by Ted Rueter

Noise Free America

June 25, 2013

June 25, 2013

Larry Reik
Chief of Police
Eastlake, Ohio

Dear Chief Reik,

I am the founder and director of Noise Free America, a national non-profit organization devoted to noise reduction. Doug Patrick of Eastlake asked me to contact you concerning noise enforcement in Eastlake.

Illegal noise from motorcycles and loud car stereos is a serious problem. A report from the United States Department of Justice notes that there is a strong relationship between excessive noise and community deterioration. Those who make excessive noise are often linked to crime, drugs, gangs, and guns.

You note that you do not have the resources to fight illegal motorcycle noise, because your officers are busy dealing with drugs and break-ins. It is important to note that fighting noise is fighting crime. Allowing loud motorcycles and “boom cars” to roam the streets of Eastlake (or any community) fosters an atmosphere of lawlessness.

Elkhart, Indiana has the nation’s toughest noise ordinance. The fine for the first offense is $250; the fine for the fourth offense is $2,500. Elkhart has a full-time police office devoted to noise enforcement. Each year, this lone officer generates around $200,000 in fines. Last year, Elkhart’s noise control officer did more drug busts than any other Elkhart police officer–and he was looking for noise violators, nor drugs.

Bradley Vite, an Elkhart resident who led the campaign to institute the anti-noise policy, said that “Elkhart’s anti-noise program is a great tool to reduce crime. Elkhart’s anti-noise officers have found meth labs, marijuana, cocaine, weapons, and individuals with warrants. Noise is a quality of life issue. The actions of the city government and the police have dramatically reduced noise.”

You mention the issue of the 4th amendment regarding motorcycle inspections. I do not see this as an issue at all. The federal Noise Control Act of 1972 states that motorcycles may not emit more than 80 decibels. If such noise levels are “plainly audible” to an Eastlake police officer, they have every right to inspect a motorcycle for the presence (or absence) of an EPA-compliant label. There is no 4th amendment issue whatsoever.

I strongly encourage you to take strong action against illegal noise, to protect the health and well-being of the citizens of Eastlake. Fighting noise is fighting crime.

Sincerely yours,

Ted Rueter
Noise Free America