Ticketing loud noise could help

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

At Tuesday’s Selma City Council meeting the council members discussed the ongoing vicious cycle of code enforcement’s enforcement. Several part-time police officers are the only individuals in our city who have the authority to write citations for environmental violations — like if a resident keeps dumping their trash in their yard or if someone has a car parked in the grass off of the street.

What seems to be making this a vicious cycle is that the officers who write citations do not have enough time to get through the mountains of citations they need to address each week.

Police officers are too busy and too short handed to take on these tasks and there are not enough funds to hire more officers. And round we go again when the council talked about adding several more rules to the books. At Tuesday’s meeting it was suggested to add an ordinance to cite those who ride their horses through Ward 8 and the horses leave droppings behind. Another rule is in the works for stipulating when residents put their trash out to be picked up on the curb.

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Ward 3 Councilman Greg Bjelke brought up another annoyance for many in the city — loud music. He laughed and told his fellow council members that if the police would come to his front porch and listen to all of the cars driving by and playing loud music, all of the tickets written, “would balance the budget.”

After writing several stories on the new fines drivers can receive for playing their music and sub woofers too loud, I have heard all sides of the argument.

I agree that, yes, police officers could spend their time more wisely waiting for other incidents to occur rather than ticketing every car that drives by with speakers that are so loud it makes your house vibrate. But after speaking with Judy Ellis, who runs a non-profit called Noise Free Florida, she told me you would think criminals would drive around quietly. “But they don’t,” she said. “Many times the cars pulled over for noise violations lead to arrests made for drugs and other illegal items found in the cars.”

I believe we have the right to play our music loudly and put whatever speakers in our cars we want, but we need to blast our music on the interstate, on the highway or even on dirt roads. Our city’s downtown has too much foot traffic, too many children playing and riding bikes and the houses are so close to the road.

If our police officers realize the need to ticket loud cars, they might solve other safety issues in the process and in line with what Councilman Bjelke said, $500 per ticket for the hundreds of loud noise offenses a day could hire another officer to alleviate the workload.