Noise violations have decreased by 52 percent in San Luis Obispo in the past 10 years.
The number of noise violations moved from 2,584 in 2009 to 1,228 by the end of 2019, according to San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) data. From 2018 to 2019 alone, there was a 15 percent decrease in noise complaints.
“We were already really excited about the 2018 numbers, and then 2019 happened,” SLOPD Neighborhood Outreach Manager Christine Wallace said. “Just municipal nerd stuff.”
With a significant dip in violations between 2018 and 2019, the department acknowledged that 2018’s rainy season may have played a role in the lack of complaints.
“We’re fair-weathered people — if it’s pouring outside and you want to go out and do something social, you’re not [going to] want to go outside,” Wallace said.
Alongside weather as a potential factor, the lower numbers could also be credited to a partnership between Cal Poly and the local police and implementation of SLOPD’s party registration program.
Although the two worked closely from the beginning, a formal collaboration between the police and the university began in 2015. This gave the University Police Department the authority to write municipal code citations for noise, unruly gathering, public urination and open container, among others, Wallace said.
Party registration began when the Neighborhood Wellness Community Civility Working Group was formed in 2013. The group consisted of Cal Poly officials, students, city officials and residents of San Luis Obispo. After discussion of improving quality of life in neighborhoods, party registration came as a recommendation within the group’s official report assigned to the city. In 2017, the program piloted, and in 2018, it became permanent.
Party registration is open to all residents, with a slightly different process applying to Greek organizations and organized clubs that require adherence to certain bylaws and risk management factors. A list of 20 parameters for registration are posted on the City of San Luis Obispo website.
“I’m excited to see that our collaboration with the city is paying off,” Cal Poly Dean of Students Kathleen McMahon said in a Cal Poly news release. “Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and alumni are an integral part of the San Luis Obispo community — and they pride themselves on being good neighbors.”
The city, Cal Poly and Cuesta College fund a separate program called SLO Solutions, which assists residents in conflict-resolution. The program includes service with a range of issues — from roommate-to-roommate tensions and tenant-to-landlord complaints to the simple lifestyles differences that can lead to larger conflicts.
With a less rainy winter this year, Wallace said violations are bound to go up again from 2019.