City cracks down on off campus 'party houses'

The city attorney and the Providence Police say they want residents to enjoy peace and quiet in local neighborhoods, so they've launched a renewed effort to crack down on crowded, loud, disruptive off-campus parties by enforcing a new ordinance.

The city is ramping up its enforcement of the new 'orange sticker' ordinance.

A huge, rectangular orange stickers on a home in the area, means the house or apartment unit has been documented, by police, to have thrown at least one loud, overcrowded party and are they are on notice with the city that if they do it again, there will be consequences.

"That sticker is to let them know that they're on our radar, that we're going to pay attention to them, and it's not going to happen again without some ramification to them," said Providence City Solicitor Jeffrey Padwa.

Once an orange sticker is placed on the home, both the landlord and tenants are warned about the next step should another violation occur.

Padwa said, "When the sticker goes on, it's to remain on for six months. If it's removed before the six months is up, it's a $100. fine to the tenants, or the landlord, and if there is a violation, another loud party within the six month period, there's a fine of up to $500.

"Our goal is to get the landlords to be responsible. If their tenants are being unreasonable, they're being loud and disruptive to the neighbors, then the landlord should step in and talk to them, and either get them to cooperate or evict them because they're disturbing the neighbors and that's just not fair," he said.

NBC 10 attempted to speak with the residents of the apartment at 236 Oakland Avenue, which is branded with one of the large, orange stickers. But no one came to the door.

The Providence orange sticker campaign is modeled after a similar ordinance being enforced in Narragansett to quell off campus URI parties, and Padwa says so far, the effort seems to be having the desired effect.

"There are several reasons I believe its working. First off only one out of six (homes that have been marked with a sticker) has had a repeat party, and I have read an account in the Brown Daily Herald, as well as in social media where some students have expressed that they 'feel the pressure of the attention,' and that they 'feel it's cramping their partying style,' which to me is a good thing."

But not everyone thinks the orange stickers accomplish the goal of cutting down on loud parties.

A resident of the Oakland Avenue neighborhood who did not want to be identified told NBC10, "No, I don't believe it works, because like this house right here, if they have an orange sticker, they're not going to throw another party, but you can keep going down the line until every house gets an orange sticker and 11 weeks later, there's 11 parties, and 11 orange stickers. It doesn't stop the parties; it just moves them down the street."

NBC10 met two female students who disagree. They think the orange stickers are effective, but are 'not fair.'

The college student didn't want to reveal her name but told NBC10, "I would say it works, but I would say it's ridiculous. It's not fair because we live off campus, we should be able to do what we want off campus. Like, as long as no one gets hurt, like it's none of their businesses if we're off campus. We're off campus for a reason."

When asked if she ever felt bad for the people with small children who may live nearby, the student responded by saying, "Well, they know that college kids live around here, so if they live around here they know what they're getting themselves into."

Padwa says a total of six orange stickers have been put on front doors here in Providence so far, and of those six, three were placed on homes owned by the same landlord, Bob McCann who lives in East Greenwich.

NBC10 did try to speak with McCann at his house, but his daughter told NBC10 he was out for the evening, and so far, he hasn't called the number NBC10 left for him.