Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Car alarms: Pure evil.

There is a lot of street parking in my neighborhood. We live in a building with underground assigned parking for its residents, but many of the nearby buildings have either no parking provided or limited parking, which means that only some residents have an assigned parking space. Hence, street parking.

A very large portion of the cars (both on the street and in my very own building's garage) are equipped with anti-theft devices of the LOUD OBNOXIOUS ALARM variety. I have gotten quite accustomed to these alarms going off at inconvenient times (e.g., when I am asleep).

Last night we went to bed around midnight. Several times throughout the night, the same car alarm went off. It seems to be triggered every time another vehicle drives past it. The second-to-last time that it went off was at approximately 7:00, promting Will and I to notice our alarm clock. Normally I stay in bed until between 8:00 and 8:30, but the noise was too jolting for me to even attempt to fall back to sleep. The last time it went off I actually got out of bed, where I'd been pouting, and looked out the window to determine what vehicle the offensive noise was coming from. (I would have looked sooner, but the car's owner must have a window overlooking his parking space, because he'd turned the alarm off each time it sounded.)

I went downstairs and wrote down the make, model, and license plate number. I came back upstairs, wrote a (reasonably friendly) note, and went back down to put it on the windshield. The stairs have windows facing the street at each landing, and I saw a man standing near the car; there was another man on the stairs ahead of me. As the man ahead of me exited the building, I saw the man on the sidewalk get into the car. As soon as the other man reached the sidewalk, the car owner drove off. I suspect that he'd seen me write down his info and knew that he was not very popular.

I considered calling the local police and asking if they could do anything, but decided to be practical (I would hate to waste an officer's time) and look up the noise ordinance laws in LA first.

(Former Sec. 114.05, Renumbered by Ord. No. 164,532, Eff. 4/20/89.)

It shall be unlawful for any person to install, operate or use any vehicle theft alarm system that emits or causes the emission of an audible sound, which is not, or does not become, automatically and completely silenced within five minutes. The time period shall be calculated based upon the emission of the first audible sound and shall end five minutes thereafter notwithstanding any variation or stoppage in the emissions of audible sound. Violation of this section shall constitute an infraction.

My interpretation of this is that, because the asshat turned off his alarm each time it sounded (within five minutes), there is NOTHING I can do. This makes me furious. I am still reading the document, to see if there is an exception for repeated noises, but it isn't looking good.

All I can think of as a course of action is to hunt down the car tonight and leave a (slightly less polite) note. Which will, I imagine, accomplish absolutely nothing.

Damn it.