In the 1980s, shooting tourists with water pistols and drive-by water gun shootings was a big problem in Seaside Heights

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ – Imagine when the biggest disturbance for police officers in a seaside resort town was the local teenage and young adult population shooting people randomly with water pistols, mostly tourists and guidos. That was the case in the mid-1980s in Seaside Heights when things came to a boil Memorial Day weekend in 1987.

The borough of Seaside Heights had a real crime problem on its hands. Shootings were reported to the police department regularly and the town essentially became all-out street warfare, complete with water pistol drive-by shootings. Finally, on May 25th, 1987, the Seaside Heights Police Department issued a borough-wide crackdown on the out-of-control violence.


Over that weekend, police confiscated at least 100 water pistols along the boardwalk, the strip, and the boulevard. The suburban gangland ruffians were issued tickets for disorderly conduct, impeding traffic and like that, the word was out. The Seaside Heights Police Department’s tough-on-crime stance ended the bloodshed that ravaged the borough.

That’s not to say the violence stopped. Sporadic water pistol drive-bys happened, just less frequently and more clandestinely. Tourists were eventually left alone, but the locals then mostly targeted the cologne-laced, gold chain-wearing, tanning bed brown-skinned guidos of New York and North Jersey who descended upon the community in their Trans Ams and Iroc Camaros, looking to score with “one-a-dem Joisey Shoowah goils” with the trademark mating call of, “Yo, Baby! Cah-meah!”

The Seaside Heights Police Department at the time said such heavy-handed tactics used to end the crime wave were necessary as not everyone who visited enjoyed getting shot at with water pistols. Fights broke out. Gunmen were physically assaulted. I mean c’mon, who wants to go to Baby O’ with a wet wife-beater? Does gold even rust? Has the statute of limitations on water pistol drive-by shootings passed? I sure hope so…for their sake…right.

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