Ocean City’s beaches will close at 8 p.m. after the mayor signed off on orders meant to “send a strong message to teens and their parents” following an uptick in crime over Memorial Day weekend.
Over the weekend, police responded to 999 incidents, according to a release from Mayor Jay Gillian — an increase from 869 reports during Memorial Day weekend in 2022. The reported crimes included vandalism, assault, theft, and underage drinking, Gillian said.
“We want parents, grandparents, and families to know that we’re all in this together, and we will be holding people accountable,” he 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.”
Gillian’s order also bans backpacks on the beach and boardwalk after 8 p.m. Boardwalk bathrooms will be closed at 10 p.m. The beach curfew and backpack ban apply to all ages. In addition, the curfew for juveniles will be changed to 11 p.m. from 1 a.m.
“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.”
City Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday at 1 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. A news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday at the Ocean City Music Pier, at which Gillian and Police Chief Jay Prettyman are scheduled to appear.
Earlier this month, Sea Isle City instituted a new curfew and backpack ban “to curb teen misbehavior.”
That curfew will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., for anyone under 18, with exceptions for minors with a parent or guardian, going home from work, or going home from an organized activity.
Sea Isle’s backpack ban is in effect from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for juveniles and adults. It applies to the beach, promenade, and beach block streets.
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