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Obnoxious loud drunk teen neighbors
May 14, 2010 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Loud, annoying neighbors: what to do? Our next door neighbor's (19ish? maybe 20?)-year-old spends all summer out in the Party Garage with ALL his friends, making noise til all hours of the night.

We're talking TV in the garage, immature goons laughing, smoking pot, drinking their heads off (there is no way in hell they are all 21), and just being all-round nuisances. I suspect parents relegated him to the party garage so as to not keep them and their younger son up all night. They are keeping us up all night, though.

Problem: City of Cleveland police aren't going to show up unless someone's head has been cut off and is rolling down the driveway, and the parents are clearly morons. (They threw a party last summer and there was so much pot smoking going on you could smell it in our house, not to mention playing cornhole. Oh god, the thump of that stupid beanbag...)

I don't want to spend another summer listening to the tinkle of beer bottles hitting the garbage can til 2 or 3 in the morning every night. Ideas?

(Devious and/or evil ideas are encouraged since the cops aren't going to do a damn thing).
posted by bitter-girl.com to Human Relations (50 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
i had friends who had a similar problem.

they were in a rowhouse and the neighbors frequently stayed up very late and on weeknights. my friends are pretty fun people, but hey, they still had to work in the AM.

so one sunday morning, after a particularly loud evening from the neighbors, this friend turned this giant speakers against the shared wall at the bottom of the stairs.

he then played, at the top level of his wonderful stereo, the crappiest new age cd he could find in his wife's collection.

even though there was a language barrier, the neighbors seem to have gotten the message. the volume on their side diminished noticeably at appropriate hours.

howver, these were adults not children.

but maybe you could do it to the parents anyways.

but i can see this particular situation going to hell in a handbasket real quick. best of luck to you.
posted by sio42 at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2010


also, if you repeatedly call in reports of underage drinking, i imagine the cops might do SOMETHING.
posted by sio42 at 12:50 PM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Talk with your neighbors. If you're the only ones calling the cops, you're the cranky neighbor. If the whole neighborhood hates the place, they're a nuisance.

(Devious add-on: if the neighbors don't care yet, get the partiers to make more noise, or make more noise that could be attributed to the party house, as to annoy more neighbors).

I'm sure you realize that getting caught (or even suspected) by the noisy neighbors in any devious plan could lead to the issue escalating further. That's one reason getting the whole neighborhood on your side would be helpful, because this one household can't start a war with everyone (and get away with it).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:51 PM on May 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Devious and/or evil ideas are encouraged
This isn't the best way to deal with your neighbors. Have you tried talking to them?
posted by sanko at 12:54 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this what the police outlined as the criteria when you called previously?

Look, unless you've ever dealt with Cleveland cops, you have NO IDEA. My studiomate called the cops when they found kittens left to die in a box in the storage locker of a tenant in the building she managed (happy ending alert: they live with us now). They asked to have them come speak with the guy who owned it about animal cruelty, and the dispatcher told her "call us when humans are involved." A few weeks later, that very same guy stabbed and killed the building's janitor, and the cops STILL took 45 minutes to show up.

We've called the cops on multiple occasions and they don't even show up, let alone do anything. We live in the "cop neighborhood," too -- the section of Cleveland where all the Irish cops and firefighters live, so it's all the more puzzling.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:54 PM on May 14, 2010


Have you spoken directly to the boys? You know the cops won't do anything, but they might not.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:57 PM on May 14, 2010


Attack the root of the problem. Next time they're having a loud party, go over and knock on the garage door. When they answer say "Dude. Sounds like you're having an awesome party! Where's the beer?" The indignity of sitting around with their old neighbors will make them quite down after a few times.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:00 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


that is a BAD idea in case the cops actually do show for whatever reason.
that whole being over 21 and around minors with alcohol thing can be yucky.
posted by sio42 at 1:03 PM on May 14, 2010


Call the police every time there's a noise issue. Make a nuisance of yourself so it's less annoying for them to stop by than to keep fielding your calls.

Or rent a PA system, place the speakers in your windows, and put something completely un-hip like "Lovin' You" on repeat at high-volume. Leave for the weekend.

