What Time Can You Call The Cops For Noise?

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What Time Can You Call The Cops For Noise

Noise complaints are a common issue for many communities, and knowing when it’s appropriate to involve law enforcement is essential for residents. The appropriate time to call the police for a noise disturbance depends on several factors, including local noise ordinances, the type of noise, and the situation’s specifics.

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Understanding Noise Ordinances

Most cities and towns in the United States have noise ordinances that specify the times during which certain levels of noise are permissible. These laws are designed to ensure that residents have peaceful enjoyment of their homes without excessive disturbance from their neighbors or nearby businesses.

Common Noise Ordinance Provisions

While noise ordinances can vary significantly from one municipality to another, they typically include:

  • Time Restrictions: Many ordinances specify “quiet hours”—for example, from 10 PM to 7 AM on weekdays and 11 PM to 8 or 9 AM on weekends.
  • Decibel Levels: Some ordinances define noise levels in decibels (dB) and provide specific limits that vary by time of day and zoning area (residential, commercial, industrial).
  • Exemptions: Certain sources of noise may be exempt from ordinances, such as emergency vehicles, public utilities, or construction work within permitted hours.

When to Call the Police

You may consider calling the police for a noise complaint when:

  • The noise is occurring during designated quiet hours as determined by local ordinances.
  • The noise is excessively loud or disruptive, regardless of the time of day, and violates local decibel level limits.
  • You have attempted to resolve the issue amicably with the noise source, but the disturbance continues.

Non-Emergency vs. Emergency Calls

It’s important to distinguish between non-emergency and emergency calls:

  • Non-emergency calls should be used for noise complaints that are not life-threatening or in-progress crimes. Many police departments have a specific non-emergency number for such issues.
  • Emergency calls (911) should be reserved for situations where there is an immediate threat to life or property.

Filing a Noise Complaint

When calling the police for a noise complaint, be prepared to provide:

  • Your name and address.
  • The address or description of where the noise is coming from.
  • A description of the noise and its impact on you.


Before calling the police for a noise complaint, it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with your local noise ordinances and consider whether the situation warrants police intervention. Remember that law enforcement resources are limited, and non-emergency issues should be directed to the appropriate non-emergency number.

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