NJ leaders ask Philly mayor to crack down on 'boom car parties' along the Delaware River

Residents say they can't sleep and sometimes it causes their homes to shake.

Leland Pinder Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
NJ leaders ask Philly mayor to crack down on 'boom car parties'
NJ leaders ask Philly mayor to crack down on 'boom car parties' along the Delaware River

PALMYRA, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Commissioners in Burlington County, New Jersey, along with the sheriff and a state Senator, sent a letter to Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker asking for the city to crack down on "boom car parties."

Burlington County residents say the parties are held at locations along the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The loud music then travels across the water and can be heard in towns like Palmyra, Riverton, Cinnaminson and others.

Residents say they can't sleep and sometimes it causes their homes to shake.

"I do believe that the quality of life initiatives that Mayor Parker has initiated, this is a natural extension of those initiatives and our hope is that, with a fresh look at it, we can work together to really put a stamp on and put our foot down on these parties," said NJ State Senator Troy Singleton.

"It's really ruining some of the quality life that we all hold dear both for my residents in Burlington County, but also Camden County, Gloucester County as well, and the residents of Northeast Philadelphia."

RELATED: Residents along Delaware River fed up with loud 'boom parties' in Philadelphia

"It will wake you up out of a dead sleep, but it's just that constant bass," said Westville neighbor Jeff Stefan of the loud Philadelphia parties that can be heard across the Delaware River.

"It's not fair to us on this side of the river who are just trying to enjoy a nice summer night outside, or when the kids have school the next morning," said Allison Fullerton, of Riverton. "They can last anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours."

Tom Bell, of Palmyra, says the music can be heard anytime during the week, but it gets really disruptive on the weekends.

"Even with the windows down and your air conditioning on, you can still hear the boom, boom, boom," Bell said.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Mike Driscoll is aware some of these "boom car parties" are happening in his district. Last year, a city ordinance was passed that allows officers to seize vehicles or fine owners $2,000.

"I gave the Kenney administration and now the Parker administration a memorialized ordinance that addresses this issue. Now it's about enforcement. It's 100% enforcement," Driscoll said.

"I don't want anyone to get a $2,000 fine or their vehicle seized, but that's the only way we're going to get their attention."

Action News spoke with a man who outfits so-called "boom cars." Miguel Espinal said the installation can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 depending on the car and how large the speakers are.

There's also a lot of electrical work required.

Espinal says after such a large financial investment, customers want to show off the work that's been done to their vehicle.

Another man said the "boom car parties" are about building community and are often social gatherings for the Hispanic community.

"I'm looking for a spot for putting my music out, celebrate for the family, everything is a happy day," said Juan Balaio.

The men say they even gather in the daytime to accommodate complaints they've received and they're seeking a place and time where they can enjoy their events without being a disruption to others.

"5 p.m. to 10 p.m. I don't want to play music late. I want to play music early. I want a day a week, one day a week is fine. One day -- Saturday or Sunday -- and one time that's perfect for everybody," said Espinal.

The men do admit they are concerned about their cars being taken or being fined.

"They're disturbing people on this side of the river and that side of the river and it has to stop," said Driscoll. "My pledge is, we've already passed this ordinance, I will continue to ask the administration and the police commissioner to really enforce the law that's on the books."

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the mayor said Philadelphia always wants to be a good neighbor.

Philadelphia police also released the following statement:

"The Philadelphia Police Department takes Quality of Life issues seriously, including "Boom Parties" and "Boom Cars," and will continue to work to address these issues. Mayor Parker and Commissioner Bethel, who both began their roles in January of this year, are deeply committed to enforcing quality of life issues in our city - including issues that affect our friends and neighbors across the river. Under PC Bethel's leadership, the PPD is utilizing all available tools to mitigate this problem, and our Commissioner is particularly dedicated to tackling quality of life concerns across the city. A collaboration between the Philadelphia Police Department, the Department of Parks and Recreation, law enforcement partners from New Jersey, and elected officials from all impacted communities has been in effect for several years. Make no mistake - this issue has impacted communities on both sides of the river, and the collaboration process has streamlined communication between law enforcement entities for a more timely response. This issue affects multiple gathering locations throughout Philadelphia and various points in New Jersey. In a commitment to addressing these quality of life issues, under the direction of Philadelphia Police leadership, dedicated resources (officers) are tasked with the targeted mission of focused patrols of known chronic nuisance gathering spots and engaging in enforcement efforts against those involved in nuisance behavior. These gatherings also attract a significant number of ATVs/dirt bike activities that contribute to nuisance behavior and quality of life issues. This factor contributes to a more mobile nuisance problem, and we will be fluid in our response to areas as they arise. We encourage residents to continue calling into their local district operations rooms and provide as much information as they can about the areas they believe the noise is coming from. Our police district captains are dedicated to alleviating these issues, and under Commissioner Bethel's leadership, we are working on new strategies to mitigate these problems. We recognize and understand the frustration felt by residents, and we will continue to address this and other Quality of Life issues. We look forward to bringing long-awaited relief to community members-on both sides of the river-who are affected by this issue."