Noise Complaints fall in Burlington.

Noise complaints fall in Burlington – but Hill Area is still the loudest

Houses in Burlington’s Hill Section. Seen here on March 18, 2019.
JESS ALOE/FREE PRESS

Burlington is getting quieter.

Between 2012 and 2018, the number of noise complaints the Burlington police responded to fell by more than half.

Burlington Police Department data shows 775 incidents flagged as “noise” last year, just about 1,000 fewer calls than in 2012.

Incidents responded to by the Burlington Police Department flagged as “noise” types. Data from the Burlington Police Department.
JESS ALOE/FREE PRESS

The biggest reduction came from the city’s noisiest neighborhood — the University/Hill Section. In 2012, the University of Vermont partnered with the city’s Code Enforcement Office and police to quiet the neighborhood through increased police patrols and outreach to landlords of “problem properties.”

The university also pays for the police to step up patrols in the area during typically problematic times.

Restorative Noise program

Rachel Jolly runs Burlington’s Restorative Noise program, which allows residents who receive noise tickets for parties — called “social noise” — to reduce the amount of the fine by participating in a two-hour session and doing community service.

More: Quiet UVM students make good neighbors

The session, she said, gives offenders the chance to build a deeper sense of connection with their neighborhoods.

Materials for UVM’s “Have a Heart campaign, which uses a child’s drawing and chocolates to encourage students to keep noise down
JESS ALOE/FREE PRESS

“So often, the ticket receivers are college students who came from other communities,” she said.

Non-“social noise” offenders can also reduce their fines by doing community service, but Jolly said the majority of the cases she sees stem from parties.

More: Police tout foot patrol success in student areas

They’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the past few years. From 2010 to 2015, the program averaged 88 noise cases per year. Last year, they handled 8.

Noise by the numbers – 2012 to 2018

Noisiest neighborhood: The University/Hill Section. Nearly half of all noise complaints — 47 percent — came from the student-heavy area around the University of Vermont.

Quietest neighborhood: The New North End. Just under 6 percent of all noise issues originated in the Queen City’s northern reaches.

Noisiest months: August and September. Noise incidents tend to peak in the early fall, as students return to school and some move off-campus for the first time.

Noisiest day of the week: Saturday, though Friday and Sunday also generated high numbers of complaints.

More: Burlington’s student-dense Ward 8 works get out the vote on Town Meeting Day

Tips for a respectful party

The Burlington Community Justice Center offers several tips for “respectful parties.”

  • Tell your neighbors you’ll be hosting a party, and give them your phone number so they can call you if it gets too loud.
  • Invite only a manageable number of guests. Turn away people you don’t know.
  • Minimize gatherings on front porches and yards after 10 p.m.
  • Keep windows closed.
  • Walk around outside to check the noise level.

Contact Jess Aloe at 802-660-1874 or jaloe@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @jess_aloe

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