🚨 Wildwood takes emergency steps to curb chaos

🚨 Backpacks have been banned on boardwalks and beaches

🚨 Mayor vows to stop rowdy teens


After a chaotic start to the summer season, Wildwood officials are taking emergency steps to curb bad behavior from rowdy teens and young adults.

Effective immediately, backpacks are now banned on all Wildwood boardwalks and beaches from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

It's believed teenagers and young adults have been bringing booze, marijuana and other contraband to the beach and boards in backpacks. Officials also fear backpacks could conceal guns and other weapons.

The boardwalk had to be shut down for hours when a state of emergency was declared due to the actions of rowdy teens rampaging through town.

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City leaders passed the new backpack ban unanimously on Wednesday. Mayor Ernie Troiano proclaiming, "Wildwood is not going to sit back and let this rowdiness continue."

What is banned?

More than just backpacks.

The ordinance that is now in effect bands backpacks but it also includes bookbags, fanny packs, cinch bags, coolers, briefcases, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags.

Diaper bags are exempt.

Wildwood officials say violators will receive two verbal curbside warnings "before more serious action is taken."

Pleas for the state to help

Troiano and other shore mayors have been pleading for the state to help with both rowdy behavior and illegal pop-up parties.

After the chaos over the Memorial Day weekend, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin blamed Wildwood for not having enough police on hand to squash the riotous behavior.

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Wildwood Police/Facebook
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That prompted an angry response from Wildwood Police Chief Joseph Murphy who called Platkin's comments “inaccurate and ill-informed statement.”

"The crowds we encountered this year were disobedient, volatile, and aggressive toward officers,” Murphy said in a statement.

READ MORE: Lock 'em up! Shore mayors want parents held responsible for teen behavior

Numerous local officials and police supervisors from Jersey Shore towns, as well as the president of the statewide police union, blame a series of juvenile justice reforms New Jersey has enacted in recent years with emboldening teens and giving them the sense that there is little police can do to them if they are caught with alcohol or marijuana.

Platkin dismisses those criticisms.

"I get when you have a frustrating episode you want to look for someone to blame. But there's no state regulation that prevents law enforcement officers from doing their job,” he said. “The law itself is largely not the issue. We need to make sure we have the people in place with the right training, and that's what we're doing now.”

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AP Photo
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Wildwood stops pop-up party

Social media had been abuzz with calls to gather in Wildwood for an unsanctioned party on the beach over Father's Day weekend.

These pop-up parties have been a major problem for many shore towns for years.

On Wednesday, Wildwood Police announced they had taken “pre-emptive steps” to stop the gathering and on-line organizers have cancelled the event.

Despite the cancellation, Wildwood is still asking property owners and motel owners to take “extra precautions” when renting this weekend to make sure their properties are not taken over and damaged.

Previous reporting from the Associated Press was included in this article.

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