A day after a large social media-instigated horde of teenagers descended on the Monmouth County shore town of Long Branch, Senator Robert Singer is calling on Governor Murphy and the State Attorney General’s office to immediately create a task force to prevent similar occurrences and protect coastal communities.
“This weekend’s incident followed the same script we saw last summer, when hordes of out-of-control teenagers swarmed to the shore,” said Singer (R-30). “This is not a case of getting some people together and going to the shore, it’s an orchestrated criminal act. These are organized incidents, promoted with flyers and posts all over social media calling for people to ‘bring your booze, bring you marijuana, and let’s go to Long Branch.’
“It’s not even the summer season yet. We’ve got to be ahead of this, and as a shore legislator, I’m asking the Governor for help now,” Singer said. “Every time we have confrontations like this, there’s a risk of people getting hurt. If we don’t take swift action, this problem will get out of hand and threaten to disrupt the vital shore economy at the worst time imaginable.”
The calm around Long Branch’s popular Pier Village area was shattered on Saturday night by a pop-up “party” that led municipal officials to institute a 9 p.m. curfew to break up the gathering. Crowds began arriving in the afternoon with prompting from social media posts and videos on TikTok.
Singer complimented local law enforcement for preventing things from escalating.
“Thank God nobody was hurt. Thankfully, this wasn’t worse,” Singer said. “There were some minor arrests, but no law enforcement was injured or damage to property. The police shut it down fast enough and we got lucky this time, but an immediate task force meeting is warranted.”
The task force Singer is seeking would include participation from the New Jersey State Police, NJ Transit, the Monmouth and Ocean County prosecutors’ offices and sheriffs’ offices, and the police chiefs’ associations of Monmouth and Ocean counties.
“New Jersey Transit has to be involved. Thousands of the troublemakers are coming in on NJ Transit,” Singer said. “We’re going to need everybody working together to get this under control.”
Reports Saturday indicated that at least one train headed for Long Branch contained more than 1,000 teenagers.
Last summer, police arrested four people during a similar popup mob in Long Branch in June, and officials postponed a planned Fourth of July fireworks show in response to TikTok videos promoting another unsanctioned “party.”
“Our shore towns are at constant risk of spontaneous surges of young partiers that flood the streets, intimidate residents and visitors, disrupt businesses and overwhelm local law enforcement,” said Singer. “The task force will help bring the organizers to justice and end the fear created by this chaos.”