What can you do if a car alarm is going off and the owner isn't around? (need answer fast)

There’s a car alarm going off outside in my apartment’s parking lot. So far it’s been going off for about fifteen minutes.

While the noise doesn’t bother me, it does raise an interesting question: What happens if a car alarm just keeps going? What can anyone else do if the owner isn’t around or doesn’t know about it for a long time?

ETA: This is under the guise that either the owner cannot be reached/found or the fact that nobody knows who the owner is.

You could call the cops but they won’t do anything. I will be interested if anyone replies with a legal method that resolved the situation in a timely manor in an actual case of an annoying car alarm.

A legal method? You wait for the battery to die while wishing horrific tortures upon the owner.

Sledgehammer. There’s not a jury in the world that will convict.

On a more serious note, could the car owner potentially be fined for violating noise bylaws?

Remember when Viper car alarms would yell at you? “Protected by Viper back off!” There was a car parked outside my apartment back in the day. It would go off in a stiff breeze. I always wanted to write “Woken by viper. fuck off!” on a piece of paper and attach this paper to a cinder block and throw it through the wind shield of the car.

There was a car parked in our apartment’s parking lot a few weeks ago that would go off every day, and it would stay on for hours. Fucking annoying as all get-out. And to make it worse, it happened to be right behind my unit so I probably heard it the loudest. It was there 2 or 3 days before the building manager finally had it towed. (first they tried to locate the owner but couldn’t, as it wasn’t one of the residents’ cars. It was parked in the “guest” space)

So if it’s in your apartment building’s lot, the first step is to tell the manager(s). If they can’t locate the owner, it needs to be towed.

There’s really nothing that’s technically legal that you can do. Non-harmfully yet illegally, if it’s the kind of older car where you can get under the hood without getting into the car, I suggest disconnecting the battery cable. You’d be doing the owner a favor, as the alarm wouldn’t then be running the battery down.

I remember a poster posting here about one going off FOR DAYS.

Legally, you cant do a damn thing. You/the property owner “might” be able to have it towed away.

In the posters situation, it got so bad they even sent a cop to protect the damn car as it blared for days.

If you are desperate, get under the car and start ripping out wires that might lead to the battery or horn. Of course this IS illegal and destruction of property. How desperate are you? At the very least, do like OJ and wear gloves that dont fit when you do this.


Please don’t advocate illegal activity on the SDMB. Let’s stick to legal courses of action, if any. No warning issued.

General Questions Moderator

Have it towed, if the tow company agrees to tow it you are not liable in anyway they are.

It finally stopped after about 45 minutes. Owner was probably in the shower or something.
Thank goodness, though. It wasn’t one of those intermitten beeping/honking ones…it was one of those constant, steady “Ooooowweeeooooooweeeeoooooooweeeeoooooooweeeooooooooweeoooooooo…”

Our apartment doesn’t have a manager on site 24 hours…the office closes at five and everyone’s gone home by five thirty. There is an emergency maintenance number, though, but I doubt they’d do anything.

Thanks for the answers, though.

Luckily, we don’t have too many people who set car alarms around here.

Back when I was living in California, I was awakened by a car alarm right outside my apartment bedroom window. The second time it happened, I wrote a note and placed it on the windshield: I just said, “This car alarm has awakened me twice in the middle of the night. Don’t let there be a third time.” Happily, there wasn’t.

I detest car alarms. There’s so many of them in heavily-populated areas that they basically get ignored, and few owners stay close enough to their cars to deal with it anyway. They serve only to annoy.

The Simi Valley solution. There’s a lot of people around here who wanted to buy that guy a beer.

Call the cops but don’t tell them the alarm is unattended. Tell them you see people lurking around the car and it’s going off.

If the cops leave, call them back, and say “I see someone coming back for the car”

You don’t have to state nothing exactly. For instance, “I’ve heard there’s a lot of drugs being dealt here lately, maybe this is an attempt to distract the cops. Who owns this car.”

So the cops leave, dial the cops again, “They’re back some guys in ski masks, they must be hiding and watching for the police.”

Appear conserned and not a jerk and the cops will get sick of it fast enough and actually DO something about it.

This is not a police problem, and I’m not sure that a deception intended to waste police time and divert them from dealing with, you know, actual crimes is altogether justified.

Break the window with a hammer, open the door, pop the hood and disconnect the battery. Defend the resulting criminal charge by pointing out that you are entitled to take reasonable steps to abate a niusance, and that if the idiot hadn’t locked his car you could have done it without any damage at all. If he chooses to leave a noise-emitting niusance in a public place, and then to lock it so that it can;t be dealt with without damage, shouldn’t he have to accept the cosequences?

Course, you’ll probably still be convicted, but you will feel so much more self-righteous than if you were convicted of wasting police time.

According to the movie twins, lifting the front up to about a 30 degree angle will shut it off. :slight_smile:

And if the car is subsequently stolen, the owner would have a claim against you for the value of the car.

I’ve never really investigated the matter since I’ve never owned a car alarm, but surely there must be some municipalities that have adopted ordinances to deal with this issue. It just stands to reason that this must be the case. Therefore, there must be places where it is a police matter. I’ll look into it in the morning and see what I can find.

Unless your town has made an ordinance for this your likely out of luck. I believe on this board somebody was writing about a car alarm that had been going off for hours and the cops stood guard over it so the residents wouldn’t damage the car to stop it. It had gone on until the battery died.

I recall it literally being DAYS, and I think a weekend to boot making it even more aggravating, because the poster was amazed the battery would last that long.

That would be a good post for someone to dig up. Between my lack of search foo, my flakey computer, and the board’s sick hamster, I aint trying that one.

I would also think some town somewhere (and hopefully one day all of em) has passed a law to the effect : if that alarm has been running more than an hour (or whatever), the police or tow company can take all reasonable measures to shut it down or move it out, regardless of where its parked.