EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 23, 2013

Loud music complaints spike over weekend

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — They are calls police tend to get when the warm weather arrives and people begin opening the windows of their homes.

The sound of music and voices travel from one property to the next. People sit on their porches and play music, talk and have a few drinks. The neighbors are woken up and they call police.

It’s not a scenario typical of mid-winter, but that’s just what happened over the long holiday weekend. Police received 23 complaints about loud music over the three days.

Police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said he did not know why there was a spike in reports of loud music during the weekend. Although the temperatures rose Saturday afternoon into the evening, most of the loud music calls to police came on Friday, Sunday and Monday when it was cold.

“It was a higher than normal,” Thompson said of the 23 complaints.

Police said that in about half the cases, when officers arrived the music had already been turned down. Officers have noise meters they can use to determine if someone is violating the city’s noise ordinance. Police said they are prepared to issue citations to violators, although that didn’t happen this weekend.

“What happens is oftentimes we’ll get the call and when police arrive everything is quiet,” police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said. “Many people realize on their own that it’s too loud and turn it down. But we do watch them and we do track them. If we find we are going to the same house and find loud music, we will bring the people into court.”

Although reports of loud music may seem trivial to some people, police said it’s a quality of life issue for residents who are being bothered by noise from their neighbors.

“It does take resources to respond, but it is important to the people who are calling,” Thompson said. “They have a right to a little peace and quiet.”

In one case during the weekend, police said they had to return a second time before the noisemakers heeded the warning. Police responded to 8 Riverbank Circle at 12:09 a.m. Monday, and found a party in progress. Officers advised the group to turn the music down. Thompson said police received another report and officers had to return about 15 minutes later.

“When they (officers) went back, they were advised again and turned down the music,” Thompson said.

In several other incidents, by the time police arrived the music had been turned down.

On Friday at 11:37 p.m., police responded to 44 Emerson St. on a report of loud music. About an hour later, police responded to 42 North St. and to 106 River St. on reports of loud music. Things quieted down until Saturday at 6:27 p.m., when police responded to a loud music report at 37 Broadway, followed by reports of the same problem at 37 S. Webster St., 82 Broadway, 37 Broadway and 62 River St. Between midnight and 1:46 a.m. Sunday, police responded to reports of loud music at 80 Broadway, 8 Clinton St. and 13 S. Elm St.

At 4:33 a.m. Sunday, police responded to another such report at 277 Washington St., then at 12:20 p.m. police responded to 33 Arch St. The next flurry of loud music reports began at 12:09 a.m. Monday, with police responding twice within a 15-minute period to 8 Riverbank Circle, following by reports of loud music over the next two hours at 8 Observatory Ave., 62 Portland St., 55 S. Elm St., 1 Broadway and 40 Locke St. at 2:38 a.m.

The final loud music reports of the weekend were on Monday, when police responded to 40 Locke St. at 5:29 p.m. and again at 5:39 p.m., and to 136 Winter St. at 11:41 p.m.