Weekend car show revs nearby tempers

Oct. 01, 2013 @ 09:17 PM

A weekend car show in northern Durham sparked complaints of loud noise and reckless driving by passers-by, resulting in multiple police visits but no arrests or citations.

“[Sunday] night, there was a GIANT party raging in the parking lot of the barbershop and cafeteria at the corner of Murray Avenue and Roxboro Street,” one person wrote in an online posting. “Hundreds of people, loud music, complete disregard for the sanctity of the surrounding neighborhoods.”

About 8 p.m., according to the writer, the party became more unruly and degenerated into a venue for drag racing and “more hot-dogging with the cars and motorcycles.”

“The police reported that they had received multiple calls about the party, but from what I could see, nothing was done to break the party up. Do police expect the law-abiding taxpayers of Northgate Park and Colonial Village to just accept this as a new feature of the neighborhood?”

Another posting from a resident on nearby Lavender Avenue in Bragtown also complained about the “drag racing party,” speeding and loud noise.

“It is very disturbing that police apparently chose not to put a stop to the Sunday night event, even though they were clearly disturbing the peace and endangering others with their on-street actions,” she wrote.

But in a posting to members of PAC2 (Partners Against Crime), Capt. Sharon Barringer of the Durham Police Department said that officers made repeated visits to the area in response to calls, which continued from 6:37 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

According to Barringer, the calls were prompted by a car show at the Community Barbershop on Roxboro Street.

“We responded to noise complaints, careless and reckless calls and other nuisance calls for service,” Barringer wrote.

She said police responded each time they were called.

“The event owner understands the complaints, but does not feel responsible for actions of the people in attendance,” Barringer wrote. “According to the event owner, as unrelated Roxboro Road drivers passed by, they saw the cars and turned up their music.”

When officers arrived, Barringer said, they heard music, but it suddenly stopped, hindering them from identifying the source and “making enforcement action impossible.”

“Every time they arrived, they could not find violations at the gathering,” Barringer said. “After talking to the person who was in charge, and observing the activity of those on the scene, it did not appear as if these spectators were the ones ‘doing donuts’ and playing the loud music.”

Barringer said commanders have researched ways to prevent similar incidents, and plan to partner with the city’s Planning Division to determine when a permit is required for car shows and other large events.

She said police require a permit when a street or right of way is closed, or if the event is on city property, adding that the Planning Department requires a temporary-use permit for large parties and events.

“We were told that a private party on private property may not need a permit, but a car show would need one.”

“This does not seem to be common knowledge, as events often occur without a permit,” Barringer added. “The only resource the Durham Police Department has is to refer the lack of permit violation to the Planning Department. They would have to speak with the person holding the party/event.”

But Barringer said police can enforce any criminal act such as excessive noise and reckless driving.

She said police will forward information about the car show to the Planning Department, which will contact the barbershop about requirements for future events.