But if I thought these people, particularly the parents, were more clueless than malicious I would try talking to them first to find a workable solution.
posted by 6550 at 1:04 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do the parents own the house? If you're annoyed at 2:00 AM, you call the parents at 2:00 AM and tell them to keep it down. Repeat as often as necessary. Maybe if the parents have to suffer a bit they'll put a stop to it.

Sadly, even if the cops did show up there's very little they can do other than to ask them to keep it down. I had a similar problem with my neighbor until he grew up a bit and there was nothing I could do. We tried talking to him and he'd always promise to keep it down, then he would be at it again the next night.
posted by bondcliff at 1:05 PM on May 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Sadly, even if the cops did show up there's very little they can do other than to ask them to keep it down.

Even if there's a noise ordinance? (What's the point of having one if they won't enforce it? -- that's what I'm trying to figure out)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2010


I've had this one a couple times. I did use the loudspeakers-early-in-the-morning technique. It was satisfying, once, but honestly it makes you look like an ass, and is likely to result in escalation.

I would suggest that you forget the moralizing about "there is no way in hell they are all 21", and the further moralizing about smelling pot. They ain't your kids, no one (sane, especially not intelligent cops) cares about pot, and it is really just your ax to grind. People drink and smoke, people are jerks sometimes, it sucks when they are your neighbors. That's what you are dealing with. The moralizing helps nothing. The fact is, they annoy you, face up to that and stop moralizing, which I think is the single easiest way to get people defensive and unwilling to cooperate.

If it was me, I'd actually talk to the parents, straightforwardly. "Your kids are keeping me up, could you please fix that?" If that did nothing, I'd write them a formal request to cut it the hell out. I might make it look terribly formal, but without putting my neck on the line by forging lawyer letterhead. If that didn't work, I'd ask a lawyer to help me figure out if they are violating neighborhood rules. If so, I'd have the lawyer write a legal letter to that effect.

If that all failed to work, I'd sue (unlikely to work), move, or learn to put up with it. The latter is most likely where you are headed, imho.

If you can't back up the threats, then I'd just get a white-noise generator. Frankly, it is part of (annoying) society, you don't really have an easily-enforceable right to a peaceful night's sleep.
posted by Invoke at 1:11 PM on May 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


I agree with the other posters that you need to talk to the parents and to the kids in the garage, but I suggest that you not call the parents morons for playing cornhole or the kids immature when they're just being 19 year-olds. If you approach them calmly and reasonably, your odds of success improve incredibly.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:15 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have you ever tried like...talking to the kids?

I'm sure I did this to people all the time when I was that age, and I probably do it now, but without realizing it. I don't imagine the average 19 year old realizes that clinking another beer bottle into the garbage at 3am is as annoying for you as it sounds like it is. I may have been (/still be) an idiot at that age, but hopefully not as much of an asshole. If my neighbor came up to me and was like "when you and your friends sit in the garage all night, every time you drop empties in the recycle, it wakes me up. Its really loud in my house," I would have been mortified and would have definitely tried to keep it down or change the situation.

Maybe, being the adult here, you should exhaust the civil, mature, and respectful before going to the "devious and/or evil"? Apologies if you already have, but that doesn't come across in the post.
posted by jeb at 1:16 PM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Look, unless you've ever dealt with Cleveland cops, you have NO IDEA.

Well, I don't, which is why I was asking. I'd normally suggest keep calling and being a nuisance to the cops until they show up and enforce some sort of noise law (if you have them) but if you've already exhausted that option I could see why you wouldn't want to waste your time.

If you want to jump right ahead to deviousness, get a skunk to spray their garage. Ideally inside it, but just on it will do. It will smell for the entire summer and no one will want to hang out there. Skunk traps keep the skunk from raising its tail while trapped but they are pretty mad/scared when you let them out so you won't really have to persuade them to spray. Or, if you have local skunks, throw some half-eaten fruit around the garage after the partying people head home for the night.
posted by mikepop at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2010


Talk to your other neighbors and see if there is any consensus, then go and talk to the adults. Just because they are indifferent to their kids partying habits doesn't mean they won't clamp down if there is a perceived problem.
posted by Hurst at 1:21 PM on May 14, 2010


Talk to your other neighbors and see if there is any consensus

There is, from the ones in our line-of-sound (along the backyards) -- the neighbors directly on their other side are new new and have no idea, but the other ones nearby can hear it and are annoyed, too. The garage in question immediately adjoins our backyard and the sound bounces up into our 2nd floor bedrooms, which is why it's so loud for us in particular.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:25 PM on May 14, 2010


Well, I don't, which is why I was asking.

