SANTA ANA — In a move aimed at toning down noisy parties and reducing the amount of time police spend responding to them, the City Council on Tuesday tentatively approved an anti-noise law.
The law allows police to issue tickets on their first call to anyone who pumps up the volume or creates loud noise. Currently, police can bill those responsible for the noise only if officers have to respond several times and only then if a witness is willing to sign a complaint, said Police Chief Paul M. Walters.
The new law takes witnesses "out of the uncomfortable position of having to go to court as a witness against their neighbor," Walters said.
Although a fee schedule is still being developed, city officials said, violators could pay between $150 and $250 for the first offense. Follow-up calls will result in higher penalties plus the cost of the officers' time.
Aimed at quelling loud parties, the ordinance prohibits "loud and raucous noise from sound-making or amplifying devices" on any private or public public property, parks or streets.
The hour, place and circumstances of the noise will be considered in determining whether the disturbance is unreasonable, according to the ordinance.
City Atty. Edward J. Cooper has said that the anti-noise ordinance was modeled after one in effect in Los Angeles for more than two decades.
The Police Department receives an estimated 7,750 calls a year about noise, usually from stereos or amplified musical instruments, police officials said.
The council is expected to give final approval to the ordinance at its next meeting.