Proposed bill would penalize for nuisance car alarms

WASHINGTON – A new bill introduced in the D.C. Council would allow police to fine car owners whose car alarms go off, unchecked, for long periods of time.

Currently, when car alarms go off — and in some cases continue going off for hours — police can’t do anything about it, says Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

“I’ve had emails from people who will actually get up in the middle of the night and video on their phone, and send me a video of this car alarm going off, just about every night,” Lanier says.

Councilmember Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, says his bill would allow police to ticket cars whose alarms blare for more than five minutes. If the sound continues for more than eight hours, the bill would allow for that car to be towed.

Lanier would like to look at the proposal.

“I do agree it’s a nuisance, but I think I really have to look at what the councilmember is proposing to see if that would be useful,” Lanier says.

The bill is not the first of its kind in the region. In Fairfax County, officers can ticket unchecked car alarms for a noise violation. In Montgomery County, a car can be towed if its alarm is ongoing and the owner cannot be located.

WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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