Yeah, sorry. I just think most people who aren't from here assume they're like normal, medium-sized-city cops, and they're not.

(See: recent Anthony Sowell serial killer case. There actually WAS a head in a bucket there and it still took them years to finally bust him despite multiple complaints!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:27 PM on May 14, 2010


Have you talked to his parents?
posted by anniecat at 1:39 PM on May 14, 2010


This may be a dumb question, but have you talked to the family in question? You assume the parents are morons--and they may well be--and you assume the kids are irresponsible--and they may well be--but have you had a conversation with each group about how their noise is affecting you?

If the police aren't responsive, it sounds like your options are limited to working it out with the family generating the noise or creating some type of soundproofing on your side.
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:40 PM on May 14, 2010


Also, I know you say evil ideas are encouraged, but the mods don't typically allow evil solutions. Otherwise I would say throw dog poop in there until it smells awful and no one wants to be there.
posted by anniecat at 1:43 PM on May 14, 2010


The garage in question immediately adjoins our backyard and the sound bounces up into our 2nd floor bedrooms, which is why it's so loud for us in particular.

Could you plant something do dampen the sound, or install any yard features/sculptures to block the noise to some degree?

Re: Noise Ordinance - it seems the police have "other priorities" than neighborhood disputes, which is where the noise ordinance comes in. You could try to make a public issue of it, not singling out your neighbors, but make it a community-wide issue of laws not being enforced, when it would only take a quick roll-by and the chance to make some money for the police (noise violation tickets can get expensive, depending on how the laws are worded - sometimes it gets more costly for repeat-offenders).

Maybe talk to the neighbors about having parties once, instead of every night, and they could then give you warning that you might want to take that opportunity to spend the evening somewhere else. You're bending to their desire, but it's not a nightly occurrence, and it's something you can plan around.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on May 14, 2010


Have you tried white noise, like running a fan next to your bed at night?

I have noisy neighbors too and it's really a better solution than starting some kind of feud. It works for me when my neighbors blast music until 3am, it should work for the "tinkle of beer bottles."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:47 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


We just moved out of a complex because of noise. We investigated every way to deal with it. We found that nothing could be done so we moved.

The answer is always CALL THE COPS every single time as soon as it starts. While they may not show up, there will be a record of you calling.

Talk to your other neighbors and tell them that they need to call the cops as well.

Don't make it primarily about underage drinking or pot smoking, make it about noise. You may casually mention that it is "kids" and that they "sound drunk" and that you "smell pot."

Also, beyond calling dispatch in the middle of the night, you will want to call the police in the middle of the day and actually talk to someone reasonably about the problem.

In our case, the cops might not be able to come in the middle of the night, but we did set up an arrangement that they'd come the next morning to talk to our neighbors about what was going on. The neighbors were fined quite often, but they didn't care.

Alas, we had to move.
posted by k8t at 1:52 PM on May 14, 2010


In our municipality, the police don't enforce ordinances and bylaws, but the bylaw enforcement officers do. They are civil servants in the mayor's or city councilor's building; and noise might have an enforcer all to itself. Try phoning you local politician and asking for advice.
posted by feelinggood at 1:55 PM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Skunkshot
posted by fingerbang at 2:01 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


so one sunday morning, after a particularly loud evening from the neighbors, this friend turned this giant speakers against the shared wall at the bottom of the stairs.

he then played, at the top level of his wonderful stereo, the crappiest new age cd he could find in his wife's collection


I did the same thing: one night, when I was driven insane from lack of sleep, I played Johnny Cash's "Ride That Train", cranked to 11, at 3am. The skanky neighbours downstairs shut up, but several days later I nearly got into a fistfight with the tenant's ex-husband. The partying continued. We moved.

