Jersey Shore Gone Wild: Summer Means More Police, Headaches for Coastal Towns
When the amount of people in your city shifts from 15,000 to a quarter-million during the summer, you can generally count on a busy few months for the police department.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said the Cape May County shore resort is adding 50 or so police officers to handle a potential increase in crime at the boardwalk, in the hotels and motels and on the streets.
And much of this crime, he says, is "stupid stuff," such as noise offenses and fights, many of which are fueled by alcohol.
"When people go on vacation, a lot of them leave their brains at home," Troiano told Townsquare Media. "We understand people are here to have a good time. We try to let them have a good time within reason, and if you step too far out of line, then you're going to get in trouble."
The city also deals with "a lot of underage drinking," he noted.
Towns and counties along New Jersey's coast are preparing for an uptick in crime that comes with droves of visitors on a daily basis.
More than 50 seasonal officers — some armed and some unarmed — have been hired in Monmouth County's Long Branch.
Lieutenant Jeffrey Grippaldi said despite larger crowds than normal over this past Memorial Day weekend, police had "no incidents of significance to report." Perhaps the officers' bright yellow shirts are deterring would-be criminals from any regrettable decisions.
Beyond the usual noise issues and fights, Long Branch police also have to be on the lookout for car burglaries, Grippaldi said.
"They leave their cars open, they leave their bags in the car, and everyone's around waking," he sad. "If one guy gets in there, he's going to get into four or five cars, not just one car."
Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy said all police chiefs are familiar with their individual areas of concern during the warmer months, such as bars, restaurants and recreation spots.
"As you have more people come down, you're going to have more victims, you're going to have more conflicts," Mastronardy said.