Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Noise & Crime

Ignorance breeds ignorance. And, as a number of
> quiet-list writers have noted in the brief time I have been reading,
> with the growing population, noise of all kinds grows. So do other
> crimes, motivated at least in part by the constant and ever increasing
> noise.
> This might be an avenue ripe for exploration since crime has the
> attention of the politician and of the media: 1) Noise pollution causes
> violent behavior. 2) Crime is violent behavior. 3)We should reduce
> crime. 4) If we reduce noise pollution then we will reduce crime. 5)
> Therefore we should reduce noise pollution. QED. (The astute reader will
> have noticed that #4 needs to be supported by empirical data. I know of
> no studies that demonstrate this.)


I've been an advocate of this approach for a long time.  I see enough
folks who are physically capable and plenty angered by the noise problem
who would *welcome* a physical confrontation (happen to be one of them)
with the offenders.  Funny thing, when confronted, the little babies
tend to run away, only to return under the cover of darkness with their
anonymous brand of terrorism (the boom box/amplified car stereo).  

This goes back to an earlier post about kids (and I'm referring very
specifically to the 15 - 20 year olds) feeling dis-enfranchised from
society and needing their noise-making machines to feel more powerful,
in control, etc.  Of course I'm sitting out here in the suburbs and not
dealing (for the most part) with gun/knife toting gangsters who might
actually know how to use such a weapon.  The kids I deal with might
carry a weapon, but using it is another story -- although it happens far
too often to simply write off).

Back to the original thought: noise will/does cause people of reasonable
sensibilities and above average education to take physical action
against the offenders; the opposite, that those complained about engage
in acts of violence against the complainant, is also true.  It is a sad
thing to be left to complain to uncaring township managers about noise,
but the only way they will ever listen is to inundate them with very
real statistics.

I was previously advised by a list member that the prevention of a
"forseeable" criminal action would not be punishable on a civil and/or
criminal level.  Based upon my considerable experience with the security
and the law, I disagree.  If you show statistics to those in charge and
document your correspondance, then those in charge do *bear a fiduciary
responsibility* to answer for actions that could reasonably be perceived
as forseeable.  

In other words, if I show the local police captain videotape of people
repeatedly running/ignoring a stop sign and: i) the captain does nothing
about it, and; ii) a child is killed by someone later runing that same
sign sign...well, I wouldn't mind being the lawyer who represents the
parents in their suit against the township.  If nothing else, it would
make re-election or re-appointment far more difficult.  

The key, of course, is documentation that includes hard evidence. 
Statistical evidence such as you have proposed would be extremely useful
is making a case, and placing the fear of God in those whose job it is
to enforce noise pollution codes.  Without such evidence, ours is but
another voice in a sea of noise...we'll plead for change for years to
come, but the problem will only become worse.  Affixing fiscal
responsbility is where the battle will be won...not through violent
reaction (which only puts people in jail with even louder people).

Bob S.

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