This is a story that needs to be told. On Sunday, the NYPD quietly announced that their fleet of patrol cars are being upgraded with "The Rumbler" a powerful siren that can be heard and felt. Here is now the news media is generally reporting it:
NYPD car sirens to vibrate
Here is what they are not reporting:
The vibrations can be heard and felt up to 200 feet away and can travel right through glass and solid objects. According to its manufacturer Federal Signal Corporation, the siren "have the distinct advantage of penetrating and shaking solid materials allowing vehicle operators and nearby pedestrians to FEEL the sound waves, and perhaps even see their effects through a shaking rearview mirror."
In other words, this ear-splitting noise will be heard and felt by motorists, pedestrians and people in their own homes and apartments at a level that can cause permanent hearing damage (the company even advises operators to wear hearing protection) and seriously disrupt their lives and ability to sleep at night. The NYPD purchased and installed the equipment with no oversight, no public hearings, and with no evident liability for the massive noise pollution they are about to inflict on New Yorkers, all in the name of public safety.
The media and legislators are not asking critical questions and New Yorkers are going to pay for that when the sirens are in widespread use by the police. People assume that noise pollution is an irritant or an annoyance, but noise pollution is a public health issue and it is adversely affecting residents. For people who live near any of the dozens of police precincts around the city and the boroughs, this is going to be an acoustic nightmare.
The NoiseOFF website has a section on The Rumbler to serve as a warning about the unintended consequences on this technology. You can see it here (you can also download the company product sell-sheet to see how this is marketed to police departments nationwide):
The comments above are my own and you can quote me.
P.S., NoiseOFF.org was founded in Astoria, Queens -- the perfect storm of urban noise pollution.