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Geneva officials crack down on noise violations

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Geneva officials crack down on noise violations
Geneva is stiffening penalties for faulty silencers. Photo: AFP
08:45 CEST+02:00
The canton of Geneva is declaring war on rowdiness and noise in public areas by hiking fines for violators in some cases more than sixfold, law enforcement officials announced on Monday.

Noise bylaw fines which ranged from 50 to 150 francs have increased up to 1,000 francs depending on the specific offence.

“Someone who shouts in the street, that will be 150 francs,” Olivier Jornot, Geneva's attorney general said at a press conference, 20 Minutes newspaper reported.

“If it's a complete neighbourhood that is woken up by (car) horns, we will go rather to around 300 or 1,000 francs,” Jornot said.

In the case of a sporting event, merrymaking will be tolerated for an hour afterward but on a case-by-case basis, police said.

Drivers of motor vehicles with noisy mufflers (silencers) that do not meet regulations, meanwhile, face a fine of 500 francs, up from a previous ticket of 50 to 100 francs.

The changes announced are part of an overhaul of fines that have remained unchanged since 1996 for violations of cantonal bylaws. 

Noise is an “incivility that bothers three-quarters of the population,” Geneva police chief Monica Bonfanti was reporting as saying by the ATS news agency.

Noise-related issues result in more than 6,000 police responses a year, an average of 17 a day, Bonfanti said.

Fines are being raised an average 20 percent for contraventions, officials said, although some are increasing significantly more.

The penalty for motorists crossing a solid line on a road is now 500 francs, up from 120 francs.

Jornot said the canton was “hitting harder” motorists who are a nuisance to public transport, ATS reported.

For example, the owner of a vehicle parked in a bus lane now faces a 240-franc fine, double the previous penalty.

The attorney general said the canton was trying to update areas where Geneva had been lax in dealing with violations.

That includes the possession of illicit arms, such as Tasers, throwing knives and Ninja stars (a kind of throwing weapon incorporating sharp blades).

This used to be a ticketable violation but it is now regarded as a more serious offence requiring a police report to the public prosecutor's office

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