Sea Isle City Meeting Friday to Focus on Summer Gangs of Rowdy Teens
A meeting of local mayors, police, and political leaders is being held Friday in Sea Isle City to brainstorm about ways to best handle large summer crowds of teens gathering in South Jersey shore towns.
Sea Isle Mayor Lenny Desiderio has called the 11:30 AM Friday, closed-door meeting to try to take the lead on a problem that has been growing in recent summers, the behavior of groups of teens gathering in shore towns, and acting badly.
Desiderio told The Press of Atlantic City that Sea Isle City has experienced the problem firsthand.
"During the past couple of years, we have listened to the concerns of residents and business owners regarding the issue of juveniles not behaving as they should. Also, I have seen firsthand the problems that can occur when young people gather in large groups. Therefore, I want to meet with elected officials and community leaders from the county and other municipalities, as well as our state legislators and law enforcement representatives, to create a plan of action that will address this problem, which is affecting towns up and down New Jersey’s coastline.”
Several shore towns felt the need to take action last summer.
Avalon, which has always had open, accessible beaches - started closing its beaches at 9 pm and the boardwalk at 11 pm. Police said it was due to the number of unruly teenagers wreaking havoc.
“From fence posts being pulled out and put in stacks with the presumption of perhaps setting them on fire to cans on the beach being overturned and even some borough vehicles with windows smashed out that are required to clean the beaches every morning,’ Avalon Business Administrator Scott Wahl told CBS 3-TV.
For the last several years, on most summer nights, Margate's 'Club Wa', as the parking lot of the local Wawa has been nicknamed, draws a large crowd of kids hanging out, often bringing complaints. Margate Police have started to block access at nearby intersections to stop gangs of kids from getting onto the beach.
Even Ocean City, with its slogan of America's Greatest Family Resort, witnessed bad behavior from packs of teens roaming the boardwalk after dark last summer.
A longtime Ocean City boardwalk worker told stories of teens stealing, cursing, and acting rudely, and even one teen who told police that he made more money than they did and called them losers.
To anyone that has kids roaming the boardwalks with their friends at night, do you know what your kids are doing ? Do you trust your kids, did you raise them to respect adults or have consequences? Do you discipline your kids ? I challenge you to stalk your kids and find out what they do all night on the boards, just randomly find them and see if it's all what you expect .
A press conference will be held afterward in the Sea Isle City Council chambers.