🙁 Shore towns have struggled to deal with rowdy teens

🚨 A new ordinance allows police to take unruly teens into custody

🔴 Teens won't be released until mom or dad come get them


It may still be winter, but one New Jersey shore town is already thinking summer tourism, and how to prevent rowdy teens from ruining another tourism season.

Ocean City has a new ordinance on the books that now empowers local police to round up teens behaving badly and bring them to the police station. They would be held there until a parent or guardian comes to get them.

08226 (Ocean City)
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It is hoped the "I'll tell your mother" policy will discourage the kinds of behaviors that have spoiled vacations and cast Ocean City in a bad light.

More than a dozen offenses now fall under the new "breach of peace" ordinance, including: loitering, littering, excessive noise and vandalism. Police could also use the new statute to enforce bans on violations of riding a bike past curfew and even jumping off bridges into the bay.

The ordinance does not cover things like public drinking, smoking and marijuana use. Those violations are still governed by state law.

NJ.com reports the new rules were suggested by Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland, and without it police would not have had the authority to take kids into custody for creating a disruption.

Ferris Wheel at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, NJ, as seen in 2019 - Photo: Chris Coleman
Ferris Wheel at Gillian's Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, NJ, as seen in 2019 - Photo: Chris Coleman

With Sutherland's support, other New Jersey towns could adopt similar ordinances ahead of the summer tourism season.

Many shore towns have already made changes to local laws to try and combat unruly teen behavior.

Toms River implemented a 10 p.m. curfew after residents and business owners complained about large, rowdy groups of teens.

A group of Republican lawmakers from South Jersey has also proposed a new law that would allow police to confiscate marijuana and alcohol from teens under the age of 18 and contact their parents.

Sen. Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic, says the bill aims to give some power back to the police.

"We have just gone way too far taking away tools for law enforcement to be able to do their jobs, and so this is a small step," Polistina said.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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