You’re calmly, properly stopped at red light and then the noise comes. “Back with another of those block rocking beats! Back with another of those block rockin’ beats!” You look to your right, it’s not the forest-green Outback. You look to your left, it’s not the winter-white Outback. Then you look in your rearview mirror to see a red Trans-Am pumping out the catchy but repetitive Chemical Brothers tune at 63 decibels (three higher than the city’s noise ordinance permits).
As with many “quality of life” ordinances, there’s not much the city can do to enforce noise violations. But that isn’t stopping Ward 5 Councilman Scott Morgan from introducing a referral to discuss better ways to quiet what he calls “boom cars.”
The traditional way of catching that red Trans-Am is to have one cop stand on a corner with a decibel meter who radios to a second officer in a car two blocks away when “Back with another of those block rocking beats!” pushes the meter past 60. Not very efficient.
“That’s two policemen who aren’t out controlling gangs or keeping people from driving through red lights,” says Morgan.
The police know it’s ineffective, and that’s why they haven’t set up a nuisance noise sting operation in more than six months and have no plans of setting one up in the foreseeable future. But when a constituent told Morgan that his daughter couldn’t sleep because of booming car stereos, the Councilman thought it was time for another pass at the issue.
“I don’t know what we can do other then set an example about car stereos,” he says. “But it’s a good time to start a discussion.” But asked for creative responses, Morgan’s baffled.
“I’m willing and ready, but no new ideas have come up. I’d be glad to get suggestions, you got one?” he asks.
Beyond issuing bullhorns to citizens so they can shout back at those booming red Trans-Ams, we’ve got nothing.