I would posit that it is very difficult to change behaviour.

The best thing you can possibly do is develop a relationship with the son in the garage. Be friendly, but assertive. Use "I" statements, but not "you" statements: "I can't sleep when there is loud noise after 11pm. If I can't sleep I can't work. If I can't work, I'm afraid I'm going to get fired."

But set low expectations. These people are fucking morons who would have likely spread cow manure or human waste over a field 100 years ago, and that would have been the limit of their abilities. Why expect higher-level thinking from them now?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2010


I'm not sure how serious the skunk smell supporters are, but I think responding to some loud teenagers by vandalizing their parents' property is a Very Bad Idea.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I lived in an apartment next to noisy neighbors, the cops never showed up when anyone called in about the noise.

They did show up, however, when they got a complaint that they were dealing drugs over there. (Which they were doing, as it happens. But they were doing that very quietly)
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2010


nthing those who say that the first step is to politely, respectfully, approach the kids and/or the parents, during the daytime, and say "Hey - it sounds like you're having a great time out there. But it's sort of noisy, and is disturbing a few neighbors. Could you keep it down?" You'd be surprised, but that's often effective. (I say this as someone who's run a residents' association for around five years, in a neighbourhood where noise is probably the number one concern).

Have you talked to them?
posted by ManInSuit at 2:21 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you approach them calmly and reasonably, your odds of success improve incredibly

This. We used to live downstairs from a raging alcoholic who was notorious for playing music extremely loudly and getting into fights with the neighbours about it. We made sure we were on friendly terms with him and took the calm and reasonable approach and, strangely enough, he couldn't turn things down fast enough when we asked, were others got into screaming matches.

The alternative is to set yourself up for a conflict you are not likely to win -- why would anybody respond other than by escalating if you set yourself up in opposition? It is really easy to get stressed by noise issues but there is at least a chance that they simply aren't aware of the impact they are having. There is no guarantee of any approach working but having been on both sides of similar disputes I would put my money on taking a calm friendly approach so I could have an effect when things did start to get excessive if even if it means letting things slide occasionally.

I used to be a squatter at that age and got into all kinds of crazy disputes with neighbors -- people kicking our door and threatening to come back with guns, people going to the press (with made up, impossible to be true stories) but none of these people ever bothered actually talking to us first. Yes we were crazy looking, drug taking anarchist squatters, and we were easy to demonize, but we were also human, like any one else, and we always got on fine with any neighbours that treated us a such. At the end of the day i suspect your neighbours just want to be left alone to smoke pot and hang out (I did anyway) and approaching them like adults is probably the best way of ensuring of ensuring you can co-exist.
posted by tallus at 2:26 PM on May 14, 2010


@MexicanYenta, probably this in only my own morality, but it seems to me that using the crazed-draconian-drug-laws in the U.S. to swat down a noise problem is unethical. Yes, it *may be* that the kids are dealing drugs. The OP has no proof, or even a reasonable suspicion of dealing.

That's not even beginning to address the ridiculousness of hauling neighbors in on dealing pot.

Starting the accusation spiral, with no proof other than smelling pot, is unethical on the face of it, and an abuse of the law, as far as I am concerned. Inconvenience to the OP is no excuse for jailing the kids or parents and/or taking away their property.

Possibly I am reading too much into this, but if it was me, and you were my neighbor, and you started a war like this over simple noise, escalating by claiming drug dealing with no proof or even reasonable suspicion. Then buddy, you would have started a war. I think they OP probably wants to avoid a war.

"Evil idea" techniques are just as usable against the OP as against the noisy neighbors, right? Maybe even more likely. These are kids, right?

At best, a war like that would turn out badly for everyone, and cost society tons of money. The OP would be definitely be guilty of using a howitzer to kill a fly. At worst, the OP could be hurt or out significant money from "evil idea" retaliations. Everyone loses in all cases. Is it worth that? I think not. I say this as someone who has faced exactly this problem more than once.
posted by Invoke at 2:26 PM on May 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


Quoted-for-truth: "I'd just get a white-noise generator. Frankly, it is part of (annoying) society, you don't really have an easily-enforceable right to a peaceful night's sleep." --posted by Invoke.

