Sunday, June 28, 2009

Get Off My Lawn You Kids!

The Killeen Daily Herald had a couple of pieces on the City of Killeen's Loud Noise ordinance and the enforcement of that ordinance. Although it's not "real crime" like murder or robbery, agencies probably get more complaints about quality of life issues than they do about real crimes.
While Killeen police officers have found the ordinance to be effective in deterring noise violations in vehicles, the Killeen City Council wants to explore ways of improving enforcement at residences.

Nine out of 10 violations come from moving vehicles – only a handful of the violators get caught in their homes.

Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin told the council Tuesday that there is an inherent difficulty with this sort of violation – officers have to hear it.

Since most people don't report this sort of violation, Baldwin said, the officers just deal with violators while on patrol; and they are much more likely to stumble upon a vehicle making noise than a house. Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Part of the problem with many of the most vocal complaints is that those making the complaints won't or don't do their part by being a witness. Many don't want to offend their neighbors or are even scared of their annoying neighbors. Even so, they will raise caine with the police department for not "doing anything about" their rude neighbors. Police can't prosecute crimes without a witnessing complainant either a citizen or the officer himself.
Davis said the lack of involvement by those complaining represents the single greatest hurdle to improving enforcement of the ordinance. Without improved cooperation, there is very little that can be gained, no matter what changes are put in place, she said.

"They will have to come in and make themselves part of the process," Davis said. "There's not going to be a magic fix." Source: Killeen Daily Herald

Bill Bratton made quite a name for himself by cracking down on quality of life issues in New York City. There's a fine line between adequately addressing these quality of life concerns and over emphasizing them to the detriment of real crime enforcement. Also, how much can you really do if the people complaining won't assist your enforcement efforts?

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