Some Jersey Shore residents say they're fed up with 'destructive behavior' involving teens

"Bottles thrown at cars, bottles thrown at properties. It's just a myriad of destructive behavior," said resident Anthony Ieradi.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021
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SEA ISLE CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- When the sun goes down in Sea Isle City, New Jersey, residents say kids come out in droves and bystanders brace for what they're going to encounter.

"Bottles thrown at cars, bottles thrown at properties, broken glass. It's just a myriad of destructive behavior that's been taking place," said resident Anthony Ieradi.

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From the boardwalk to the beaches there is growing frustration over rowdy teenagers behaving badly at the Jersey Shore.

Ieradi said he and other residents are fed up with adolescents acting out at the oceanfront and destroying property.

"That behavior wasn't limited to just urination, people were in there defecating, and it's for us to clean up," he said.

There's a Facebook group showcasing the behavior. Users have posted videos such as alleged drunken teens stealing a memorial bench and swarming a Wawa.

"Where are the parents?" asked resident Greg O'Brien. "You don't know where the parents are, you don't know where the kids are coming from."

Officials up and down the Jersey Shore have reported similar issues after the New Jersey Attorney General issued a directive at the end of 2020 to reform the criminal justice system. As a result, police say they can't do anything to discipline these young adults.

The Attorney General's Office said in a statement last week, "Last year, former Attorney General Grewal issued a landmark directive designed to promote public safety and limit unnecessary criminal prosecution of juveniles when their conduct could be addressed and resolved through other means. Nothing in AG Directive 2020-12 prevents law enforcement from taking appropriate action when necessary. We encourage municipalities to reach out to us if they need clarification about the law or AG Directive 2020-12."

Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio is bolstering police presence due to the large crowds.

"We want to get ahead of this, so what we're going to do is we're going to do some things on our own," said Desiderio. "We're going to have more police presence. We're also bringing in the county sheriff."

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Desiderio said the state's Attorney General's Office has been receptive to the town's concerns.

Effective immediately, beach entrances and the beach will close at 10 p.m. He is also asking condominium owners to post "no trespassing" signs so police can enforce the law.

Since Memorial Day, Avalon police have issued about at least 1,300 curbside warnings to juveniles breaking the rules. Ocean City police reported issuing more than 10,000 warnings and arresting 107 juveniles since Memorial Day.