With finals in a couple of weeks, the community of San Luis Obispo is sure to be quiet and calm as students bury themselves in coursework, cramming information from the whole quarter into their heads.
After finals, students will return to their families and travel to places far away from San Luis Obispo.
It is when students are residing in San Luis Obispo that the police department receives the most noise complaints.
When students came back from summer break in September, the number of noise complaints peaked. There were 484 possible noise violations while 239 formal warnings, called disturbance advisory cards (DAC), were given.
Out of the complaints, 403 calls were made between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. and 215 DACs were given in the time period; a majority of violators were within a mile from campus.
Associated Students Inc. President Brandon Souza is well aware of the problem students have with the community.
“September always has the biggest peaks in noise violations. This year we also have a larger freshman class . a lot of first time students impacting off-campus areas,” Souza said.
Souza is part of the Student Community Liaison Committee that includes the student body president of Cuesta College along with the San Luis Obispo Police and University Police Department police chiefs.
They have started programs like Respect SLO Bro and SLO Solutions, a program that provides free mediation and conflict resolutions for anyone in the community who is having problems with a neighbor, landlord, tenant or roommate.
According to a regulation contained in the City of San Luis Obispo Municipal Code, it is a violation to make or allow any noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. that can be heard across your property line or more than 50 feet away. These noises include loud music and other noise, such as loud voices at a party or gathering.
University Police Chief Bill Watton said the University Police help city police with control off-campus noise. Since they have a jurisdiction within a mile of campus, their authority makes a huge impact.
“We will go out to assist and if the weather is good during a weekend, there are probably four to five parties we break up each night,” Watton said.
“Our officers are always patrolling these areas to deter the safety of students.”
The Student Neigborhood Assistance Program (SNAP) is sent to noise complaints to verify violations with residents and issue a DAC if necessary.
“DACs serve as warnings and you can only get so many,” said San Luis Obispo Police Sgt. Kurt Hixenbaugh.
A “premise” list is made up of residences that receive two or more DACs in a 60 day period or has hosted a large party with more than 75 people.
From that point on, if noise complaint is received at a residence on the premise list, no further warnings are given. Instead, officers are sent and issue a citation if there is a violation.
Sometimes if a complaint is made, the San Luis Obispo Police Department may show up instead of SNAP to either give a warning or a citation.
Noise violators may also be responsible to pay the cost of the officers’ response time in addition to the citation if the noise is not stopped after the warning, requiring the officers to return within 24 hours after the citation was given.
Having parties in San Luis Obispo can also be a costly result for students. The first citation is $350 while the second is $700. Third and subsequent citations run at $1,000 each.
These fines are quite substantial but are not comparable to fines students receive at schools like San Diego State.
If students at San Diego State have noisy parties, the police can issue a $1,000 fine to each tenant and/or the owner of the property (San Diego Municipal Code).