Dear PoP – Car Alarms All Night

“Dear PoP,

What are you supposed to do when someone’s car alarm goes off, on repeat, all night long??

The one in question is currently parked on 15th and T st NW and has been going off every 30 minutes since 2 am. Obviously preventing me from falling asleep for anything longer than 15 minute intervals.

any tips/ideas?? i am getting desperate.

it’s been going on for three days and the car already has two tickets.

We all have been calling the cops about the car, but the cops tell us they can’t really do anything!!!

so we are all very frustrated and don’t know how to make it stop.”

Ugh, this sounds brutal and extremely frustrating. Anyone have any success in dealing with a past situation like this?

52 Comment

  • They should be banned in the city. Along with car horns. and cars

  • If it has two tickets isnt it eligible to be towed by DC….

  • Super frustrating. We have a car on our block with a super sensitive alarm. It goes off when a truck or large car passes too close to it, which on Longfellow St happens all the time thanks to the narrow street.

  • Steal the car in a desperate act of irony?

  • Years ago, when I lived in Adams Morgan, this was a common problem. Many nights, I fantasized about throwing a brick through the windshield, pissing on the upholstery, and confronting the owner with a tire iron. Jeez, I still fantasize about it….

    • Me, too. Our neighbors now have a very sensitive alarm that goes off all the time. One night, when I was out with the dog at 3am, someone drove up and took a baseball bat to their windows and doors, followed up by a can of orange spray paint all over their black Yukon Denali. I don’t really think the two things were related, but man it’s nice to pretend so for a minute!

  • Doesn’t DC have some sort of noise ordinance? Either way, it would seem that MPD might query for the registered owner and politely tell them that their alarm is going off.

    Is that too much to ask?

    • I had this problem a while ago, and MPD did just that – searched for the registered owner. I don’t know why they seem helpless in the OP’s case.

      • There’s a car that parks behind my place and often the alarm chirps repeatedly every 45 seconds on the dot, all night long. I’ve called the police several times. Once the cop car pulled up directly behind the offending car, and when it chirped both cops’ heads turned toward it. I called 3rd district station the next day to follow up, and they said the cops reported there was no alarm when they checked. They said next time I should specifically ask the 911 operator to have the cops call me after they responded and to ask them to issue a ticket for a noise violation. But despite repeated calls and requests, the cops have never done anything.

      • yeah, I’d post it on the MPD listserv in your district with the block and a description of the car specified. Note that it has 2 tickets on it and list each time you’ve called the police about it. See what they suggest.

        my sympathies–it sounds like a crappy situation.

  • Car alarms ARE ridiculous. They go off in the middle of the night all the time, just about anything can set them off, and when they do go off, the owners rarely respond because they assume it’s a false alarm. But there’s not much we can do on that front.

    That said, I had a similar issue. My room is streetside, and there was a car parked on a major thoroughfare that was going off every single night for a few weeks, multiple times a night, starting around 4 am. Usually it was a truck or motorcycle rumbling by that set it off, but strong winds could do the trick too, no joke. So my boyfriend eventually started calling the police every time it happened, and always gave the license number. He was persistent, but only had to ask about twice before they gave him the owner’s information. Turns out she lived in a building next door to our house, we went over there and asked her if she can adjust the sensitivity of her alarm or start parking it on a side street with less traffic. She was actually really understanding and started parking on a side street and it’s rarely been a problem since.

    Sounds like this may not work for you since two tickets haven’t gotten the owner’s attention, but maybe give it a go, calling the police (non-emergency number obviously) when it happens and ask for the person’s information and try to do something about it yourself.

    • There is no non-emergency number anymore. If you want any kind of police response, call 911. 311 will just redirect your call there.

      Or do you mean call the precinct directly? That still works as an alternative to 911.

  • In my experience, most of the offending cars have after market alarms installed. A crappy Viper alarm installed by circuit city. The make and models of these cars range from 1995’s- 2000’s. In sum, they’re old cars with shitty alarms.

    We had a similiar incident on our street. It was an old school cadaliac and the alarm went off all night. Believe it or not, a few neighbors left nice notes on the car for the owner. She didn’t live on the street where the car was parked and therefore didn’t know her alarm was going off. She either doesn’t use the alarm or had it adjusted. No more annoying car alarm.

