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Police warn of Beach Week dangers

Thursday - 3/22/2012, 8:40am  ET

Ocean City Boardwalk (Michelle Basch/WTOP Photo)
While Ocean City's boardwalk is calm in the off-season, it's not during Beach Week. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

STEVENSVILLE, Md. - Police from the the region's beach destinations are warning parents of local high school students of dangers awaiting their teenagers at Beach Week celebrations.

An experienced member of the Dewey Beach Police Department didn't sugarcoat his description of what happens at the yearly getaway for graduating high schoolers.

Alcohol abuse, illegal drugs, sex, and crime are the reality in an unsupervised atmosphere, and have the potential to mar an otherwise exciting time in a teen's life, according to Sgt. Clifford Dempsey.

Dempsey spoke with students and parents from Montgomery County Public Schools Monday night at Walter Johnson High School.

"I can't tell you not to let your kids go. But I know what I see, and I wouldn't want my daughter anywhere near that place," Dempsey said, according to The Washington Post.

With thousands descending on beach towns including Dewey, Ocean City, Rehoboth and Bethany Beach, Dempsey says parents who downplay the dangers because their teenagers will soon go to college are doing a disservice.

Dempsey says students on a college campus have for more supervision and other requirements to keep their behaviors in check than in an alcohol-fueled beach town.

Dewey police say they have extra funding this year to enforce underage drinking laws.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)