East Selma residents want noises off

Published 9:19 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

Some residents in East Selma want city police officers to stop the racket in their neighborhood.

And Selma Police Chief William T. Riley III says his officers have worked to do just that, but writing tickets for loud music isn’t a priority one or priority two level concern.

“There’s no way we can handle every loud music call,” Riley said Monday afternoon during a Public Safety Committee meeting.

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Complaints about loud music from houses and vehicles have stood as an issue in some Selma neighborhoods for a long time — much longer than Riley’s eight months as police chief. But residents say they’re tired of complaining and not seeing results.

Thounga Craig Sr. brought a letter to the committee meeting at City Hall to punctuate his neighborhood’s point about the loud music. The letter listed several street corners in East Selma, including Plant and Annie Cooper streets, Lavender and Annie Cooper streets and Plant Street and Parker Avenue.

Craig had sent the letter dated Oct. 6 previously to Councilwoman Geraldine Allen of Ward 4, who chairs the Public Safety Committee.

During the meeting, Craig said police officers are slow to respond to calls about the noise ordinance.

“They can write 20 right in East Selma if they are in the right place,” Craig said.

He said on Oct. 4, a neighbor called the police dispatcher and reported two different incidences in the neighborhood, but police officers didn’t respond.

“Until somebody does something about it, it’s going to continue to go on,” Craig said.

Riley said he’s aware of the noise complaints, but as he attempts to spread a few officers over town to cope with drugs, reports of shots fired and fights, the noise complaints fall down the list of priorities.

Add to that, the police chief said, the special events, such as ball games and Riverfront Market Day and other celebrations, which place extra pressure on the city’s police force.

“I just can’t get in every area. That’s reality,” Riley said.

Craig and others in East Selma say they want a list by street of the tickets written for violation of the noise ordinance.

Allen told Craig the council receives a list by ward, but not by street. She told him to contact his council member, which until Nov. 4 will be Jannie Venter, to get the list.

Riley said he and supervisors at the police department have a plan that will help curtail noise in the city, but he was not at liberty to discuss the plan.

The police chief said many times when loud music is played from houses or cars, that’s an indication of someone involved with drugs, although not everyone who plays loud music is a drug dealer.