.
In addition to concerns about unruly behavior, there was a safety concern with students running across the street without regard to traffic.
Brown said he and Mayor Chuck Smith met with Dunkin’ Donuts officials last week and provided three possible actions the business could take. The one the company adopted was one of those options.
“We will continue to evaluate and work with them and see if this is successful,” Brown said.