After an uptick in crime over Memorial Day weekend, Ocean City beaches will now close at 8pm until further notice.
Over the weekend police responded to 999 incidents which is slightly higher than the 869 incidents over Memorial weekend in 2022. The reported crimes included assault, theft, vandalism, and underage drinking.
In an official release, Mayor Jay Gillian signed off on orders Tuesday that will “send a strong message to teens and their parents” that the beach, boardwalk and other public areas will no longer be open to mass gatherings that include alcohol consumption and other infractions of the law.
Cracking Down With Curfew
The new mandate has gone into effect immediately. All beaches in Ocean City will be closed at 8 p.m. Furthermore, carrying backpacks will not be permitted after 8 p.m. on the beach and boardwalk. Not to mention, boardwalk bathrooms will close at 10 p.m. And lastly, the curfew for juveniles will move from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Not surprisingly, with Summer on the horizon, many people -including those who travel from Philly– are disappointed in the news. Both the new beach curfew as well as the backpack ban will apply to people of all ages. A citywide plan is also in effect. It will include more police staffing, more announcements on the boardwalk and a public awareness campaign.
“I understand that these new directives will affect many people who are not teens, but it’s important that we stop this type of behavior now,” Gillian said in the official release. “In the end, protecting our reputation as ‘America’s Greatest Family Resort’ will benefit everybody in Ocean City.”
Echoes of Wildwood
The early closure of Ocean City beaches along with the stricter curfew and the backpack ban echoes sentiments announced earlier in the month by Wildwood, NJ. Currently in Wildwood there is an alcohol ban on both beaches and the boardwalk. The new ordinance “not only prohibits the drinking and/or open display of alcohol, but also says the mere existence of any kind of alcohol is prohibited,” Mayor Pete Byron said in a news release.
It appears popular beach vacation destinations in New Jersey are honing in on safety and fun.