Neighborhood Residents Complain of Loud Church Services
BROWNSVILLE – Some Cameron County residents said they're growing fed up with a loud church service taking place in their neighborhood.
They said the sheriff’s department can’t help them.
Luis De La Rosa uses property on the outskirts of Brownsville to come together with other people he knows to pray.
“We’re not here to cause any damage or interrupt anyone. We’re here trying to worship God in our own space,” he said. “We worship God and have some speakers and, of course, we sing. We have a little bit of instruments,” he said.
Neighbor Laura Velez said the issue started about six months ago.
“It’s just been literally living in hell,” she said. “Very loud, very offensive and they just don’t stop.”
“The way that we feel it is it has nothing that has to do with the noise. It’s the message that’s affecting because in reality, we’re not disturbing the peace. All we are doing is bringing a message to the community,” De la Rosa said.
Another neighbor said it isn’t that the church is in the neighborhood, “It’s just the noise. It’s the noise.”
They said the noise keeps them inside during the day and up at night. They’ve called the sheriff’s department, filed reports, and even wrote letters to their commissioner. They said it doesn’t stop.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS measured the sound level. It peaked at 80 decibels. And that may seem loud to some, but it’s under the illegal limit of 85 decibels.
“That’s the state law because that’s what it is. You really are disturbing the peace,” Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said.
He said he’s already fined De La Rosa $500.
But neighbors said it hasn’t stopped the noise.
“We call the police, they come over. By the time they get here, they lower it and then they leave after we make our reports. And they tell them to lower it. After they leave, out of spite, they do it even louder,” Velez said.
Lucio said the issue is by the time they get there, the noise is turned down so they don’t have any evidence.
“If he continues to do it and we get over there in time and if it’s over past eight point five, he’ll probably be given a citation and eventually arrested,” Lucio said.
When we asked De La Rosa, he told us they were trying to keep it down.
“We close around 8:30, 9:00 would be too late,” he said.
“Their voices and their screaming, I mean, put 30 people together, chanting like that, it’s going to do something to your mind, you know,” Velez said.
De La Rosa said he means no harm.
Cameron County does not have a noise ordinance itself, that’s why they follow state law. The neighbors are collecting letters they plan to take before a county commissioner. They said they were supposed to meet with the commissioner on Monday, but it’s been moved to Tuesday.
Lucio said if the problem persists they could go before a justice of the peace to file a complaint.