Wildwood New Jersey begins enforcing its ban on pants that hang low this weekend. The law applies to the beach town’s boardwalk only, not the rest of town.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano says the town wants to instill a bit of decorum on the boardwalk. That’s why the new regulation calls for people to hike up their pants. It states you can’t have your pants more than three inches below your waist, but Troiano says police will not be walking around with rulers.
“If your rear end is just sticking out, they’re going to ask you to pick your pants up,” said Troiano. “We’re not trying to ruin your vacation. We’re not trying to ruin your good time. We’re just asking you to do it on the boardwalk. We just targeted the boardwalk because there’s a lot of families who just don’t want to see it.”
Some have questioned whether the ordinance will unfairly target African-Americans. Troiano insists the regulation will not discriminate.
“There are as many other kids out here doing this,” he said “It’s not a black thing. If anybody thinks that, they are seriously mistaken.”
Troiano says since the regulations were approved, the shore town has received worldwide publicity and requests from places in England, Canada and Australia that want to replicate the law.
“We’ve sent this ordinance to Oregon, California, Oklahoma. I was just told that Seaside Heights is going to adopt this ordinance,” he said.
The mayor says they are just trying to send a message to people that everyone should have the same opportunity to enjoy the boardwalk.
Civil liberties groups are watching the new rules but have not yet said whether they intend to challenge it in court.