[Chat] Fwd: loud parties

Chat@charlesvillage.info Chat@charlesvillage.info
Sat, 7 Jun 2003 00:59:44 EDT

Here is some advice from the CVCBD's Jerry Busnuk about dealing with loud 

In a message dated 6/6/03 1:17:05 PM, safety@charlesvillage.org writes:

                            February 19, 2003

To: Sharon Guida

    Beth Bullamore

    Sheila Reese

    Other interested Persons, et.al.

From: Gerard Busnuk

     Charles Village Benefits District Safety Team

Re:     Loud Parties, and other disturbances on private property

    After learning of yet another late, loud, and disorderly party imposed 
upon the community by students who "give not one scintilla of thought that their 
good times are not so good when they lack consideration of others", I submit 
the following thoughts:

* The best cure is often prevention. Neighbors need to get to know their 
student neighbors, if at all possible. Let them know as gently, but firmly as 
possible, when they move in, that loud and/or late parties are disruptive of the 
neighborhood, and would be dimly looked upon.

* At the first sign of an evening's brewing party, at least the first time, tr
y knocking on the door, introducing yourself as a community neighbor, and ask 
the resident(s) nicely if they could possibly keep the noise down, or curtail 
some activities because of the lateness of the hour.

* Should the soft approach not work (it usually doesn't), one must call the 
police for a short-term ad hoc solution, but this only works in a little higher 
percentage of the cases. {As soon as the officer leaves, the party usually 
starts over again, perhaps, hopefully, a little lower in the volume.}[many young 
people regard the arrival of police as a measure of the "success" of their 

* Registered letters to the owner of the property and/or the resident of the 
property, advising them of the disturbance the parties cause to the 
neighborhood are sometimes helpful. Usually, a responsible landlord will want to see 
that her/his tenants are peaceful in the community. After all, it's his/her 
investment interest in the community that is often important to sensible people. 
Unfortunately, there are those property owners who are merely "investors" in the 
quick buck, whose only concern is whether their tenants pay the rent on time 
and don't damage the property too much. (After all, isn't deferred maintenance 
great-you know you don't have to do repairs, but can still make a killing on 
rising property values and/or a captive market.). These particular owners just 
don't care and letters invoking moral suasion often have little, if any, 
effect. Often, a person bothered by student residents doesn't know the names of 
the students, so a letter to them is not possible.

The only effective way to deal with locations of repeated parties is to 
deploy all of the above, plus seek as many legal sanctions against the tenants and 
their partygoers as possible. This approach is primarily dependent on the 
police, and by bird-dogging the police with relentless follow-up, in order that 
they are aggressive enough. If you are having trouble with a repeated party 
house, frat house or otherwise, the following course of action must be undertaken. 
 [My parenthetical thoughts are in brackets.]

1. You must call the police via 911. They will ask you where the emergency 
is. Ignore the question and ask to have an officer dispatched to where the 
address of the party is. Tell them specifically what you believe to be the problem, 
e.g. noise, public urination, public drinking, etc. [Police have limited 
authority in private residences, but have full authority on the street. Note: the 
peace of an on-duty police officer cannot be disturbed. Unless he/she 
witnesses disorderly conduct on the street, which could endanger or disturb the 
neighborhood, or some other arrest- able offense, his ability to effectively 
intervene is limited.]

2. The Police Communications Assistant will ask if you care to speak to the 
officer. If you say "no", as 99% of the complainants do in cases like this, 
your call will be labeled "anonymous", and will be relayed as such to the field 
officer. Even the dispatcher will have your identifying location and phone 
number blocked from her to ensure your anonymity. In this case, the police will go 
to the location, advise the party that a complaint has been made, "order" 
them to "keep it down"; and then they will leave, absent some other violation in 
their presence. If asked, the officers must say that they received an 
anonymous complaint.

