By Alecia Reid

AVALON, N.J. (CBS) — A crackdown down the shore. A Jersey Shore town is now closing beaches and its boardwalk at night because of unruly crowds.

Avalon police say hundreds of teenagers have recently overtaken parts of the beach and boardwalk once the sun sets, leaving behind damage to property, houses, and cars. Now, the mayor has taken action to stop it.

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The mayor signed an executive order to close the beaches and boardwalk at night due to large groups and unruly behavior. This is not a curfew, because curfews are illegal in New Jersey. This is a closure, and a closure affects everyone.

For years, Avalon has had free, open beaches, but now, beaches are closed at 9 p.m. and the boardwalk at 11 p.m. Law enforcement officials say this is due to the number of unruly teenagers wreaking havoc.

“Destroying borough property, damaging cars, damaging houses, ripping apart our bathroom here,” Capt. John Roscoe said.

Last summer, Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi closed the beach at night due to teenagers congregating during the height of COVID-19. He has officially renewed the executive order for summer 2021, giving police the authority to disperse large, sometimes reckless, crowds on the beach and boardwalk.

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“From fence posts being pulled out and put in stacks with the presumption of perhaps setting them on fire to cans on the beach being overturned and even some borough vehicles with windows smashed out that are required to clean the beaches every morning,’ Avalon Business Administrator Scott Wahl said.

Although their presence is known, Roscoe believes new legislation approved by the state makes it more difficult for officers to do their jobs, issuing only curbside warnings for certain offenses.

“It’s a warning the first time, it’s a warning the second time, it’s a warning the third time,” Roscoe said. “And there’s no state system to track these kids.”

“The police are there, but they’re not intimated by them because there’s a bunch of entitled children here,” Alyssa Neducsin said, “and they just kind of come to the beach at night and make a lot of noise and they’re kind of destructive.”

The captain of police says about 60% of officers on staff each night are used to break up these crowds, and a lot of the teens are communicating through social media.

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He says parents should be more involved with where their teens are going at night.