Dear PoP – Car Alarm Edition

Smashed up, abandoned car, originally uploaded by yor_ick.

“There is either an alarm or some jerk beeping their horn nearly every evening on or around Princeton and Warder. I cannot find the auto or personal culprit. Last night the sound of irregular beeping (Beep, beep beep, Beeeeeep, Beep, beep beep…) went off about six times. I didn’t get any sleep at all. I’ve heard this before on other evenings, but last night and this morning was ridiculous.

IS anyone else hearing this?

Is there anything I can do?”

Well you could take a baseball bat… Seriously, this reminds me of the dog barking discussion we had a couple weeks ago. If it is happening on a daily/nightly basis I’d definitely call 911 (remember 911 and 311 have been sorta combined). But before doing that, perhaps you could also ask a neighbor to see if they recognize the car and know the owner. You may even want to leave a polite note (anonymously if you wish) alerting the owner to the problem. But if that fails I’d consistently call 911.

Have you guys faced an annoying car alarm on a regular basis? How’d you handle the situation?

20 Comment

  • A car in the alley behind our house was going off every night, over and over, night after night. It was maddening. I located the car and put a note on it saying fix the problem or I would have it towed.

    I don’t even know if I could get a car towed that wasn’t mine, but the threat worked, immediately.

  • this is a constant problem on our street. every night there are multiple car alarms going off for 10 minute stretches. I am very interested to know if there is anything we can do about the situation!

  • I dont know why citys have not outlawed these aweful things. it ruins the quality of life for a lot of people. way more than are effected by barking dogs i would assume.

  • Vonstallin

    I use to have 2 problems:

    A guy who flys thru the alley and hit the horn 3 or 4 times daily at night, and early morning Grandma picking up her girlfriend for sunday morning chucrch. Since both were in their 70’s she would lay on the horn all morning.

    then again 8am is early for me on sundays since i normaly dont get to bed till 6am

  • I called the cops once years ago when a car in the ‘hood (Mt. Pleasant) wouldn’t stop going off. The cop actually came and identified the car, but told me there was unfortunately very little that legally could be done about it. If the volume does not exceed legal noise limits (which normally a car alarm would not) it’s technically not against any laws. Though, I wonder if you could get them on the no honking law??

    That said, I like Julie’s solution… or perhaps something even more pointed, like, fix the problem or I will fix it for you.

    Funny that this came up today. Just this morning, a large white van was parked behind me on the street. It’s new to the street so hopefully it’s only visiting. But the alarm started bwanking at me as I walked by it to my car, and when I actually started my car it went into full alert mode… could still hear it a block away as I drove off…

  • Jamie’s right – you can call 911 all you want, but MPD can not actually do anything about alarms. Sometimes if you ask nicely they’ll run the license plate and if the vehicle is registered to someone on the block they’ll go to the door and ask the person to turn it off. Back in the day the universal signal for ‘fix that sh*t’ was a brick through the windshield. I don’t think we want to go back to that. Try a note first and see if that works.

  • Just a thought/question – why is that in the suburbs there are no car alarms going off? I have never found car alarms very useful. We all have grown so accustomed to them. It’s not like when we hear an alarm we all run to the phone to call 911. I think a car alarm is a useless nuisance

  • in my old hood the cutom was to egg the ever loving shit out of the car.

  • Scenes in the Joe Pesci movie “The Super” tells volumes about car alarms in situations like this one.

  • @Mike, I am sure there are car alarms in the ‘burbs. Probably, all the jackasses with uber-sensitive alarms are FROM the burbs.

    But out there, you don’t park on the street, and so generally speaking, people don’t walk or drive within a couple feet of your car all the time, setting off the alarm.

  • what i hate is when people go to pick someone up from the apartments across the street, they honk the horn instead of calling their friend. one particular car that comes daily has a honking pattern that one could assume is morse code.

  • RD – this has been going on for years. You could set a clock by it. I am not sure why they can’t just wait patiently for the friend to come down. It’s strange isn’t it?

  • My parents always used to say the hallmark of someone who is low class is that they honk the horn rather than get out of the car. We’d smirk. But who was right in the long run? Only a low-class person would honk the horn rather than get out. In fact, I have a personal policy never to honk my horn in any traffic situation and flash my brights instead.

  • Neener: Short story here: My friend was preparing for a date, we were in high school. The gentleman arrived at my friend’s house and he honked the horn instead of coming to the door to pick her up. My friend’s mother said: “you are not going anywhere with him until he comes in to pick you and meet me”. My friend had to go out to the car, tell the fellow to stop honking and basically get his ass out of the and come to the door. I have never forgotten it. I have two sons and when they are of dating age – I will remind them to never honk while picking up a date.

  • I have called the cops on persistent car alarms. They issued tickets. Must have been a slow day.

    I agree with previous posters: given the level of response to car alarms (none) combined with the annoyance factor (high), they should be outlawed. At least, crappy after-market alarms with hair triggers, that are susceptible to poor installation, should be. I confess that my car has an alarm, but with the exception of the one time I actually broke into it (locked my keys in), it’s never gone off.

    Speaking of honking… someone on my street used to get picked up by a carpool at 6am every morning, and the driver would lean on the horn til the neighbor came out. One morning I (5-and-a-half-feet of scary, sleep-deprived white female) leaned out my window and screeched at them to shut the -bleep- up or I was coming down with my baseball bat. Never heard another honk.

  • Fire solves such problems, a small amount of accelerant on the top of the tire, a match, and walk away…

  • Thank goodness I didn’t hear this alarm last night or I might have murdered! I called the police station to ask what I can do about it. He “politely” told me that they wouldn’t do anything. I got the impression that they wouldn’t even respond and that even if they did it would probably shut off before they got there. Humph.

    My problem is that I can’t find the offending vehicle. And I’m not even 100% sure it’s an alarm and not just some A*hole. If I find the vehicle some night I’ll try leaving a note…


  • I’ve called 911 and the meter maids have come ticketed the car.

  • This post is old, so no one will read this, but I have to share because I JUST discussed this with someone the other day…

    My brother lives in Mainz, Germany. Most people even have the lock-beep deactivated when buying a car… noises are not acceptable in European cities. Anyway, he has a policy of throwing liquids on people who annoy him, and apparently many Germans do the same. In the movies with a cell phone? Drink’s on you. Standing in the middle of the escalator? Drink’s on you. His new story when coming home for Xmas this year– Car alarm going off near his flat a few months ago, so he woke up early and waited outside for them and… drink’s on them (hot coffee, actually, with accompaniment of many German curse words). He hasn’t seen the car on that block since.

    I may adopt this policy, it’s just so awesome.

  • @PabloMa- that is terrific 🙂

Comments are closed.