“It’s important that we stop this type of behavior now,” said the mayor after a weekend of vandalism and underage drinking.
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 4:23AM
OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) — After a holiday weekend of vandalism, underage drinking and other infractions of the law, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian says he signed off on several orders to send a strong message to teens and their parents that public areas will no longer be open to mass gatherings.
The new ordinance includes the following: all beaches in Ocean City will be closed at 8 p.m. Carrying backpacks will not be permitted after 8 p.m. on the beach and boardwalk. Boardwalk bathrooms will be closed at 10 p.m. And the curfew for juveniles will move from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Many shore police departments pointed to juvenile justice reforms at the state level, which they said has left them powerless against rowdy groups of teens.
Ocean City officials say the legislation largely stripped police officers of their ability to question juveniles, search juveniles, and confiscate alcohol. The legislation also eliminates meaningful consequences for juveniles who break these laws, officials added.
“We want parents, grandparents and families to know that we’re all in this together, and we will be holding people accountable,” Mayor Gillian said. “I also want to send a message to our governor and legislators that the laws they forced on all municipalities are a threat to public safety, and they deprive families of the opportunity to enjoy the Jersey Shore.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, police responded to 999 incidents. In addition to underage drinking, police responded to incidents involving assaults, shoplifting, and confiscation of a firearm.
The new beach curfew will apply to people of all ages, as will the evening backpack ban.
“I understand that these new directives will affect many people who are not teens, but it’s important that we stop this type of behavior now,” Gillian said. “In the end, protecting our reputation as ‘America’s Greatest Family Resort’ will benefit everybody in Ocean City.”
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