Noise still a loud issue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Thounga Craig just wants the noise to stop.

For months, he’s called police every time a car rolls by his home, blasting music and disturbing the peace.

Craig said that the authorities don’t take him seriously.

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“They won’t send nobody,” Craig said. “That’s not right. They’re just tired of dealing with it.”

He put his complaints into a letter to the city.

Selma City Councilman Cecil Williamson, after reading the letter, called the behavior “harassment” of Craig.

“I think people ought to be outraged that citizens can be harassed,” he said, at Monday’s meeting.

Craig’s war against noise pollution has gotten more and more support from the Selma City Council, but with little results.

Craig’s complaints, and complaints from other citizens, continue, according to the city council members.

Councilwoman Jannie Venter said the problem is growing.

“Since the last time, it’s like it’s gotten worse,” she said.

She said she’s received calls that some people in Selma are actually targeting complainers and deliberately making noise.

“I think they’re really harassing,” Venter said.

The police department is working to come up with a solution, Interim Chief Jimmy Martin said, but it is proving difficult.

Unless a police officer actually sees, or hears, a violation of city law, the officer can’t make an arrest or issue a ticket.

“(Officers) can’t go on hearsay,” he said. “It’ll have to be committed in (an officers) presence.”

Martin said he is trying to get approval for citizens to sign complaints on known offenders, like the city does with criminal violations.

“I’m trying to get up with the U.S. Attorney’s office and see if citizens can actually sign a complaint the same way they could sign a warrant,” Martin said.

Outside of that, Martin said, the only other way is to increase the number of officers on the street.

“You would have to put an officer with each individual that drives a car in Selma,” Martin said.

As far as complaints against the dispatchers, Martin said he had no jurisdiction.

“They are not employed by the City of Selma,” he said.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s department handles all the complaints against dispatchers.

The Times-Journal was unable to reach Sheriff Harris Huffman after business hours.

City officials, however, will continue to do all they can to fight crime, including the noise ordinance, they said.

At Monday’s meeting, the council again called for a report on the number of incidents, arrests and citations issued.

“It’s being worked on,” Councilman Reid Cain said. Cain heads the city’s Public Safety committee. He said he’s working with the city’s police department to deal with the noise and other problems.

Craig said he’s just tired of it.

“I’ve just done got tired of worrying with them,” he said. “I done talked to anybody to be talked to.”