Council takes no action on booming car stereos
TAMPA - City officials have backed away from changing laws on noise. On Thursday, the Tampa City Council decided not to consider adopting tougher laws to crack down on the owners of vehicles with booming stereos. The decision came after hearing from Tampa police officials who said the current system of issuing $101 tickets to offenders for each violation is working. Maj. Marc Hamlin told council members that the police department had issued 1,348 citations since the beginning of the year, a roughly 61 percent increase from last year. "Our position is that the current system is adequate to combat the problem," he said.Members of several neighborhood organizations have been pushing the council to get tougher on violators, with some residents portraying the noise issue as a citywide crisis. A petition with more than 200 signatures was submitted to the council two months ago, asking city officials to consider adopting other communities' measures. "Just giving people tickets isn't working," Clay Daniels of East Tampa said. Last year, St. Petersburg adopted a noise law allowing police officers to decide what is too loud. Before that, police had to use sound meters to determine whether there was a violation.St. Petersburg also has a resident reporting system that takes complaints and sends violators a warning that they must abide by noise restrictions. Several council members expressed concern that adopting a similar reporting program would be too time-consuming and costly and do little to fix the problem.
Reporter Christian M. Wade can be reached at (813) 259-7679