Help available for noise problem

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2006

To the Editor:

Regarding the article that ran in the Thursday, Jan. 26 edition:

There were some astonishing items in this article.

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First, that the city of Selma does not have a noise ordinance and appears to put the onus for solving the noise problem on its victims (in this case the Craigs).

It is the city’s responsibility to protect all its citizens, and to suggest that the Craigs move to solve their problem is outrageous.

Second, the chief of police says he doesn’t think his officers tell offenders the name of the person who turned them in.

This is known on the street as being put on Front Street and if it is happening, it is a gross violation of the public trust. A complainant injured by retaliation from an offender could sue the police department.

Finally, no one in office in Selma seems to be knowledgeable about the disastrous social, safety and health effects of noise, especially that created by the subwoofer audioterrorists who drive what is known as “boom cars.”

Here is what Chief Martin and the city fathers need to know:

Booming is associated with other, more serious crime.

Florida law enforcement has been aware for years that this is a form of drug advertising and that 1 in 4 cars stopped for booming will produce drug violators, weapons violators, persons wanted on warrants and a host of other crimes.

The State of Florida recently amended its car stereo ordinance to reduce the audibility requirement from 100′ to 25′; this has been a tremendous boon to law enforcement and has resulted in a doubling of the tickets written for this antisocial behavior.

The safety of every emergency worker – EMT, police, fire – is endangered when the public cannot hear sirens because one thoughtless, selfish person’s stereo is drowning out all other sound at a traffic light or on the highway.

Moreover, drivers of cars who are playing their stereos above safe limits are causing accidents because the loud noise is distracting.

The noise created by subwoofers and modified mufflers (vroom cars) is creating an entire generation of hearing-impaired people, from young fathers and mothers who are deafening themselves to their innocent children, strapped in the back seat often only inches from the noise source.

These children will have learning problems early on in school.

The complete effects of this health plague will not be felt for another 10 years and then the country is going to have to find hearings aids and suitable work for an entire generation of deaf, unemployable people of both sexes and all races.

After years of being tortured by this uncouth behavior, society is now raising an enormous public outcry against those who would drive us from our homes, disturb our peace and quiet and reduce the value of our property with their rude noise.

There have been recent articles in the Christian Science Monitor and AARP magazine; a TV news story by John Stossel; and there are web sites outlining the efforts of national, non-profit groups to stamp out this plague.

Selma’s police chief, the city attorney and its city council are urged to visit,

and to see what the rest of the world is doing.

Many, many cities like Selma are not only introducing and enforcing strict anti-noise ordinances, they are also imposing stiff and painful fines on the violators, all the way up to $2,500 for a single offense AND jail time. Some cities are taking this problem very seriously. Perhaps Selma needs to be one of them.

Judy Ellis

St. Petersburg, Fla.