Saturday, March 17, 2007

Have you Heard that Piercing Alarm?

Since early February 2007, we have heard a loud, high-pitched, alarm noise that can be heard through a closed window. It sometimes sounds for less than an hour at a time, and other times it can sound for several hours - often late at night and a few times heard during the day. It sounds like an electronic, unwavering, and unmodulating noise of sustained high pitch and it is hard to detect the origin.

What We Have Done

1. We have asked officers from the 84th Precinct to investigate the sound. They have visited 180 Montague Street twice and failed to resolve the problem. The first time they came, they decided that the noise was coming from a door ajar on the roof of 180 Montague Street itself and left. The second time, they said it was “the whistling of the wind,” “garbage trucks backing up,” and then finally that they had no idea what it was and that it wasn’t their job to deal with it anyway. When asked if it could be defined as a disturbance of the peace or a public nuisance, they said they didn’t know and would take no further action.

2. We wrote a letter to our city council member. Their office responded that we should call 311 and file a “noise complaint” with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Councilmember Yassky’s office said that if the DEP did not solve the problem, we should call them again and they would look into the issue further.

3. We called 311 on Thursday at midnight. The DEP said an inspector would be sent to our neighborhood. When asked how long this would take the DEP representative said she didn’t know but that we were welcome to call back after a few days if the noise kept coming back. We heard the noise again on Friday night at 2am which continued well into 4am.

4. We created a blog to discuss this issue and connected it to other neighborhood blogs to find out if other people outside from our building also hear this noise. Please visit
What Can You Do

One of the police officers mentioned as his excuse for inaction that “no one else has complained about this.” If you have heard this noise and thought there was nothing you can do, here is what our council member told us to do:

I would suggest that you make a noise complaint with DEP through the 311 system for starters. They should send someone out to inspect. Make sure that you keep a record of your 311 complaint number. If you report it, and you don't get any assistance withing a few days, call our office with the compaint number and we can track it from our end.


Mary Lou Bradley
Director of Constituent Services
Council Member David Yassky
718-875-5200 x16

Another thing you can do is visit our blog and post your comments so that we can begin to compile a public record of residents’ complaints:

If we work together, we can find the cause and help resolve it so the noise will end.

Resident of Montague Street