Courtesy of retired Community Assisted Party Program (CAPP) advisor Fred Zuckerman and current advisor Robert Harvey:
Why call the police about party houses?
The police department is powerless to do anything unless they receive a call for service and see evidence of illegal activity. You have to call, then police officers can take enforcement action to stop it. If the police observe repeated violations they can take escalating enforcement measures that will usually result in eventual compliance.
For example, call early; you DON’T need to wait until 10 PM to call about a party/noise complaint. Call when the party first begins to get out of normalcy, meaning loud music, heavy vehicle traffic arriving, people outside drinking, loud talking yelling, fights, etc.
When you call the non-emergency number, 619-531-2000, you might be on hold up to 40 minutes. Please hold and wait for the dispatcher or you lose your place in line. Ask dispatch for the “incident number” and log that number, date, time. Save the data as your history on the complaint address because that is how the police department tracks the call. Encourage everyone who is disturbed to call; it provides the officer with additional information from different people.
When you call, be prepared to give accurate and detailed information on what you hear and see. Estimate the numbers of persons at the party. Are partygoers arriving by Uber or Lyft? Vehicles illegally parked? If officers have not arrived and the noise continues, call back an hour later and continue to do so every hour. This provides the officers with evidence of the “calls for service” at a specific address.
The police maintain computer logs of all the calls they receive. These logs are a key statistical record used to determine how much crime occurs in San Diego, where that crime occurs, whether crime is increasing or decreasing in different communities and more importantly, where should additional police officers be transferred in order to respond to the trends. If neighbors do not report crimes, then the statistics will falsely show that crime is reduced in their community and it could affect future officer staffing levels.
You may request that the officers, upon arrival at the scene, speak with you first before they address the noise and party residents. Be sure you ask for the police person’s name and ID# and add it to your log. Your information will not be disclosed to others.
If there are a number of houses that are repeat offenders, you can always email the addresses to Robert Harvey RHarvey@pd.sandiego.gov or Officer Holly Tafoya at HTafoya@pd.sandiego.gov.
For a crime in progress or immediate threat to life or property, call 9-1-1. For party and noise complaints, call the police non-emergency number at 619-531-2000.
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