Loud, overcrowded parties in residential neighborhoods once again will be under a microscope this summer in the NYPD’s 105th Precinct.
Civic and elected officials on Monday formally kicked off the second year of the Summer Noise Task Force, which is aimed at keeping neighborhoods free of gatherings that proliferate to the size of block parties and often have music blaring through commercial-sized speakers.
“We’re not saying you can’t have fun in your backyard,” Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said outside the Laurelton Library. “What we don’t want is parties with 300 or 400 people. Our neighborhoods can’t take that.”
The noise task force is a joint effort on the part of civic organizations, elected officials and the precinct to be proactive and deal with such parties before they start.
Richards and others spoke Monday afternoon following a monthly meeting at the library that included civic leaders and officials from the 105th Precinct.
Faith Hill of Springfield Gardens said the music from some of the parties can be heard two or more blocks away.
“It might start out something small in people’s backyard,” she said. “But 400 people show up because they post the party on Facebook and Twitter.”
Richards also said some take place when homeowners rent out their backyards to party organizers.
“People they don’t even know,” he said.
“It’s become a common question in our neighborhood to ask how you slept this weekend,” said Bess DeBetham, of Laurelton, who also sits on Community Board 13.
Richards said the task force encourages people to take back their blocks, and to do so before the parties start, if possible.
“You know where the houses are on your block,” he said. “Call 311. Have your neighbors all call 311. Once they start receiving more than five calls, they will want to investigate.”
He said once that is done, residents should also alert their civic association and community board, as well as his office, in an attempt to head off the trouble, often in the form of a pre-party visit from the 105th Precinct.
“Our police should not have to be clearing 400 or 500 people from a party,” Richards said. “They’re busy enough.”
The councilman did say that the NYPD now has the authority under some circumstances to seize the speakers and DJ equipment.
The partnership worked well last year.
“We didn’t have a single party fatality in this precinct,” he said.
Richards said a bill is now pending in the City Council to require people hosting 100 or more people to apply for a permit the same way they already must for a block party or a larger gathering in a city park.
“Right now, that doesn’t apply to people’s yards,” he said.
Richards, chairman of the Council’s Environmental Committee, also is investigating the possibility of lowering the allowable decibel level for parties held in residential neighborhoods.