Sad but true. Ours has become a rude, self-centered society. Most people won't shut up at the movies, they throw their trash out the window, and don't care if they bother their neighbors. Cops don't have enough staff or resources to deal with serious violent/drug crime, much less to enforce noise regulations.

As a data point: We have terrible neighbors, barking dogs 24-7, trash in the yard, automobile repair/parking lot all over their lawn, on and on... I've tried every friendly, neighborly, and municipal avenue open to me and it has only exacerbated the situation (the big fat jerk--seriously, pushing the morbidly obese line--banged on my door and threatened to make my life a "living hell" after I wrote a friendly letter explaining the situation and offering to pay for mediation services to figure out a solution).

Buy a bad ass fan to drown out the sound, build a fence, plant hedges, or move. Sadly, it's all on you. I feel for you.
posted by maniactown at 2:30 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing I've found surprisingly effective when a teenaged neighbor has got a stereo cranked up in the middle of the night is to get out of bed and walk across the street to talk to him. In bare feet. And pyjamas. I spoke politely, though I'm sure my face betrayed some degree of irritation. I've done this twice, with two different noisy teens, and it worked wonders.
posted by jon1270 at 2:38 PM on May 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I really think that you have to buck up and go talk to the kids and the parents. It isn't clear from your question, but it seems like you may not have spoken with them directly about this problem.

If it is clear that the police aren't going to do anything, you are going to have to do it yourself.

Having a few clear, concise points will help you. Forget the underage drinking and pot smoking, that's really not your business - the parents likely know, and bringing it up will only put them on the defensive.

Are they leaving garage windows/doors open? Ask them to keep them closed and that will help drastically reduce the amount of noise coming out. If you have a specific problem with the bottles (are they throwing them outside? again, I think they must keep windows/doors open or something), mention that, and ask them to change their habits.

All you can do here is be patient and persistent. Don't go over there with the idea of stopping them from hanging out in the garage. Go over with the goal of modifying their behaviour so you can get your rest.
posted by davey_darling at 2:39 PM on May 14, 2010


Talk to the kids. I mean, every time the noise goes too late, go on over there and say, hey, can you turn it down? I have found that this will usually, unless it's the Big Party of the Summer, in which case, grab a beer and give up, work. I have a kid this age who would be more than delighted to turn the basement into Party Garage Central and in fact, once in a while, he does. Look, I had fun hooking up my old stereo down there and those giant 70s speakers and man, the whole house shakes whether it's his current hip hop or my ancient, beloved LPS - Aqualung, man, well, I too am still 19. Anyway, I told my neighbors to call me the minute they had a problem with noise. I also told them to go ahead and bang on his door or shout at him. So far, when the noise gets out of hand, either they or I put a stop to it quickly. He's always mortified anyway - remember that these are kids, which is to say, by definition more clueless than malicious.
posted by mygothlaundry at 2:40 PM on May 14, 2010


The OP has no proof, or even a reasonable suspicion of dealing.

Actually, given their behavior last summer, we've got more than a reasonable suspicion to believe they are. You can't help but see every single thing they're doing, since they're doing a lot of it right in front of our house, and without going into a huge long story about it, if they're not selling pot at a bare minimum, I'd be highly, highly surprised.

While I don't mind the concept of heading over there in my pajamas to make the point that some of us have actual work we need to do in the morning, there's so many of them crammed in there at any given time, I'm actually a little scared to go anywhere near them. They outnumber me, and they're a lot bigger than me, and if our suspicions about the drug selling are correct, well... it doesn't sound like a very good idea to go over there in the middle of the night, especially when you know the chance of the police showing up should you happen to need them is slight.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:12 PM on May 14, 2010


Do you have the phone number for the house? Call it, every single time, especially if the parents answer.

But you might have to interact with them if you really won't get a response from the cops. We had noisy neighbors in a rental house next door, with their living room window and balcony directly across from our bedroom window and balcony. I buddied up to them, and every time they'd be loud past a reasonable hour (11 p.m. weekdays, midnightish weekends), I'd go out on the balcony and say "hey, guys, can you take it inside and quiet down, because *I'm* not going to call the cops, but someone else will." That worked with one group. The next group, that didn't listen? I called their landlord every single time they woke me up at 2 in the morning, especially if they woke a kid, too. He soon put a stop to it. Now there are quiet people in that house.

