A group of Richmond Hill residents frustrated with being subjected to blaring music from car stereo speakers came to last week’s 106th Precinct Community Council meeting in Ozone Park to ask police to quell the noise that has been disrupting their quality of life.
The residents said the problem appears to be precinct- wide.
“There seems to be more and more of them every day,” one resident told Capt. Thomas Pascale, the precinct’s commanding officer.
Another resident, whose office is on Liberty Avenue, concurred.
“When those cars pass, my office vibrates,” she said. “It sounds just like the A train is coming down Liberty Avenue.”
Pascale said his officers are trying hard to address the problem.
“We do a lot of enforcement,” Pascale said. “Unfortunately, we can't get them all.”
The captain noted that the police can only take enforcement action if they observe the violation.
“When we’re behind the boom box car and the police car is vibrating, now the police officer has observed that violation and he can take enforcement action,” Pascale said.
The violator will be issued a criminal court summons and will have to go to court and appear before a judge. The fine for the violation ranges from $250 to $1,000.
Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton also had noise on the mind, and she asked Pascale how he plans to address the community’s number one quality of life complaint.
Pascale said he and his staff are reviewing all the chronic noise complaints from last year. He said that letters would then be sent to the owners of these locations. Warning letters sent in previous years to noisemakers have stated in part that the precinct has adopted a zero tolerance noise policy, adding that any violations of the city’s noise code will be enforced. The letters warn that violators will be issued summonses and stereo speakers and related sound equipment may also be confiscated.
When the schools close for the summer, Pascale said he will assign the school officers to the unit that responds to noise complaints. The sergeant of the conditions unit, which deals with noise complaints, has also been issued a police department cell phone for direct communication to the precinct’s desk personnel who handle the 311 noise complaints.
City statistics for the period between May 2010 to April 2011 show there were 1,970 noise complaints reported in the Community Board 10 area. This represents a drop of 29 percent from the same period in the previous year, when 2,789 complaints were made.
According to an analysis of city noise statistics, the South Richmond Hill community has logged the most noise complaints in south Queens between 2007 and 2011.
Residential noise complaints are most prevalent during the April to September time period.
“All in all, continued enforcement is necessary, noise complaints continue to be at the top of the quality of life hit parade for 311 calls for the NYPD in our area,” Braton said after the meeting. “People need to respect their neighbors and lower the volume. Then we’ll see the volume of noise complaints diminish to a more manageable level.”
Pascale asked residents to notify the precinct at (718) 845-2228 as soon as they see party preparations begin, such as tents being erected or the arrival of portable toilets. Upon receipt of such notification, officers will go to the location and speak with the property owner to advise them of what they can and cannot do before the party kicks off. Additionally, the precinct will notify the buildings and fire departments.
Residents holding any type of event for which they will put up a tent in a fenced location with more than 75 people need to obtain a temporary assembly permit. The city buildings department has to inspect the tent to make sure that it is structurally sound. The fire department is also required to inspect the structure.
The council’s next meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 8 at 8 p.m. at the precinct station house at 103-51 101 St. in Ozone Park.