Jersey Shore towns where teens go to get wasted after prom are cracking down
There's no special rule in the city of Wildwood that allows teenagers to drink booze. But Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. swears some high school students think they can get away with anything on the island.
We're in the middle of a rough few weeks for some Jersey Shore towns, which every year around this time are the prime destination for after-prom parties and senior-week gatherings.
For many kids, it's their first time on their own for an entire weekend. And despite the drinking age being 21, they're willing to test their tolerance for alcohol.
In turn, they're also testing local law enforcement.
"You will get locked up if you get caught," Troiano said of underage drinkers. "You will get ticketed, and tickets could be extremely costly, not only in dollars out of your pocket, but to your future."
Troiano said the weekends from late May to the middle of June "scare families" at times. He's personally seen teenagers walking the streets of Wildwood so drunk they can't stand up.
According to Troiano, the city has cracked down on the issue and made it more tolerable than in the past. The city knows "the problem properties" and makes sure landlords understand they're under close watch.
"I just don't want anybody coming down here, getting hurt," he said. "I want to make sure they come down and have a good time."
Despite a significant beating from Superstorm Sandy and a blocks-long boardwalk fire, Seaside Heights is still a hot spot for high school seniors as they approach graduation, according to Mayor Tony Vaz.
There are plenty of good kids who visit this time of year, he said, but underage drinking is still a major concern, both in terms of safety and the borough's image.
"We're trying to make our community family-friendly and not have these problems out in the open," Vaz said.
If caught with alcohol or under the influence, the teen's parents are always notified, whether or not a summons is issued.