Legislation Sponsored by the Lawmakers Would Enhance Penalties for Riots
In an effort to stop “pop up parties” at the source and penalize those who promote, and attend, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano have sponsored legislation to protect tourists, residents and businesses at the Jersey Shore. The 10th District Legislators point to Governor Murphy and the Attorney General for their lack of action to assist local law enforcement prior to these chaotic events, and request a coordinated plan be implemented to address the public safety concern.
In an effort to stop “pop up parties” at the source and penalize those who promote, and attend, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano have sponsored legislation to protect tourists, residents and businesses at the Jersey Shore. (Flickr)
The bill S-1206 expands the definition of a riot and enhances penalties for certain crimes committed during a riot. In addition, the bill creates new crimes of mob intimidation and cyber-intimidation by publication. Many of these “pop up parties” are circulated and gain popularity on social media platforms such as Tik-Tok and Instagram.
“The events in Long Branch were a clear picture that local law enforcement needed reinforcements to control a crowd of that size,” said Senator Holzapfel. “Underage drinking, vandalism and drug use were all on display with very little consequences to those in attendance. With another party planned for June 18 in Point Pleasant Beach, we have heard from countless residents and business owners who fear for their safety. We are urging Governor Murphy and the Attorney General to assist with additional law enforcement to protect our shore communities in an event of a riot.”
The legislators believe current laws and penalties are not strong enough to discourage partygoers from attending. They are urging their colleagues in Trenton to pass their bill and address the growing public safety concerns of both tourists and residents of the Jersey Shore.
“We stand with our local mayors and public officials and call on our Governor to properly equip our small shore municipalities with the resources they need to protect the general public,” continued Assemblyman McGuckin. “There is no reason that any town should have such influx of teens and young adults looking for a good time, especially, if they are promoting this event via social media.”
In 2020, a similar party drew hundreds of young people to Point Pleasant Beach which led to destruction of property and chaos on the beaches and boardwalk. The legislators believe that without harsher punishments there is no fear of consequence for public underage drinking and drug use.
“This has become a serious public safety issue where all levels of government need to be involved to protect our residents. Riots, such as the one we saw in Long Branch, will continue to have a ripple effect on the tourism industry at the Jersey Shore,” added Assemblyman Catalano. “Residents and vacationers will fear for their safety on our boardwalks and beaches and the business owners will suffer the consequences unless our Governor steps up and addresses this issue head on.”