City of Kent cracks down on noise

Olivia Boris

Having students back in Kent for the new school year impacts the city of Kent residents, due to the amount of noise college students bring. Noise complaints often lower between the summer months, where students go home for the summer, and rise during the months students are back in Kent for the fall semester.

Administrative Lieutenant with the City of Kent Police, Michael Lewis, explains that there is a “very strict noise ordinance in the city of Kent. No noise can go beyond your property line after 9 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning. Noise can include loud voices and loud music.

“A lot of times, we hear that ‘this is a college town’ but right around the corner are family homes with adults who have to get up early to go to work and children who have to go to school in the morning,” Lewis said. “City of Kent residents really pushed for stricter unlawful noise ordinances several years ago.”

After a noise complaint is received by the City of Kent Police, the first thing they do is go to the location and find the resident who is most responsible for the noise. “Sometimes we get cooperation and sometimes we don’t,” Lewis explains. “Cooperation goes a long way, since our biggest goal (is) to identify person most responsible.”

“Once identified, we explain the reason for our visit,” Lewis said. “They are either issued a warning or citation. These complaints are considered an unclassified misdemeanor and it is technically an arrestable offense, although we typically don’t arrest unless we are required to come back to the location multiple times that night.”

Noise complaints turn into other forms of crime very often for the city of Kent. 

“Underage drinking is seen pretty frequently. If police respond to a noise complaint and happen upon someone under 21 years of age who is drinking, they will be placed under arrest,” Lewis said.

Parking violations, littering, criminal damage and reports of thefts are often other forms of crime the city of Kent sees when responding to calls, Lewis explained.

These forms of crime often escalate into what is called a nuisance party.

Nuisance parties include unlawful noise, but parking violations, underage drinking, littering, disorderly conduct and public urination, Lewis said.

To better prepare for an event where noise may generate, Lewis recommends registering a party or gathering 72 hours in advance. This may be done on kentpd.org and is separate from registering an event with the university.

“The police take contact information from two people who are physically at the party, and we try contact them before actually showing up, if they receive noise complaint,” Lewis said. “We contact these people to advise them of a noise complaint before an officer responds.”

According to KSUPD.org, “2017 proved to be a successful year with our Party Registration Program. The program allows party hosts and attendees have the opportunity to receive a telephone warning from our dispatch center in the case of excessive noise or other nuisance activities.”

Although noise complaints often occur most frequently during the hours between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., this does not mean residents are safe from getting any violations outside of that period of time.

Kent State junior in Alpha Xi Delta, Megan McGraw, had dealt with a recent noise complaint at 571 S. Lincoln St. This specific noise complaint had been brought to the attention of the police on Sunday Aug. 23 at 1:44 p.m during their sorority’s bid day celebration.

“As the police pulled into our driveway, my reaction was to go up and speak with them because I live in the house,” McGraw said. “I was nervous we would be getting a ticket for the noise complaint. They just gave us a warning and asked that we have the DJ turn the music down so they did not have to be called back,” McGraw said.

“We did not receive a ticket, I believe it was just a warning, but if they had to be called back I’m sure a ticket would have been involved,” McGraw said. “I think my cooperation with the police was what allowed the situation to diffuse.”

Olivia Boris is the safety reporter. Contact her at [email protected]