‘We can’t wait for a catastrophe.’ Officials call for greater consequences for rowdy teens after Jersey Shore unrest

Law enforcement officials say that if nothing changes with the current laws, scenes like what played out in Seaside Heights, Ocean City and Wildwood over the weekend will repeat over and over again.

Jim Murdoch

May 29, 2024, 9:34 PM

Updated 15 days ago

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There are new calls to get tough on rowdy beach crowds that several Jersey Shore towns experienced over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
“I’d like the Legislatures, the [state] Assembly and [state] Senate, to look at the present laws in place with juveniles,” said Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz.
“One weekend of bad behavior is becoming a cumulative effect for chaos that we are seeing throughout the state,” said Peter Andreyev, president of the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association.
Law enforcement officials say that if nothing changes with the current laws, scenes like what played out in Seaside Heights, Ocean City, and Wildwood over the weekend will repeat over and over again.
“Kids know they are not going to go to jail because of these laws currently in place. The parents will never know. They won’t get caught because we can’t contact the parents,” added Andreyev.
During News 12's Ask Gov. Murphy program on Tuesday, the governor said change needs to come from all parties.
“It takes a village. It’s law enforcement. It's moms and dads. It’s the kids themselves,” Murphy said.
“In what kind of world are we living in where a teenager can feel emboldened enough to blow smoke in a cop's face and they at worst can get a $50 fine,” asked Republican Assemblyman Paul Kanitra, of New Jersey’s10th Legislative District.
Kanitra was mayor of Point Pleasant Beach in 2020 when rowdy pop-up parties led to a number of zero-tolerance ordinances.
“We need to add marijuana back to what police are allowed to do their job and what they’re allowed to enforce,” Kanitra said.
“We can’t wait for a catastrophe to happen - someone getting stabbed or killed, or something worse to fix these problems,” added Andreyev.
Kanitra says he’s reaching across the aisle for support. He says the changes he wants are simple - allow police to question underage marijuana smokers, be able to contact parents and increase violation fines. He says it could be done in days if the support is there.


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