  • Call the police. It’s an illegal noise nuisance.

  • Bust the window, pop the hood, disconnect the battery? Find the speaker and cut the wire? Tow that sucker to the suburbs?

  • jimmy the hood and disconnect the battery.

  • For regular nuisance car alarms – stick a note on the windshield with a generous smear of crisco or other fat. Pain to clean but no damage.

    For two days and no police help – sorry.

  • When I lived in San Francisco, a car alarm – extremely loud one on an old junker – went off near my building for hours, several nights in a row, until one guy finally came out with a baseball bat and beat the car until it stopped. Everyone watching cheered.

  • So many of you guys are being harsh on the car owner here, and I think that’s just wrong. How many car owners get to park their cars directly in front of where they live? I hear car alarms go off all the time and sit and wonder if it’s my car someone is trying to break into, but since they all sound the same there’s really no way of knowing. And also, aside from the parking tickets, this owner is screwed because if the alarm is going off all of the time, then the battery is going to die pretty soon.

    • Then there really is no point in having a car alarm is there. If a person can’t monitor his/her alarm then he/she shouldn’t use it. No one else pays attention to them anymore, so what is the point of having one? I bought a new car a few years ago and declined to pay for an alarm because they are useless in the city, too many false alarms.

      Sitting and listening to alarms go off while you wonder about whether or not it is your car is ridiculous. If you are unwilling to check then have the alarm disabled.

      • I would think a car alarm would at least attract some attention from other passerbys which would most likely make criminal-types think twice about sticking around that area. Even if the owner doesn’t do anything….criminals may not want to test their luck.

  • That’s BS that the cops can’t do anything. I called them once about an identical problem. They climbed under the car and yanked out something and the alarm stopped.

    Oh and C Money…you are on the wrong side here. Car alarms don’t do a damn thing to protect cars from break-ins, but they do plenty to annoy a lot of people when the alarms go off, often for no apparent reason.

    • So if I have this right, you expect me to go outside every time I hear a car alarm go off to make sure it isn’t mine? Seriously?

      I never said they protect cars from break-ins. I do like to think that if my car alarm was going off (and I don’t have a sensitive one) it might make someone breaking in run away. And now we’re totally jinxing me, thanks.

      • “So if I have this right, you expect me to go outside every time I hear a car alarm go off to make sure it isn’t mine? Seriously?”

        Yes, seriously. One has to be at least a little self-centered to activate a device that’s going to interfere with his/her neighbors’ quiet enjoyment of their own homes. One has to be EXTRAORDINARILY self-centered to then sound indignant when asked to take responsibility for it.

      • saf

        I certainly expect that. If you have a car alarm, you are responsible for checking it. If you won’t, why would you expect anyone else to pay attention to it? Why have it at all?

  • Foam Earplugs work wonders.

    • Noise ordinances exist so you don’t have to wear earplugs when inside your dwelling. Earplugs can also prevent you from hearing actual, important alarms (fire, wife screaming at burglar, etc).

  • If possible, get a few strong friends and move the car just enough that it is partially in the roadway. Once it becomes a safety hazard it will be towed.

  • Go out late at night, bust into the car and remove the battery. Its the only way to be sure.

  • Get your car or a bunch of neighbors. Push/pull the car into a traffic lane. Call the police about an abandoned car. They’ll tow it away.

  • If this was some indie band no one has ever heard of playing at your favorite edgy coffee shop, would you be pissed if neighbors complained about noise? Lighten up. Its annoying, I hate it personally, but I just shrug it off. Life is much easier if you dont get so irate over things you cant control.

    • Agreed– you don’t move to the city to escape the noise. A few years ago there was a car alarm going off directly in front of my apartment for a couple of days. The residents of my building left a bunch of notes on the car (relatively polite ones from what I could tell) and the car never returned.

  • No need to vandalize anyone’s property, sheesh your all so angry! The hood may be ajar slightly, causing the alarm to go off. Simply close the hood.

  • how many tickets until you get towed? report until it gets towed (pray no boot) that’s your best option… DC will wet it’s pants at the thought of more money from a parked car

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