Toms River’s North Beaches section, which includes the portion of the barrier island from Lavallette border to the Brick border – including the Ocean Beach communities – will be subject to a juvenile curfew beginning tonight following a “dramatic” increase in complaints with regard to juvenile crime.
“Residents have reported increasing problems with unruly juveniles congregating nightly in violation of the social distancing and face mask restrictions imposed by the governor’s executive order, and also committing acts of criminal mischief and other disorderly behavior,” said police spokeswoman Jillian Messina. “Such acts threaten the public health, safety, and welfare of the affected the communities. While we understand these are difficult times and children are frustrated with the lack of open activities, it is not an excuse for misbehavior and disrespect within our community.”
While it was not noted in the announcement by police, much of the juvenile crime has been centered around the Wawa store on Route 35 North in Chadwick Beach. Over the weekend, a photo was posted to Facebook showing dozens of teens blocking the entrances of the store with none wearing masks. A Shorebeat reporter, likewise, witnessed dozens of teens inside the store, many without masks, while food was being brought to the register for pickup. Bicycles blocked fire lanes and no social distancing was observed.
Effective immediately, all persons 17-years-old and under are prohibited to be upon a public street, avenue, boulevard, place, walkway, alley, park, or any public area or unimproved private property located in the North Beach area of the township between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The North Beach area includes, but is not limited to, Silver Beach, Monterey, Normandy, Chadwick, Ocean Beaches 1, 2 and 3.
“We are committed to the safety of all of our residents,” Messina said. “Together, the Toms River Police Department, Office of Emergency Management, and other township officials have determined that these incidents warrant the imposition of a limited curfew in the North Beach area upon juveniles.”