Rockridge residents are often frustrated when their neighbors are disturbingly noisy, late at night, over and over. Noisy neighbors get quite a low response from the police, especially late at night on weekends. What can you do?
Making loud annoying noises in the small hours isn't a crime. It is a nuisance. Nuisances don't require police intervention. Calling the Oakland Police non-emergency number (777-3333) to report the issue creates a paper trail of the problem, even if an officer doesn't come. The more people call about an incident, the more it gets OPD's attention.
But you don't really need the police. You can take your own records of a recurring problem directly to the city, who can move directly against homeowners, landlords, or businesses whose property is an ongoing noisy nuisance.
Nuisances, especially noise, are governed by Oakland Municipal Code chapter 8.18, Nuisances. Here is the definition of a nuisance (sec. 08.18.020):
The persistent maintenance or emission of any noise or sound produced by human, animal or mechanical means, between the hours of nine p.m. and seven a.m. next ensuing, which, by reason of its raucous or nerve-racking nature, shall disturb the peace or comfort, or be injurious to the health of any person shall constitute a nuisance.
You should review the sections to see which ones refer to your situation. Section 8.18.010B defines "excessive noise" (emphasis added):
"Excessive noise" means any unnecessary noise which persists for ten minutes or more; such period of noise need not be witnessed by enforcement personnel if the occupants of two or more separate housing or commercial units certify that they have experienced such period of noise and describe with particularity the source.
This means that people disturbed by noisy neighbors need to keep records of the problem. Also, more than one household must keep records on the problem. Get your other quiet neighbors involved in the effort.
Keep a log of incidents, including date, time, type and duration of the noise, plus the police dispatch incident numbers from any calls to the non-emergency line. Include any actions you or your neighbors took which didn't cause the noise to cease, such as talking about it to the problem household or business. Paper logs are better evidence than computer files because they are harder to modify.
Incident numbers are not the same as police reports; when you call the non-emergency number to report a problem, ask the dispatcher for the incident number.
These complaints should go directly to:
Nuisance Abatement Division
Susan Vasquez, Administrative Assistant
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza – 11th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
If the noise is coming from an establishment which serves alcohol (including restaurants), you can also call the hotline for ABAT (Alcohol Beverage Action Team) at 777-8680 and leave a detailed message as to what is happening.
The current contact for noise complaints about business establishments serving alcohol (loud music or patrons) is:
Nancy Marcus, Administrative Assistant
Special Activity Permits
Office of the City Administrator
One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 11th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 238-3294
Fax: (510) 238-7084
If the business doesn't comply with the first request, the problem is forwarded to the Nuisance Abatement Division for further action.