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Turn It Down, or Risk Being Towed

Like your music loud? Careful—a change to Oak Forest's towing ordinance could land you car-less and stranded.

Windows down, hair blowing in the breeze, favorite band filling your car with tunes as you cruise the neighborhood—all's good until someone hears it from 75 feet away. 

aldermen Tuesday approved an amendment to its seizure and impoundment ordinance, stating that drivers playing music that can be heard from 75 feet away are at risk of towing. 

Ald. Rich Simon recently approached Chief Greg Anderson about drivers whose music shakes his windows as they roll by. At an Aug. 28 city council meeting, Anderson asked aldermen to consider revising the city's towing ordinance to include music "disruptive to the peace and tranquility of a community."

Ald. Dan Ensing disputed the revision, noting the degree of violations presently enforced with towing:

  • Possession or delivery of a controlled substance
  • DUI
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked
  • No valid license
  • Unlawful use of a weapon
  • Retail theft
  • Aggravated assault, aggravated battery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, criminal damage to property, or other forcible felony. 

"This ordinance gives us the ability to seize and impound. So we could take a car away from somebody, and make it the city's own, and sell it auction, all because a person's stereo is too loud," Ensing said.

Anderson rebutted Ensing's point, clarifying that a person can post a $500 bond and get their car back immediately. The city does not intend to keep the cars, Anderson said. However, if the person cannnot afford to pay the impound fee, Anderson said he was unsure of what would happen.

The amendment banks on an Illinois statute dealing with sound amplification systems, stating that no driver within the state shall operate or permit operation of a sound amplification system which can be heard from the specified distance. 

Officers could position him or herself on a corner and observe drivers from the specific distance, listening for loud music, Anderson said. The revision does not apply only to sound amplification systems—but to any music.

"I think once the word gets out that we have approved this tough ordinance, a lot of this stuff will cease on its own," said Ald. Rich Simon. 

Officers would use their discretion to determine the repercussion, based on the severity of the offense. 

"It's a relatively minor offense, and the officers are often paying attention to more important things," Anderson said. 

Aldermen present voted 5-to-1 in favor of the revision, with Ald. Ensing dissenting. 

