The Hamilton Spectator

Police no longer responding to ‘nuisance’ noise complaints


Hamilton police will no longer respond to noise complaints unless they pose a threat to public safety.

As of Jan. 1, police have stopped participat­ing in a joint enforcemen­t project that paired a police officer with a municipal law enforcemen­t officer to respond to overnight calls.

The program, launched in 2015, was scrapped at the start of the year, according to a city update to council in December.

“Like all organizati­ons across the country, the Hamilton police are experienci­ng pressures, challenges with staffing and in order to maintain adequate service delivery … we’ve basically had to realign our resources,” said deputy police chief Paul Hamilton.

Hamilton said shifts were understaff­ed 60 per cent of the time in 2022, compromisi­ng safety for officers and the public.

Now, bylaw officers will respond to calls from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. yearround on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as on Thursdays during the summer months (May to September) the city says. Previously, a team of officers would respond between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The update says a 2008 consultant’s report recommende­d bylaw officers not respond to noise complaints after 1 a.m. for “safety reasons.”

“It was found that majority of noise calls beyond this time required police involvemen­t,” the update reads.

This means calls not posing a threat to public safety that come in after 1 a.m. will be followed up on the next day, city spokespers­on Michelle Shantz said in an email. Residents can also leave noise complaints with the city during business hours from Monday to Friday.

Shantz said the city appreciate­s police’s need to prioritize calls where lives and property are at risk.

In 2022, the joint enforcemen­t team responded to a total of 935 calls, more than half of them in the summer months.

Shantz said the city will be “monitoring the need for additional officers.”

Hamilton said police will continue to answer calls where public safety is a concern, such as an “outof-control party,” and when bylaw requests assistance.

But “nuisance” complaints will be left to bylaw.

“A dog barking in a backyard at 12 o’clock at night will not get a police response,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada