WILDWOOD CRACKS DOWN ON UNRULY TEENS
July 27, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILDWOOD, NJ – There is a new curfew in place in Wildwood. In a unanimous vote at the Wednesday (7/26/23) Board of Commissioners meeting, Mayor Pete Byron, Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons, and Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski voted on an emergency ordinance to get juveniles off the streets and home by 12 a.m. It will become effective immediately upon publication in the Cape May County Herald, which is scheduled for August 2, 2023.
The ordinance states that juveniles (under 18 years old) must be off public streets and out of public spaces by midnight and until 6 a.m. The only exceptions include:
1. If the juvenile is accompanied by a parent or guardian;
2. Is engaged in, or travelling to or from, a business or occupation which the laws of this State authorize a juvenile to perform;
3. If the juvenile is engaged in an errand involving a medical emergency;
4. If the juvenile is attending an extracurricular school activity during curfew hours; or
5. If the juvenile is participating during curfew hours in a cultural, educational, and/or social event sponsored by a religious or community-based institution.
The full ordinance – First & Second readings – can be found here.
This new law is in direct response to various ongoing complaints about unruly teens up who disturb the peace, cause chaos, and sometimes, violence to the otherwise peaceful City of Wildwood.
“We have been witnessing unprecedented lawless acts by juveniles in recent years, yet the state laws have taken the control away from the police. This new law puts the authority back into the hands of our police department to ensure the safety, not only of our community, but also of the teens themselves,” said Mayor Pete Byron.
Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons continues, “This problem is not unique to Wildwood. Many towns up and down the shoreline are experiencing increasing incidents. It is incumbent upon us to put laws into effect that work to preserve safety and peace of mind for our residents and visitors.”
Critics may ask, “What took so long?” Enacting new laws takes time. The police must study the problem and bring forth solutions to the administration. City Solicitor, Louis A. DeLollis, Esquire must then do his due diligence and research the laws before writing new ones to ensure that the language in one does not weaken another. Possible effects must be weighed and measured against various and sometimes competing interests from the public and private sectors. Once a law goes into effect, it can be difficult to undo it if it is not working effectively.
Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski and newly appointed Wildwood Chief of Police Joseph Murphy have been evaluating and reviewing present-day issues for some time. “We must make sure that we act in the best interest of the public and enact laws that help instead of hinder. We would love to turn that curfew back even further, but we must balance various interests. With that said, we read another new ordinance last night to enact even stricter curfews in coming weeks – a new beach curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. applicable to all citizens.”
“Wildwood is not a place where unsupervised minors will be allowed to roam freely into late hours without parental supervision. We want everyone, including teens, to enjoy the boardwalk, and we expect and encourage partnership with parents to keep their children safe while they are in our town,” said Chief Murphy.
The City of Wildwood will always work to preserve its idyllic community and vacation destination for all. The public can expect continued proactive laws and enforcement to ensure their safety, enjoyment, and peace of mind. Complaints of any nature can be reported to the non-emergency police line at 609-522-0222, or for emergencies, always dial 9-1-1.