hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 17, 2012

Editorial: As mom would say: Turn that racket down

Some people clearly weren't brought up to respect the rights of others. How else to explain the run of noise complaints on Sunday?

It was Mother's Day, for shame. Whatever happened to celebrating with a quiet family brunch?

A dozen complaints of loud music were recorded by Haverhill police on Sunday, and the times of the calls listed in the log show just how inconsiderate some people can be:

Garden Street, 1:19 a.m.

Franklin Street, 2:04 a.m.

Cedar Street, 2:19 a.m.

Valley View Avenue, 3:29 a.m.

Dudley Street, 3:48 a.m.

Steeplechase Court, 4:32 a.m.

5th Avenue, 5:39 p.m.

10th Ave., 6:11 p.m.

Orchard Street, 7:23 p.m.

Brookdale Lane, 8:16 p.m.

Portland Street, 10:12 p.m.

Brookdale Lane, 11:10 p.m.

Haverhill wasn't alone dealing with noise nuisance calls. Lawrence dealt with 34 noise complaints in the 24-hour period and Methuen with nine.

Lawrence police slapped five homeowners and three nightclubs with $200 fines. One of the clubs was hit with two fines.

Haverhill police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said excessive noise is a quality-of-life issue.

He's right. Few things are more obnoxious or so ruinous of a good night's sleep as an intoxicated partier's decision to share his taste in music with the entire neighborhood at 3 o'clock in the morning.

"You get to some of these locations and they have the stereo up pretty loud," Thompson said. "People have a right to a peaceful existence and we sympathize with callers. But unfortunately it's an electronic world where you have music coming from home stereos and car stereos."

Fortunately, however, Haverhill has a way to fight back. A noise bylaw allow police to hit violators with a $50 fine. Police can also cite repeat offenders for keeping a disorderly house, Thompson said.

Police should be aggressive in handing out fines when gentle persuasion fails to work.

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