NJ Shore towns hoping to avoid another summer of rowdy teens
After a summer that saw a spike in the number of incidents involving rowdy teens down the shore, local mayors are trying to get ahead of any issues for the upcoming summer season.
Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio plans to hold a meeting Friday morning with mayors from surrounding towns as well as state lawmakers to consider what should -- and can -- be done.
Reporters and members of the public have been banned from the meeting.
Last Summer, as incidents involving rowdy teens escalated, Desiderio closed access to the beach at 10 p.m. nightly and increased police patrols. He is also asked residents to post visible "No Trespassing" signs so police could enforce the law.
Similar issues were widely reported in other shore towns, like Ocean City, Point Pleasant Beach, Toms River, Beach Haven and more. Some towns adjusted curfews and required juveniles to be off the streets as early as 10 p.m. Other towns increased police patrols to discourage bad behavior.
At the time, some local officials suggested a link between the rise in juvenile crime and new directives from the New Jersey attorney general that restrict how and when police can question or detain juveniles.
The mere presence of alcohol and marijuana is no longer considered probable cause, and officers who violate the directive can face severe discipline. Many police union officials have told their members to avoid confronting juveniles altogether.
Avalon Police Capt. John Roscoe blamed the new directive for making his officers wary of engaging the rowdy behavior, and said there was little they could do other than tell them to leave the area.
The Murphy administration denied any connection between the two.
With the unofficial start of the Summer season about 16 weeks away, shore towns want to be proactive in their approach to bad behavior.
Desiderio told the Press of Atlantic City, "I want to meet with elected officials and community leaders from the county and other municipalities, as well as our state legislators and law enforcement representatives, to create a plan of action."
While Friday's meeting is closed to the public and press, officials are expected to hold a news conference after the meeting ends.