3. If you say you wish to see the police, an officer will generally come to 
your address, either before, or after, he visits the offending property [or 
both]. Typically, this solidifies his authority, and strengthens his ability to 
deter future misbehavior and his resolve and sternness in dealing with the 
complaint. Ask the officer if he/she can get the correct name, age/date-of-birth, 
and the apartment number of the resident of the party's location. Note the 
date/time and officer's name when you call.

4. Should the party continue despite your having spoken to the officer, you 
must call 911 back and ask for the police to return. Ask to see the officer 
again. [Usually, but not always, you will get the same officer back.] Tell the 
officer what has transpired since he/she was last there. Insist on a written 
police report for DISTURBING THE PEACE. Advise the officer that you will be the 
complainant. [Note: you won't actually receive the report itself-just a form 
with the Central Complaint number on it, e.g. 5C-1234. Ask for the "suspect" 
information from the officer, which you will need as you will be seeking a 
Criminal Summons for Disturbing the Peace. [The suspect in this case is the resident 
who leases or lives on the premises where the party is being held, i.e., the 
person who is responsible for the party.] [However, this is irrelevant unless 
the officer gets good identification from the occupant.]. If you know who the 
occupant is, you might go with the officer to the party in order to point 
him/her out to the officer.

5. Ask the officer how or where to see the Court Commissioner in reference to 
getting a criminal summons or arrest warrant for the offending party. 
[Commissioners are always on duty somewhere in the city-usually at Central Police 
Station.] Ask the officer to write the report as soon as possible, as you will be 
pursuing prosecution.

6. Respond to the Court Commissioner's office with the police report number, 
fill out the complaint, swear to it, and you will be given a date when to 
appear in court. [Note: You must be able to state specifically why the conduct 
disturbs your peace. Just writing, "had a noisy party" will not be enough.] A 
criminal summons will be sent to the suspect, if the Commissioner agrees there is 
"probable cause" the suspect disturbed the peace.

7. If you are in court on the hearing date, and the suspect has failed to 
appear, the judge will usually issue a bench warrant for his/her arrest to ensure 
their appearance. Again, unless the officer gets good id from the resident, 
the effort will be meaningless. If you do not come to the hearing when 
summoned, the case will be dismissed. Go back to step #1.

Sorry, I wish it weren't so, but the laws are such that for disturbing the 
peace, the police must have a formal complaint from a citizen-not themselves.

In addition to the above formal procedure, the following action might also be 

* Call Sanitation enforcement via 311 for every sanitation violation that 
occurs on or near the property. [Beware: when they are called, they inspect every 
house on the block.}

* Call housing and/or zoning inspection to see if the building is properly 
licensed and zoned for the area.

* Call the police each and every time something apparently illegal happens 
around the location. Favorite topics: drunk driving, public drinking, marijuana 
smoking, etc. Have any and all aroused neighbors call.

* Get the association president to write a registered letter to the resident 
and the property owner, threatening legal action via lawsuit.

* Call or write the institution of higher education, if you can determine 
that the offending residents are students and where they attend. The traction 
here is very limited off campus. But contact the Dean of Student Life or similar 
title, the Community Relations rep, and the President's office. If it is a 
fraternity house, the Coordinator of Greek Life may have some influence. If the 
offenders are athletes, their coach or the Athletic director may have some 
influence. [In general, however, don't look for a lot of help from the school.]

This is a very difficult problem, and one almost impossible to knock out, 
unless one is able to follow the Criminal Summons route. But very few folks have 
the wherewithal to follow such a process through, considering the number of 
obstacles one might encounter, such as police resistance to writing that kind of 
report. [Again, almost unheard of: most people are afraid of retaliation, or 
don't have the time or energy to follow this process thru.]

    Most officers have never heard of such a report, and will often try to 
talk you out of it. Ask to speak to their supervisor if that happens.

I hope these thoughts are helpful; I will be running them past Major Scott 
Williams for his review and thoughts. Good luck!