As vehicle noise and racing complaints spike, police say they’re targeting offenders

File photo: Pictured are skid marks left by street car racers in an industrial parking in southeast Calgary on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Vehicle noise complaints in Calgary have tripled this year over last and city police say they’re cracking down on those offenders and street racers, particularly in the hard-hit northeast.

City-wide as of last week, police received 68 vehicle noise complaints compared to 22 during the same time in 2019, said Staff Sgt. Dale Seddon of the Calgary Police Service’s traffic section.

But safety fears over loud street racing and speeding in the city’s far northeast have found their way to police who will turn an enforcement focus there, he added.

“We will be doing more enforcement for this area in the next few weeks. We will work with the (Ward 5) councillor (George Chahal) to support traffic calming measures if need be,” Seddon said Tuesday.

A CPS community resource officer for that area has already been active on the issue, he said.

Even so, Seddon said the problem likely won’t be solved quickly and might transcend the powers of police.

“If the area is really problematic then it will need long-term solutions that go beyond occasional enforcement,” he said.

“This will take some time and assessment.”

Some Calgarians like Redstone resident Amanda Smith-Meyerink say noise-polluting speeders and racers have expanded their territory and burn rubber beyond the night and into day-time hours.

“It’s not happening just on the main roads dividing the communities now, it’s right in the communities,” said Smith-Meyerink.

“Everyone around here is complaining about the exact same thing.”

The woman, who operates a day home in a corner house said she fears a speeding motorist “will lose control and go into my front room … I’ve got six kids here during the day.”

She laughed at a police vow to step up enforcement, saying their requests to the CPS for help have done little to solve the problem.

“Every time we call the police, nothing happens,” said Smith-Meyerink.

“I even gave them the exact address of a Lamborghini’s (speeding driver) and they just drove around … it’s definitely frustrating.”

She said the situation has gone unsolved for years and has only worsened.

The CPS’s Seddon said he understands residents’ frustration but added police can’t be everywhere at once and “many communities request our assistance.”

Some of the allegations of racing, he said, are likely solely noise offences which are still bad enough.

He noted racing and vehicle noise pollution have been increasingly concerns across the city, on freeways and on inner-city thoroughfares like 17 Ave. S.W. and Crescent Rd. N.W.

Others on social media have complained about late-night racing or loud speeding on John Laurie Blvd. in the city’s northwest.

But with limited resources and the transient nature of decibels, it’s a tough area to enforce, said Seddon.

“It’s hard to identify vehicles doing it and enforce in a meaningful way … it’s safe to say we’re struggling,” he said.

“We all know it’s a problem, it’s a concern.”

But he said fines that can reach $270 for noise infractions and $567 for stunting have been handed out by both police and city bylaw officers.

Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal didn’t return calls for an interview but he’s recently said the area could use more traffic-calming measures like street lights and speed bumps.

Smith-Meyerink said she’d gladly sacrifice for enhanced safety.

“If my taxes go up so children’s lives will be saved, it’s not a hard decision,” she said.

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