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311 noise complaints on the rise in Washington Heights, Inwood

Despite responding to 230,000 complaints in the city over five years, the Department of Environmental Protection only handed out 6,000 violations.

Washington Heights is among the city's noisiest neighborhoods,

Washington Heights is among the city's noisiest neighborhoods, according to a recent study of 311 noise complaints. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

New Yorkers are making a lot of noise about noise.

There were 1.6 million noise complaints made to 311 between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report released Monday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

“Noise in New York City is a significant quality of life and public health concern,” DiNapoli said. “The city has a model noise code and should be commended for taking steps to better enforce local law, but there is more that city agencies can do to control noise disruptions.”

The study showed residents of Community Board 12 in Manhattan, which includes Washington Heights and Inwood, called 311 most often followed by Community Board 10 in Central Harlem and Community Boards 4 and 5 in Chelsea and the Midtown Business District.

Most of the noise complaints out of Community Board 12 were about neighbors, with overall complaints ballooning from about 9,500 in 2010 to more than 23,000 in 2015 for a total over 88,000. That’s about 82 calls per 1,000 adults per year.

The fewest complaints came from Community Board 11 in Queens, which includes Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.

DiNapoli said all those calls to 311 brought little relief to New Yorkers. During that time period, the city Department of Environmental Protection — which handles noises caused by construction, ice cream trucks and animals, among other things — looked into 230,000 complaints and handed out less than 6,000 violations, the report said.

And the NYPD investigated 1.3 million complaints, according to the report, resulting in 791 arrests and 5,482 summonses. The NYPD is usually called in when the complaint is party and people noise as well as idling vehicles.

The report points out many complaints are made about the same locations.

“As the city continues to grow, construction noise has increased at the same time and enforcement has been focused on the worst offenders to make the city more livable,” according to DEP spokesman Edward Timbers. “Earlier this month, the Mayor signed Council legislation that empowers inspectors with new tools to aid in enforcement of the City’s noise code on weekends and after hours. We look forward to reviewing the findings in the Comptroller’s report.”

DiNapoli’s office has previously conducted two noise-related audits to highlight issues with enforcement. One was focused on construction noise and the other on nightlife noise.

Officials from Community Board 12 declined to comment on the report.

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