Wild summer in NJ: Wildwood tightens teen curfew after ‘rioting’
🌊 Rowdy behavior led to a change in curfew in Wildwood
🌊 The change takes effect immediately
🌊 Violators get two warnings before being penalized
WILDWOOD — Another Jersey Shore community is reacting to wild teen behavior with a change to their curfew.
City commissioners on Wednesday adopted a change to the teen curfew, making it an hour earlier at midnight effective Wednesday, August 2.
Approximately 60 teens ruined it for everyone during the Fourth of July holiday by congregating on the boardwalk, failing to break it up when approached by police and "rioting," according to the ordinance.
"We haven't had the issues that our brothers to the north have had this summer. We're just trying to be proactive because a lot of laws that are passed are based on a situation that happens. So we're trying to be a little proactive before anything happens," Mayor Pete Byron told New Jersey 101.5.
The Republican mayor acknowledged there’s not a big difference between 1 a.m and midnight but the city didn’t want to negatively impact boardwalk businesses. Many of the amusements and businesses are open late and count on teens for business.
"We really can't push it to any further than that because then it starts having an adverse effect on the same people you're trying to protect," Byron said.
The new curfew will also help police with juveniles because of changes impacting how they handle underage teens who are drinking and using illegal drugs.
Violators get two warnings before penalties of 90 days of community service and/or jail and a possible fine of $2,000.
Other shore curfews have changed
Wildwood is considering other steps including a ban for all age from the beach between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“We must make sure that we act in the best interest of the public and enact laws that help instead of hinder. We would love to turn that curfew back even further, but we must balance various interests," Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski said in a statement.
An ordinance had a first reading at Wednesday's meeting.
It was a thousand incidents in Ocean City, many involving teens, during the Memorial Day weekend that led to an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for those under age 18 unless accompanied by an adult. Bags and backpacks larger than 6 by 8 by 6 inches are banned for use by all ages between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The Seaside Heights Borough Council established a 10 p.m. curfew for those under 18 and closes the beaches at 8 p.m. to all except for fishermen and surfers. Also under consideration is an age restriction for the rental of hotel room, apartments or homes.
Sea Isle City also has a 10 p.m. curfew.