Dave August 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM
@Lauren thanks, I just quickly found the page: Page 53-59 in the PDF form of the packet. Will look later after getting some time at work, but if anyone else wants to read the section, those are the pages it is on.
EMM August 30, 2012 at 01:14 PM
I was kind of joking about my motorcycle, we never ride after dark anyway because there are just too many crazy people on the road. I agree this is getting ridiculous, how much more do they want from our wallets? Another way to "tax" us I guess.
LISA HINES August 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Ruth, the same thing happens next door to me, as well as many more already illegal activities. Oh how I wish they would seize the house AND the occupants !!!
Hamish August 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Yeah you voted against it
GS August 30, 2012 at 02:40 PM
When are we going to vote these people OUT like Obummer! Give us our city and state back! Stop trying to tell all of us what we can and cannot do.
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Nancy So, by your logic, if I am only bothering a few with my activities, it is OK, but if I disturb "a heck of a lot more" that's where the line is drawn. Does that means that if some guy parks in front of YOUR house and thumps his music it would be OK because he is only disturbing a few people? Be serious now. The point is that there already is an ordinance that allows the police to ticket offenders. For the police to be able to impound your vehicle for a minor infraction such as loud music seems like overkill. Speeding is also a minor infraction and is certainly more dangerous than a loud stereo. Do you think it would be appropriate for the police to impound a speeders car? What about those guys that drive around and never use their tun signals? Should they take those cars too? One of the people that lives down the street from me likes to mow their lawn very early on Saturday, every Saturday, and his lawnmower is loud enough to wake my whole family. Impound it? $500.00 to get his mower back? Don't even get me started on his leaf-blower! Impounding a vehicle for the serious offenses listed in the article (DUI, unlawful use of a weapon, and other forcible felonies...) seems appropriate, but, adding loud music to this list seems a bit harsh. I can only hope that one of the aldermen that voted to approve this has a teenager that gets his car impounded and has to pay the $500.00 to get their car back.
Julia August 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I have a feeling you live on Forest Lisa........forget about it though, the cops won't even come out...believe me I have called.
Ruth Ensing August 30, 2012 at 04:31 PM
@hamish - that was the number 1; not the letter "I". @Nancy - a house party with the type of music that is played from a car is just as annoying when done over a prolonged period of time and past the hour that is noted in our present noise ordinance.
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 04:50 PM
nancygrace, My point is that there already is a tool in place to deter people from waking the entire neighborhood. Adding the impound is just another way for the city to make money. If you want your police to have the power to take what they want for MINOR infractions of the law, I suggest that you move to a country where citizens don't have rights. Your disregard for the concerns of others regarding their problems with neighbors being loud shows that you really don't care about anybody else, only yourself. Maybe the police should only patrol in front of your house and finally get that white Ford Explorer. Should they impound it as well? I agree that the OFPD does a pretty good job, what does that have to do with cars being impounded for a very minor offense. As far as knowing what your point was, I think that you summed it up quite well, "While your neighbor may disturb a few with the loud music, a person lurking the town disturbs a heck of a lot more thumping the music down side streets. Lets be serious." So, like you said, if somebody is playing their loud music and only disturbing a few, it's OK but when they disturb more than a few, it's not OK. So I ask again, if somebody parks in front of your house and blasts music, would that be OK because it is "only disturbing a few" or would that be wrong because YOU are one of the few?
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 05:12 PM
nancygrace, Thanks for the suggestion, you will be happy to know that my new hobby will be pointing out how selfish and closed minded you are in your comments on the patch. You seem to have an opinion on just about anything written here and most of the time you seem pretty prejudiced. For example, you advocate tearing down apartments on 159th St., 147th St, and the trailer park on 159th St. because you think all the crime in Oak Forest originates from these places. What about the people that are not criminals that live there? You also tell somebody that is a renter that their opinion doesn't matter because, in your close minded way of thinking, renters somehow don't pay taxes. While it is true that renters don't pay property taxes like a homeowner, I am sure that some of the rent money they pay goes towards the property taxes paid by the landlord. I hope that you meant it when you told Ruth that you were done here. Don't worry about me and my new hobby, I'll find another one.
Jamie Lynn August 30, 2012 at 05:39 PM
@Tired of the B.S. - I couldn't agree with you more!!
LISA HINES August 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Not on Forest, but the police do know the occupants by name. I have spoken to police officials in person, and when I begin my description of concerns- they say, "Oh, you must live on ______ . We know the (neighbors name here) well." They are known in the area as "the hoodlums".
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 07:24 PM
nancygrace aka ivent aka stripes, Thank you for proving my point about how selfish and close-minded you are. I buy my own food and pay the mortgage on my house with the money I earn at my job. I guess I've struck a nerve. It must hurt to see how foolish you make yourself look on a public forum, especially one in your own community. Perhaps if you opened your eyes and saw that other people do exist in this area, people that may not agree with your selfish and close-minded style of thinking, you could stop being so angry at the world. I look forward to your next selfish, close-minded post. This new hobby I found is really keeping me busy.
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 07:40 PM
@Lauren Traut, I find it sad that you decided to delete all of Nancy Grace/ivent posts. By censoring what people write, you can discourage others from voicing their opinions. I did not see where any posts violated Patch terms of use, maybe I'm wrong? I hope that in the future you could let what people write stay on as long as what is written is not in violation of Patch terms of use. Now I have to go find a new hobby.
