Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New Jersey Targets Nude Sunbathers

The Press of Atlantic City
August 1, 2005

NEW JERSEY - Lower Township police are dressing in disguises. They're strategizing and conducting sting operations. They're using technology to spy on and hunt down lawbreakers.The township's getting tough on ... nude sunbathers. And they're cracking down not only on the naked and the red. Police are also eyeing sunbathers wearing thongs and string bikinis.

Yes, it's come to this: authorities have gone undercover to catch the under-covered.It's hard to blame the cops for reacting if members of the public complain about the nude sunbathers. But we just have to wonder if it's worth so much effort for so little.

Higbee Beach, a narrow, secluded strip that's part of a state wildlife-management area, was a favorite haunt of nudists for many years. Most of them enjoyed discreetly sunning in the buff and playing catch-me-if-you-can. Moralists battled naturalists with the regularity of warbler sightings at the preserve. But state officials largely looked the other way.

In the 1990s, though, chats over the Internet brought Higbee Beach notoriety. Hundreds of nudists would show up, drawing crowds of voyeurs. And it became a popular meeting spot for gays, some of whom were caught publicly having sex.The state appropriately cracked down. Then Cape May County legislators convinced state government to let Lower Township enforce a ban on nudity - which can be related to lewdness but is not the same.The overexposure problem disappeared, until a few nude sunbathers were spotted this year.That's when police went undercover - they can't be called plainclothes since they're wearing bathing trunks - and brought a telescope. Posing as fishermen, they spy on sunbathers, chase down the nudies and issue tickets. One day they caught more than a dozen. Another day they caught six.On a recent sting, police nabbed two, although a third escaped over a dune, presumably clothed so he could blend in among law-abiding citizens. Police also issued warnings to bathers dressed in revealing attire.

Granted, lewd behavior should not be tolerated. Cite people who flagrantly flaunt the law. But at what point do we start to appear obsessed with nakedness? When will late-night comedians start joking about cops ogling scantily clad sunbathers through high-powered scopes? After one 56-year-old man was recently ticketed, he said: "With all due respect, they should be going after terrorists." We'd settle for drug dealers and burglars.

Source: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/columns/080105NAKED.com ________________________________________________________________________


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home