✅ Margate police will enforce a law that's been on the books for nearly 50 years

✅ Parents and guardians may have to perform community service together

MARGATE CITY — Police in the home of Lucy the Elephant will enforce a longtime rule potentially punishing both unruly teens and parents.

It has already been an active season with several incidents before summer officially starts including a teen stabbed in Ocean City and waves of rowdy teens causing Wildwood to declare a state of emergency during the Memorial Day weekend to clear the boardwalk.

Last weekend, a Pennsylvania man was kicked in the face inside a North Wildwood arcade and a rumored "pop up" party in Long Branch was legally thwarted before it could get started. Two groups of teenage girls got into a fight on the Atlantic City boardwalk.

"We, and other police departments and public officials in the state, have asked parents to better supervise their children over the past few years. To date, those calls have been met with limited, or no, success leading us to take this action to ensure the safety of those in the community," Margate police said in a statement.

Margate (Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)
Margate (Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media)

'Parental responsibility' enforcement

Margate police will enforce the parental responsibility section of their curfew ordinance that first went into effect in 1976. The local law holds parents responsible for their children’s behavior between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

If officers see unsupervised teens “engaging in any behavior that is unlawful, puts their safety at risk, or if they ignore lawful commands from officers” they will be taken back to police headquarters and  parents or guardian called to take custody of the minor.

The parent or guardian will also be issued a summons. A first violation could get a fine between $100 and $1,000. For a second violation, the same fine could be imposed along with 90 days of community service to be performed by both parent and child.

Parental awareness was discussed during an online hearing held by Sen. Michael Testa, R-Cumberland. Many are unaware of their child's whereabouts, and/or also seem unaffected by a law enforcement response.

"Parents need to equip their children with how to behave properly," Levchuk said. "They need to explain to them that there are consequences to their actions. Now, they may not be legal consequences ... here in New Jersey, but there absolutely should be consequences at home."

Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was used in this report.

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