Help me stop this car alarm and get some sleep!
June 20, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Details: I live in a very industrial part of Brooklyn - so not many neighbors around. This guy that lives in the building next to ours has a tricked-out car with an alarm that goes off EVERY HOUR OR SO (it has an automatic shut-off after about a minute). He's usually home and parked from midnight to 11AM - so basically we get woken up EVERY HOUR OR SO. We've left notes, called 311, talked to him (he's SHOCKINGLY non-responsive and doesn't give a shit), and thrown eggs (which seems to have just made him more angry and confrontational, rather than get him to park elsewhere). None of this seems to have any affect. I am a light sleeper anyway so earplugs and white noise don't work. What I would like to know is if anyone in NYC has ever had any success in stopping this sort of douche. Have you ever gotten police to do anything? Does 311 work? Any other non-violent suggestions?
posted by staveitoff123 to Grab Bag (20 answers total)
You egged his car? And you thought that might make him sheepishly park elsewhere?

Are you sure you can't block it out with a comination of ear plugs and white noise? Then keep up the full-court press on the police and...well, I was gonna say the neighbor, but you would need to maintain a modicum of civility, and you probably burned that bridge with the eggs. Two wrongs do not make a right.
posted by mreleganza at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2010

and thrown eggs (which seems to have just made him more angry and confrontational,

You don't say.

Look, call the police, they handle noise complaints all the time.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:41 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is he parked in a legal parking spot? If not, you can work that angle and have parking enforcement ticket or tow his car.

Keep calling 311, though. Document the incidents and report them.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:44 PM on June 20, 2010

Do you have any neighbors at all? If it's really that bad, everyone else in the area must be as mad about it as you are (including people who live in the guy's building). What if EVERYONE called the police?
posted by k. at 6:49 PM on June 20, 2010

I've called 311 for this exact reason. Keep calling. Every day. Document your calls. Ask to talk to someone higher up each time. Make sure to give them the license plate # (I'm sure you've thought of this). Leave notes saying you have called the police/311.
posted by greta simone at 6:54 PM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

There was a movie like this...

In the movie, the guy (Tim Robbins) breaks into people's cars and disables the alarms. Don't do that.

Instead, call the police/311 every time this happens.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 6:55 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get a couple of these. Ever time the alarm goes off, open the window and sound the air horn for 15 seconds.
posted by Jon-o at 7:08 PM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

There are laws about how long a car alarm can go off. Get the non-emergency number for your local police station and call them when it starts and every 15 minutes until it stops. If they are a pain to deal with complain to the mayor's office.
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2010

How long have you lived there? How long has this been happening?

I lived in Brooklyn. At one point, I lived on the second floor about a heavy commercial street. Private garbage trucks would come three times every night - and at first I was awoken every time. After a while, I started to get used to it, and zoned the noise out.

I hate to say this, but noise pollution is part of life in New York City. You have to figure out a way to deal with it. Allowing it to grate you is only boiling your blood and making it stand out even more. Try ear plugs and white noise.
posted by Flood at 7:17 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do not egg his car. He could start videotaping you, and later use the recordings to his advantage.
posted by invisible ink at 7:50 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ever time the alarm goes off, open the window and sound the air horn for 15 seconds.

This is exactly what I would do. Along with calling 311 so often that the dispatchers would recognize my voice.
posted by lemniskate at 7:59 PM on June 20, 2010

speaking of videotape..why not document the alarm on your camera (with time and datestamp if possible). This certainly qualifies as against the noise ordinance. Go to the bottom of this link for super-helpful information specifically for you.
posted by naplesyellow at 8:04 PM on June 20, 2010

311 does work. Esp with noise complaints. If you are living (illegally) in an industrial zone (East Williamsburg ?) you can call 311 anonymously.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:10 PM on June 20, 2010

Screw 311. Call the local precinct. They should have a community affairs officer, who can talk to the car alarm owner and, you know, diplomatically explain the situation. But furthermore, it's easier to establish a relationship with the precinct -- whose officers will eventually be responding to those 311 calls anyway -- than it is to call 311 and get a new case number every time.

So, call the (non-emergency!) number for your local precinct, and start chatting up the cops. Yes, they do actually do stuff. Sometimes.
posted by brina at 8:35 PM on June 20, 2010

I don't live in NYC, but I do live in close proximity to my neighbors and one of them had a car alarm that they just let go off again and again.

I assume 311 is a non-emergency complaint line for the police. If it isn't, that's what I'd call. I

So my neighbor drives an early aught buick. Periodically - not always, every two hours the alarm went off like clockwork for the full duration of the alarm. To make matters worse, We live slightly up a hill, so the alarm would boundary load off their builiding and bounce up to mine - basically magnifying the sound. So the car alarm went off for 3 nights in a row, as well as woke up our son once - which really killed us.

So on day 4 of this last round I called the cops on the first occurrence of it going off after 9:00. I called the non-emergency number with the liscence plate, make and model. I told the dispatch how often it went off, that I had never seen the person that owned the car and that even if I knew what unit they were in I'd just walk over and say: "Hey, can you turn off the carr alarm." I tolkd them the alarm went the full duration. I told them that it wsa killing my sleep, that I had no idea who it was, and that I didn't want to get someone cited with a noise viloation - that frankly I didn't care if the noise happened, but I did care if it woke my wife up and if it woke my son up, because with either of them awake - I wasn't going to get to sleep anytime soon. I told them that iif they didn't want to waste the manpower I'd be fine if they'd give me the address of the owner, and I'd take care of it myself, but if I didn't have a solution now, that I'd call the cops *every* time his alarm went off.

To this day - the alarm has gone off numerous times, but it has been silent after one or two blasts of sound, and never after 11:00.

Yeah, I feel like I rattled my cane and basically said "bah! you kids get off my lawn!" but it worked. I won't lie, it definitley cheeses me that the guy's attentiveness to the alarm now pretty much tells me he knew about it before but ignored it, but whatever the police said to him has resulted in nearly model behavior regaridng the alarm since then. I can live with being the jerk.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:51 PM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

We had this exact same problem in Brooklyn and the police told us to get a brick. But 311 is worth a try I guess.
posted by krikany at 10:09 PM on June 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

This happened to us once in downtown Montreal. The car alarm went off every couple of hours for 15-30 minutes at a time, for two weeks. Then one night I woke up to the smell burning rubber, looked outside, and saw the car completely engulfed in flames. I don't know who set the fire, but he/she was the talk of the neighbourhood the next day; everyone was praising that fire.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:07 AM on June 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Perhaps encouraging vandalism isn't the best way to go here, especially since the OP has already egged the guy's car and will be the prime suspect if it turns up on fire, or without a windshield.
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on June 21, 2010

it's really awful, and says horrible things about my maturity that I would think of this, but you could always start putting birdseed around the car to encourage pigeons and whatnot to gather there ;)
posted by lemniskate at 6:31 PM on June 21, 2010

> We had this exact same problem in Brooklyn and the police told us to get a brick

When I was in Queens, the police told us to throw eggs. But they didn't mean it. Not really. Well, sort of. But anyway: call the local police station and talk with them -- that's what we did, and it worked.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:15 AM on June 22, 2010

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