Volume turned up on Selma’s noise ordinance

Published 9:38pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A new ordinance in Selma will focus on turning some of the noise down on the streets. Between train horns, traffic and cars sharing their music with others at extremely high volumes, Selma’s downtown and surrounding neighborhoods have their fair share of noise both day and night.

The Selma City Council passed an ordinance in early April that will allow police officers to fine those riding in their cars with their music too loud, to write citations of $250 for a first offense and $500 citation for every time after that.

“When the temperature goes up, the stereos go up too,” Selma City Council President Corey Bowie said. “We just want to get the word out now about this ordinance to discourage people from playing their music too loud, because it always gets worse in the summer when people are out more and riding with their windows down.”

Bowie called the growing problem with noise across the city a quality of life issue and said everyone deserves to live in a peaceful neighborhood.

The question now, is how the police officers will enforce the ordinance.

Ward 8 Councilman Michael Johnson said there has to be priorities. He gave an example of two people in an emergency room — someone with a headache and someone who was stabbed.

“The one who was stabbed should be treated first,” Johnson said and has explained this same concept to residents who call him to complain about the loud noise coming from houses and subwoofers each night. “In the same way if there is a break in or a shooting, there has to be priorities — those things are more important than the loudness.”

Johnson said he understands people want to play their music, but not so loud that it affects everyone in the vicinity.

But Judy Ellis from the non-profit organization Noise Free Florida said many times the loudness is the cause for violence in the first place. Ellis has spoken with a resident in Selma’s Ward 8 and even spoke to Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley on a plan she said has worked to reduce noise in similar cities by up to 30 percent.

“The loud noise gets adrenaline pumping in those that hear it, so everyone around the area can go into a fight or flight response and this can end violently,” Ellis said.

Johnson explained the police officers are, “doing the best they can with what they have,” he said. “We have to go ahead and ticket these [offenders] now or it will not get any better — the problem will just get worse.”

For information on the harmful affects of loud noise visit www.noisefreeamerica.com.

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