Noise citations in Rohnert Park increase with school in session

Unique to Rohnert Park, 120 day notices are given out more often than not when gatherings get too loud. Changes that made the notices more strict in the past 5 years caused first response notices and calls for service to drop dramatically from 2013 to 2018.

In 2011, 120 day notices were just 60 day notices, but supposedly student parties were out of control and in 2013, city council members voted to increase the number of days of the citation to 120 days. Sgt. Aaron Johnson of Rohnert Park Public Safety shares that “Residents often feel we are “targeting” their gatherings.  Actually, we respond when called by a neighbor or someone else who is bothered by the noise of the gathering.” 

People recieve a 120 day notice after hosting an unruly gathering. Doing so again will directly result in a $500 fine. The notice mandates that it is posted somewhere visible on the residence, according to Johnson. 

In addition, “There is no fine on the initial posting of the notice.  If the notice is removed prior to 120 days there is a $100 reposting fine; other fines are $500 for the first response after a notice is posted, $750 the second and $1,000 for each one after that until the notice expires.” Hosts generally have 30 days to pay the fines. 

An article on the Press Democrat by Jeremy Hay when the law came about said, “The council’s unanimous 3-0 vote came in front of a roomful of city residents and Sonoma State University students, who former Public Safety Director Brian Masterson said are the chief source of the rowdy party problem.” In addition, “‘Students have a short-term interest in the community; residents have a long-term interest. Students have to understand that,” said James Christmann, an SSU biology professor and city resident. 120 days have been keeping students from throwing unruly and loud parties since the rules of the citation increased in 2013.

First response notices have dropped dramatically since 2013, according to data provided by Rohnert Park Public Safety. The data shows that from 2011-2013 there were exactly 446 first response notices issued, a three year period, which is nearly as much as the number of notices issued over the past five years.

120 day notices are given out more frequently in the months of August and September, which is when school is back in session. The number of citations given out is significantly higher in the first two months of school for all years from 2011 until 2018. 

Although the number of calls for service has dropped since the 2013 increase of days in the notice, the numbers remain significantly higher during the first two months of school.

Sgt. Johnson said, “Most notices are issued on the weekends.” He also said that they do not keep statistics regarding 120 day notices and Greek organizations in Rohnert Park, so he doesn’t know if this problem affects Greek Life more.