OP-ED: For Safety And Serenity, NYPD Must Revisit Noise Abatement

BY COUNCILMAN DONOVAN RICHARDS

Just before the start of the summer, the New York City Police Department announced a shocking change to its Noise Abatement policy. According to the NYPD, the new policy would forbid a “warrantless entry into homes solely for the purpose of abating noise conditions.”

Unless given permission, officers responding to a noise complaint would be prohibited from entering a home.

As July 4th rapidly approaches, this decision needs to be re-examined. Commissioner James O’Neill must understand that it is not just my City Council colleagues and I who disagree with this decision, but New Yorkers from all five boroughs. Some of the most common calls our offices receive during the summer are about excessive noise coming from house parties.

A recent audit by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found that 311 noise complaints rose from 86,365 in 2010 to 179,394 in 2015—and nearly half of those were about neighbors and excess noise on the streets. But this issue is more than just a quality of life issue as out of control parties can sometimes lead to tragedy.

Earlier this month in Laurelton, police responded to a noise complaint at a house party and left after only giving a warning. A few hours later, a young man was shot following a dispute and may be paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Our job as council members is to make sure the people of our districts are safe, healthy and have a good quality of life.

In most instances, it cannot hurt for officers to check to make sure no illegal activity is going on and help scatter any partygoers who may be up to no good. If a resident is causing a disturbance in the community, New Yorkers should have the comfort of knowing cops will be able to keep them safe.

More than 20 City Council members are in agreement that this policy needs to be revisited. We are ready and willing to continue this dialogue with the administration and NYPD. It is imperative that we re-examine this issue, so we can ensure the police of our great city can continue to keep our communities safe.

Donovan Richards is the councilman for Queens’ 31st district, which covers Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, Howard Beach and Cambria Heights.

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