The Plymouth State University Police Department wants everyone in our community to understand the reasons behind police responses to noise violations. There are no time limits on when a noise complaint can be reported to local or campus police. Although many complaints called in are during late night hours, it is possible to be summonsed for a noise violation at any time of the day or night.
You may never have thought about it before, but even small amounts of noise from a loud television, or stereo, or even people conversing in a party atmosphere inside a home can travel blocks away, especially late at night. By keeping windows and doors closed, many noise complaints are avoided. Even though Plymouth is a college town there are many local residents who live in the area along with you. Most are great neighbors who appreciate the presence of the University. Many of them have large levels of tolerance and never call in any complaints. But many are parents, or young school children, or senior citizens who have other needs, like work the next morning, or school. Simply put, they must value quiet time differently than you, especially during the late night hours.
The Plymouth Police Department has a presumptive policy on all noise complaints, meaning it is not our policy to issue warnings on any founded noise complaints. If the responding officer determines that the noise generated could disturb the average sensibilities of anyone else in a public or private place near your residence, in most cases a summons is issued.
If you are summonsed you must make an appearance in the Plymouth District Court. Most fines are between $150-$300 for first time offenders. Second offenses could carry fines of $500. In all instances, the police send a letter to the property owner/landlord describing the incident, the names of those summonsed may be printed in the local papers and those cited are referred to the University Judicial System for additional follow-up.
You and all tenants are held responsible regardless of the individuals making the noise. The local ordinance allows for the citation of the tenants that did allow noise problems to occur or continue… meaning that you are seen as the responsible party for any and all activity in or on your property.
Occasionally warnings will be issued. The Police Department does spend time on routine patrol, and if officers notice any noise related problems BEFORE a complaint is called in, they can (and many times do) stop and visit with residents to give them a proactive warning. But once a complaint is called in, the officers MUST issue a ticket if the noise is unreasonable.
To avoid complaints it is best to get to know your neighbors, perhaps even giving them your phone number so that in case of a noise issue you may be contacted rather than the Police.