If you can't get the rude people to pipe down, go to the people who have the next best chance of getting them to pipe down - landlords or parents.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 3:41 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


First go buy a ipod with some nice loud external speakers. Get a hour long white noise MP3, put it on repeat, press play, and crank it. If you need a whitenoise mp3 email me. If that doesn't cure it, you have to at least go and talk to the parents and the kid. Not during the middle of the night if you are afraid of thug-life behavior. Once you have talked to them and they don't change their behavior, you know you at least stood up for yourself and next need to consider moving. Trust me, the next place I move to will be cased for at least 5 randomly sampled nights to see what kind of shit I may be getting myself into.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:48 PM on May 14, 2010


>there's so many of them crammed in there at any given time

Bingo. Fire violation. Firefighter's are great like this too. Big, respectable, and not afraid to straighten out the neighborhood if it means they don't have to rescue a ton of kids from a burning garage at 3am lit by some stoner who fell asleep curled up in a nice flammable blanket with half a joint still going strong. Just stop by the local firehouse.
posted by jwells at 5:35 PM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


First try talking to them, if you're intimidated go over earlier in the evening and ask them to keep it down. When we were teens we were just thoughtless and we always shut up when people asked.

If that doesn't work- are they renters? Call the landlord. Works every time.

Otherwise call the parents. They will get sick of being woken up at 2am pretty quickly themsleves.
posted by fshgrl at 10:00 PM on May 14, 2010


I am amazed that you've favourite-ed the answers that suggest you immaturely escalate the situation. Doing any of your favourite suggestions will yield results out of your control, and will only server to exasiobate the situation and your obvious frustration.

Firstly - you need to communicate with them as in:


nthing those who say that the first step is to politely, respectfully, approach the kids and/or the parents, during the daytime, and say "Hey - it sounds like you're having a great time out there. But it's sort of noisy, and is disturbing a few neighbors. Could you keep it down?" You'd be surprised, but that's often effective. (I say this as someone who's run a residents' association for around five years, in a neighbourhood where noise is probably the number one concern).

In doing this they will be aware that you are being affected by their behaviour - they are probably oblivious.

If this fails you need to let them know again that the situation has not resolved, and you will be speaking with the police. Don't call them, they will triage your call and not attend.

Arrange for a meeting by letter between the station supervisor yourself and as many neighbours you can muster- remember to keep the letter brief and to the point - don't moralise or presume crimes are being committed (I'm sure they are smoking pot, under age drinking etc) They will meet with you. The police need top react to community concern, it's in their charter. Make it a community issue.

Then you can start making phone calls when you are being disturbed, and the police will attend.
posted by the noob at 10:17 PM on May 14, 2010


A friend and I are dealing with different sets of at-times annoying yoof in that age range doing things of that nature. (We're both on the dark side of 45.)

Much as it has seemed like it had to be obvious to them that their doings were annoying or worse, they were oblivious (or at least did a damn good job of faking it) and cooperated when we nicely related our frustrations.

I think a lot of us were relatively clueless when we were that age or close.

If they don't come across as willing to be more considerate and there's a prospect of a second conversation, do they know it's not likely that the cops will come around?

Yeah, it wouldn't be honest, but relating something like, "A friend's brother is CPD and I think we all want to deal with this without getting them involved."

If it comes to feeling like the cops are the only option, if you happen across a cop in the course of going through life, maybe introduce yourself, talk to him, ask for insights?
posted by ambient2 at 12:56 AM on May 15, 2010


Cop alternatives: Try code enforcement for noise, or call your city councilperson who can usually light a fire under the police or code enforcement and get it dealt with, or go to your neighborhood association (who will probably go to the cops, your councilperson, or code enforcement).

