TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey town is now imposing a curfew to try to get kids and the coronavirus under control.
“We’ve been here 31 years. We’ve never had a problem like this,” Chadwick Beach resident David Warnock said.
It’s been a summer like no other for Warnock, who can’t believe what he’s witnessed lately from kids.
“Ten o’clock at night, eleven o’clock at night, midnight, going up and down the street, making a lot of noise, profanity and then vandalism on top of that,” he told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
He says teenagers smashed his neighbor’s sundial in the street.
“Somebody had to go out of their way to do that, no reason,” Warnock said.
Since early June, the Toms River Police Department says there’s been a dramatic increase in juvenile complaints in the North Beach area of town.
Some violators are from the area, others are dropped off from neighboring towns.
The police department says officers tried engaging with kids to resolve issues, even posting a warning on Facebook, but it hasn’t stopped.
“Teenagers mostly being disrespectful. You know, just throwing out the F words at you,” said Karen Ruckdeschel, a renter who visits the area every year. “You get intimidated when you’ve got 20 kids standing in front of you, shouting at you.”
So now, a curfew is in place. Those 17 years old and younger must be accompanied by a legal guardian from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The curfew is in effect in the North Beach area, which police say includes, but is not limited to, Silver Beach, Monterey, Normandy, Chadwick and Ocean Beaches 1, 2 and 3.
The township is also worried about health risks after seeing photos of a large group of kids gathering in a parking lot.
“Most of these children, young people running up and down the streets, no masks, all very tightly connected,” Warnock said.
In New Jersey, there’s been a recent uptickin coronavirus cases. Forty-one states are now reporting increases in average new cases compared to two weeks ago.
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“I flat-out get angry when I see pictures of people pretending like there’s nothing wrong,” said Jason Hartelius, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 more than 100 days ago.
He’s still recovering and has a message to those defying orders.
“I don’t want to see anybody I know have to go through that. It was, it was awful,” he said. “The longer people ignore those precautions, the longer we’re all going to be stuck in our homes, which is incredibly frustrating.”
Police will tell those violating curfew in Toms River to go home. If they refuse to abide, they could be taken into protective custody before being taken home with charges pending. Police say if “violations are egregious,” violators could be taken into custody and taken to police headquarters.