Lauren Traut (Editor) August 30, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Hi, Tired. I did not delete any comments from Nancy Grace. There is a possibility the user's comments were flagged, or that the user deleted the comments herself. As for ivent, the user did in fact violate our Terms of Use on multiple occasions, and after several polite reminders and repeated misuse of the Patch forum, his user account was suspended. We appreciate and encourage open dialogue on Patch, but there also need to be rules, and it's our job as editors and moderators, to ensure that people follow them. If users run amuck, others might be discouraged from commenting or feel uncomfortable doing so. Thanks for your concern and your contribution. Lauren Traut, Associate Regional Editor
Ruth Ensing August 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Thanks Lauren. The conversation was an intelligent exchange of views. No need for personal attacks or name calling.
Tired of the B.S. August 30, 2012 at 08:17 PM
@Lauren Traut, I'm sorry for thinking that you were the one that deleted those posts. I had my last comment held for review before it was posted so I thought that it was the editor that did the deleting. I apologize again for my mistake. I would like to point out that suspending a user account has no effect on keeping that user from posting. I think that was well proven by Nancy Grace aka ivent aka stripes. I happen to enjoy reading some of the foolishness posted as much as I enjoy the rational discussions that occur here every day. Thank you for clearing up my confusion and now I have to start looking for my new hobby.
phxdr August 31, 2012 at 06:22 AM
I have personally heard the loud systems in the cars and yes it does warrant a ticket. Will the cop take a measuring tape with him/her? Anderson clearly has nothing better to do and neither does the council I am sorry to say. Some of you raise good points on this issue though. Where will this stop? Loud cars? Maybe the owner does not have the money to get it fixed right away. Borderline loud partys? Nice work at the people's republic of oak forest...you Alderman have too much time on your hands and are as bad as Washington and Springfield.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Too bad Julia. It's about time something gets done about these ignorant clowns. Fieldcrest subdivision is loaded with these jerks going by till 2:30 - 3:00 a.m. with subwoofers that vibrate the houses foundation from 3 blocks away. It's either the police do something about it or people like me start blowing their car windows out as they go by. Next, we got to get the police to do something about all the drinking and driving up and down Fieldcrest Drive. There are empty cases and 12 packs of beer thrown out and littering everything and broken beer bottles covering parts of the walking path along side of that road constantly.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 02:58 PM
You must be the laughing girl.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Too bad for you tired of the b.s. We are all tired of people like you disturbing the neighborhoods at night. You don't like it, move out of here.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:03 PM
If you blow by my house late at night with your ignorant music blaring then yes, I will call the police and report your license plate number and you will have your car impounded. Is that a simple enough answer for you? And you are an idiot if you do not call police on those loud late night parties. Probably some drug usage going on there as well the police would like to know about. Ignorant clowns will do what they can until people start to slow them down. Especially here in Oak Forest.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Really Amanda, all the assaults? Where? You live by Little Mexico or something? Sorry, but this noise pollution has gotten out of hand and it needs to be dealt with. My way to deal with it may be a little outside legal means, but the police can do it legally with the law behind them.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:13 PM
The next time I hear somebody talking in a car from 75 feet away will be the first time, unless they are yelling out the car windows. I'm all for this law and I want to see it enforced. You folks who don't like it need to move. Next we need to get a ban on the jokers who park their work trucks at their homes or in the street all night. Time to enforce the ordinance about the ignorant ones who park and totally block the sidewalks in front of their houses also. This particular problem along with the super loud subwoofers on the car stereos are 2 particular problems that are out of control in the Fieldcrest neighborhood, and I am going to stay on city halls' back until something is done about both. Even if I need to run for alderman of this area to get something done.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Too may people like you GS in Oak Forest. All doing what the hell they want to do regardless of the fact that it may disturb large areas of neighborhoods at late hours. Time to reel in the likes of you.
Jim McBob November 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Go find a life while you're at it Mr. B.S.
Tired of the B.S. November 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Jim McBob Why is it too bad for me? I don't have an insanely loud stereo system in my car . I will never have to worry about my car being impounded for a noise violation. If you had some common sense, you would see that this is just another way to tax people. I don't have this problem in my neighborhood, mostly because my neighbors and I will and have stopped the loud cars and let the drivers know that we don't allow that in our neighborhood. We don't call the police, they have better things to do. Maybe you should try being more of a man and quit whining like a little girl.
Jim Peterman November 15, 2012 at 03:17 AM
JMB you missed the point. They should address noise issues at night, not during the day. If you want it quiet 24/7, you should have not moved to a suburb of Chicago but maybe a little farther away like on a farm. 75 feet is not that far either. I can hear the quietest of cars going down the street from my backyard just from the noise their tires make on the roadway.
Tired of the B.S. November 15, 2012 at 04:26 AM
@jim mcbob I already have a wonderful life. I think you are an angry person that has to come here to feel important. You have done noting but whine about things that you will never do anything about and make empty threats about taking down license plate numbers to give to the police. Guess what, the police cannot impound a car because you give them a plate number, that is not how it works. It is people like you that can ruin a neighborhood with your little girl whining. Why don't you actually do something about this horrible problem that you seem to have instead of just complaining and making idle threats.
george March 02, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Well maybe we as the rightous can put out spike strips, and attack these kids and beat them up. Maybe the police can put up road blocks and make people turn there radios all the way up, seize all the cars, then get money from the cab companies to drive them home. Next house parties, then I dont like his kind in my neighborhood. All the "good" people can wear um arm band so we know whos good.

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