We had some issues with neighbors burning HUGE piles of green brush in their backyard. Not only is burning within city limits illegal, but this was making ENORMOUS clouds of choking smoke that was swallowing entire backyards and forced the entire neighborhood inside for three motherloving days and it was crawling in the windows and the ducts and just awful. (And talking to them politely would result in them putting out the offending fire ... and IMMEDIATELY STARTING A NEW ONE!) The police and fire department were unresponsive. Our city councilperson, calling the same police and fire people, got basically immediate results.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:34 AM on May 15, 2010


I can't help w yr neighbors, but as a longtime city dweller with sensitive ears and a cranky disposition, I can add another recommendation to the fan idea. Get a cheap one - the expensive ones are quiet, which you don't want.
Also I recently discovered Hear-os brand earplugs. They are amazing! All you hear is your own beathing. Get the nasty looking beige kind. The cute pink ones don't have the same texture and don't work as well.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:00 AM on May 15, 2010


Even if there's a noise ordinance?

Sadly, yes. Noise ordinances are often good for keeping someone from running a backhoe at 5:00 AM or holding a rock concert in their backyard after 10:00 PM. They're often based on what "a reasonable person" would think is loud.

Unfortunately for you, clinking of beer bottles and conversation, even loud conversation, is probably not going to count as excessive noise. People are allowed to use and enjoy their property, even if it keeps you from enjoying yours.

Don't get me wrong, I totally sympathize with you. Clinking of beer bottles at 1:00 AM under your bedroom window sucks. My neighbor's back deck was 10 feet from my bedroom window and when he and his loud buddies would be out there at 4:00 AM it really sucked for us but there was little the police could do, and I live in a suburb where they don't have much else to deal with. I totally feel your pain and I would be just as upset.

Talking to the kids, getting to know them, getting to know the parents, is your first approach. Not all kids who party or smoke pot are bad kids. Talking to them might work. You might even get to know them. Walk over, calmly, in your pajamas and ask them to please keep it down. Be polite, but firm.

As others have said, don't give up on the cops, especially if you witness anything illegal going on. Keep calling them; be a nuisance.

In the end there may be little else you can do but hope they grow out of it. Or move. It sucks, I agree.

Taking any sort of revenge, as nice as it is to think about, will only leave you with zero chance of resolving it to your satisfaction. It'll only escalate things. Fantasize about it, but don't do it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:12 AM on May 15, 2010


if you're not willing to call or walk over and ask them to keep it down then you don't have much right to complain. they're kids, nine time out of ten it just dosn't occur to kids that age that they're bothering anyone and if your cool about it then they will be too. save the threats and escalations and shouting. just be a grownup and say "hey guy's i'm trying to sleep over here and i need you to take it down a notch."
posted by swbarrett at 7:58 AM on May 15, 2010


(By the way: we can't move, we own this house. There are next to no rental properties in this neighborhood, it's all single-family houses).

We wrote our councilperson yesterday to see what he has to say, and we have spoken with friends in the fire department (though that might be a good avenue to look at once again...the last time we brought it up, it was a bad situation due to a recent -- hmm, can't remember if it was a firefighter or a cop who'd shot his neighbors for being noisy, but, yeah...bad scene, and a lot of tension between the fire and police guys in the neighborhood).

Thank you for all the input, everyone.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:03 AM on May 15, 2010


From a young(er) POV then most people in this thread:

You're all dicks.

*TALK* to the son during the day and ask if he even knows you can't sleep. His smoking pot? None of your business. His friends drinking under 21? Again, none of your business. The only concern is being unable to sleep, and you need to talk to him about that first. If he won't help, make it his parents problem by ringing the house Every. Single. Time.

And really? You were just as annoying as a young person, you just didn't realize it. I'm not saying this is appropriate behaviour, I'm saying it needs to be managed well, not escalated to a higher power because "HOW DARE THEY", ect.
posted by Quadlex at 6:42 PM on May 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was not a loud, beer-bottle-clanking hollering teenager in the least. I was extremely conscious of my noise level, and it drove me crazy that other kids thought it was okay to raise hell when people were obviously trying to sleep.

However, many of my friends were obliviously loud. Most of them would have been mortified if they had been politely, but firmly called out on their bullshit. You know, that special kind of mortification that only happens to teenagers. It's a powerful weapon. Try it out before you consider getting them in trouble for drug or alcohol charges.
posted by Coatlicue at 11:00 AM on May 18, 2010


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