It’s time to put a curfew on the Boardwalk at midnight for a four-week period from late-May through mid-June. There is no reason not to impose the change to end the nonsense that has been occurring for years in Ocean City.
The assemblage of large groups of young people from other areas has brought a familiar set of serious crime incidents. Two stabbings and multiple fights have taken place within the past week. Though it brings outrage on social media and is a public relations disaster, the fact is these incidents have been occurring for many years in Ocean City. It’s nothing new, but it doesn’t have to be accepted either.
Emergency curfews are typically enacted for three reasons – natural disasters, public health crisis or ongoing civil disturbance. The latter will surely fit the bill for Ocean City’s Boardwalk.
There will be some practical enforcement issues with a curfew, but Ocean City can use historical data and the City Watch surveillance system to track hot spot areas. Logistical issues can be ironed out over time, but Ocean City does not need to simply tolerate these incidents any longer.
There is no negative with closing the Boardwalk at night. Bars and restaurants who stay open can only their patrons to use the Boardwalk to return home as needed. A curfew with enforcement in known areas of concern will eliminate the huge crowds who gather and become problematic to control. A curfew will also help cut down on trash, which accumulates in the late evening hours because of poor decisions and carelessness.
We believe Ocean City should impose a curfew to protect public and private properties. It’s only a matter of time until these violent outbursts result in properties being harmed. The town should not wait for that to happen.