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Ocean City Cracking Down On Senior Week And Underage Drinking

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Rick Ritter joined WJZ Eyewitness News in May 2014 as ...
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OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — It’s one of Ocean City’s busiest times of the year–Senior Week–where high school and college students hit the beach to celebrate graduation.

Rick Ritter explains, this year, Ocean City is beefing up patrols to crack down on possible violence and underage drinking.

City officials say last year’s Senior Week was a nightmare, but this summer won’t be the same. They’re adding extra security to ensure the city is patrolled top-to-bottom all summer long.

Fights, alcohol and out-of-control partying.

“It’s probably the best week of your life,” said David Boyd, Annapolis.

It’s known as Senior Week or College Takeover. For Ocean City, they’re no stranger to the commotion and the underage drinking that comes with it.

“It’s called Senior Week. It could be Senior Month almost,” said Jessica Waters, Ocean City communications manager.

In 2013, police issued more than 400 underage drinking citations in just the month of June. Other summer months aren’t even close.

“We need to be ready for it, we need to plan for it. And that’s what we’re doing,” said Waters.

Officials say last year during College Takeover, there were several fights and even a few shootings. But this year, businesses and police are cracking down harder than ever.

“No tolerance, strict enforcement and high visibility,” Waters said.

Waters says they’re beefing up patrol outside their own law enforcement, from the boardwalk to the streets.

“We’re going to have Worcester County police officers and police officers from Maryland State Police,” said Waters.

Iconic businesses like Tony’s Pizza are ready for the ruckus and pulling in the reins on fake IDs.

“They get really rowdy, intoxicated. They walk out on their checks,” said Denver Kovach, Tony’s Pizza. “We monitor it pretty closely.”

Becky Frost and her friends are spending the week from Annapolis.

“It can get pretty wild,” Frost said.

Just days in, the graduates already see more police.

“The police are catching people, and people are being more careful,” said Frost.

And they aren’t testing the waters for Senior Week 2014.

“I have fun without drinking. You don’t need to drink to have fun at beach week, you just need to be with your friends,” said Boyd.

City officials tell WJZ they’ve added extra security cameras to the boardwalk for the summer.

Last year in Ocean City, there were close to 600 drug arrests in June. That’s more than double any other month in 2013.

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