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Jersey Shore leaders discuss ways to keep communities safe this summer

Video clips from Saturday night show mayhem down the shore as police officers did what they could to control hundreds of people.

Jim Murdoch

May 28, 2024, 9:49 PM

Updated 26 days ago


Some unruly crowds put a damper on the holiday fun at the Jersey Shore this Memorial Day weekend, and it's been an issue in other areas as well.
Police got tough in Lavallette after similar incidents two years ago, by implementing more special-class police officers, an island-wide curfew and better social media awareness of pop-up parties.
Lavallette, Ortley Beach and Point Pleasant Beach all had issues coming out of the pandemic but leaders say they got tough and it made an impact.
Video clips from Saturday night show mayhem in Seaside Heights as police officers did what they could to control hundreds of people.
Many beach towns that in the past experienced similar issues reported record crowds this weekend but without the problems.
"How many incidents? Zero. What worked? We've been doing this for a long time and I think it has a lot to do with what the city is set up as. We are very well known for great restaurants and music venues," said Joe Bongiovanni, the Asbury Park beach safety supervisor.
"A lot of the change has to do with the curfew even posed after 2022 Memorial Day and July 4. We were not prepared, we did not have a curfew. We had significant problems. We immediately, under emergency provisions, instituted the curfew in 2022. We've been doing it since we got the curfew done early this year," said Lavallette Mayor Walter Lacicero.
People who spend their summers at the beach say they've seen the change.
"There were still a lot of kids but luckily there were not any big parties that seemed out of control. The kids were out in packs and droves enjoying the sunshine. Looks like they were in the recreational areas and volleyball sporting activities," said Meg Geer, of Lavallette.
Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Doug Vitale continues the tough language from the previous administration following pop-up parties in 2020.
He tells News 12, "Point Pleasant Beach has been proactive in dealing with unruly crowds since 2020. We have increased the number of special police officers who patrol the boardwalk and throughout town and we strictly enforce borough ordinances."
"The single most important fact of those new marijuana laws is the inability for officers to enforce underage alcohol possession," said Lavallette Police Chief Christian Lacicero. "There's certainly a lack of respect for law enforcement, probably nationwide. We are hoping to come out of that cycle but yeah it's still an issue.”
"A few towns had a problem. How many towns are there on the Jersey Shore and how many had problems? A very small minority of the towns had it it's not like a major thing going up and down the coast," added Bongiovanni.

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