WILDWOOD, NJ –The City of Wildwood will be introducing a series of ordinances aimed at preventing future unsanctioned car gatherings such as the recent invasion by H2oi which severely compromised public safety and caused the serious injury of one individual and the death of two other people.
“While the County Prosecutor’s Office conducts its assessment of local and state agencies coordination and response to the violent pop-up mob rally, the City is taking practical and fundamental steps to stop this event from ever occurring again,” said Mayor Pete Byron.
The City has been reviewing the strategies taken by Ocean City, Maryland in stopping the H2oi event from taking place in their community and is writing similar ordinances related to reckless driving, modified vehicles not meeting street legal standards and the ability to tow vehicles on private parking lots.
Byron said, “The city solicitor, police chief and administrator have been assigned the task of reviewing all current ordinances and statutorily permitted ordinances that will strengthen law enforcement’s ability to adequately crackdown on rowdy and dangerous driving.”
After years of struggling with the H2oi invasion, the key to Ocean City’s success was its ability to impose exorbitant fines for traffic violations and towing charges that created a significant disincentive for the participants to rally there, noted Byron.
Since the minimum and maximum fines for traffic violations are set by state statute, the City’s efforts will need legislation to permit a triple penalty for unsanctioned rallies. “State Senator Michael Testa has been actively working with the City of Wildwood to put an end to pop-up rallies like H2oi that overwhelmed multiple communities in the county leading to Wildwood becoming the epicenter of reckless and dangerous activity.
“Ensuring the safety of our communities has been one of my top priorities dating back to the beginning of my service as State Senator. We need to fix both the broken laws that allow for this type of lawless behavior while standing up for our police against those who would rather coddle these would-be lawbreakers and to protect our streets and neighborhoods,” said Testa.
Another forthcoming component of the City’s plan is to create a program that will reach out to private parking lot owners and initiate an agreement that would authorize the City to tow vehicles from their lots that are gathering in an unsanctioned rally. “While we wait for legislative action to restore common sense authority to our law enforcement agencies, the City believes adopting substantial monetary penalties will follow the success of Ocean City in stopping future unsanctioned pop-up rallies in our community,” concluded Byron.