Alderman Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, wants to lower the boom on loud music from cars.

She told constituents at a ward meeting Thursday that she plans to propose at Monday’s City Council meeting that Evanston adopt an ordinance to crack down on drivers who play music so loud it disturbs neighbors.

She says she hopes to model the ordinance on one in Chicago that lets police impound the cars of drivers who play their music too loud, imposes a $150 minimum fine and adds the violation to the driver’s state driving record.

“Having those hard-core fines and punishments is a real deterent,” Ald. Hansen said.

State law already prohibits drivers from playing music so loud that it would interfere with their ability to hear oncoming emergency vehicles, but that statute lacks the impound provision and has lower fines.

Ald. Hansen says she’s had complaints of drivers parking outside of houses in the middle of the night blaring their music for as long as an hour.

The noise ordinance proposal is expected to be referred to the council’s Human Services Committee for review.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What about existing noise ordinances?
    I’m not necessarily opposed to a crackdown on loud music. I’ve been awakened more than once this summer by a drive by boom box.

    But before we make a tougher law, I’d be interested to know whether or not we enforce the existing one. How many citations are issued each year for violations of the existing ordinances?

    Tougher ordinances will only be effective if enforced. Are we sure the existing laws aren’t tough enough?

  2. Noise ordinance would improve quality of life
    I completely support Alderman Hansen’s effort to reduce noise from excessively loud car stereos. The near-constant flow of booming cars on my street has certainly lowered the quality of life in my neighborhood. Music from passing cars is sometimes so loud that it shakes my window panes, rattles the pictures on my living room wall, and certainly frays my nerves. This level of noise goes far beyond what a resonable urban-dweller should expect: when I can hear music from car stereos even with my windows closed (and sometimes even with the TV on), it is simply too loud.

  3. Enforcement is key
    I completely agree that reducing the amount of noise would improve the quality of life. But an ordinance by itself won’t do that. It needs to be enforced. While we’re waiting for the City Council to act on a new ordinance, we should push the police to enforce existing laws. Those penalties may not be sufficient, but it’s at least a start.

  4. Noise problem? Bee Problem? focus on the crime problem!
    Alderperson Hansen – I believe works for the state attonerys office – she should be aware of our court system over load with real criminals. In Evanston with all the problems we have putting criminals off the streets in this community why would we want to focus on noise?

    If the Judges in our courts (Skokie) let the robbers on the streets in this town free after thier court appearance what are they going to do with a noise ordinance?

    I do not think much. Also what is too loud a noise? How are the police going to measure it? I think that is interesting give motorcycles, trucks can have noise level well about a safe range.

    1. Loud stereos are a genuine community problem
      Junad, I believe that loud car stereos ARE a criminal problem. They can violate a community’s peace so severely that people cannot work, sleep, or play without disruption.

      Moreover, I suspect that the areas with the louder number of car stereos are also the places with higher rates of other crime. If this is the case, why not give the cops another tool to deal with the problem? At the very least, empowering the police in this manner would allow them to address one of a cluster of nuisance behaviors which can lead to an “atmosphere of lawlessness.” Think of it as the auditory version of the “broken window” theory.

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