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I was up all night because of a car alarm that wouldn't stop going off right outside my apartment. Short of egging the car out of frustration, what can I do?

Seth, Cobble Hill

Is there anything as ineffective as a car alarm in New York City? When's the last time you heard a car alarm go off and then saw dozens of concerned New Yorkers rushing to the scene in order to scare off a would-be car thief?

If an alarm is going off on your block, call 311 and tell them you have a noise complaint. Because it is a car alarm and not, say, noisy neighbors or someone on the street with a boombox, the operator will most likely transfer you to 911 and dispatch the police to check on the car. This happened on our block recently and our call resulted in the alarm going silent within 30 minutes.

If you'd like to do more, Transportation Alternatives has organized a campaign to ban car alarms. This Thursday, June 10, the City Council is considering a bill that would ban the sale and installation of new alarm sirens in cars. Transportation Alternatives is encouraging people to testify at this hearing to call for a bigger ban on all car alarms, new and old. Since the alarm in your neighborhood most likely prevented sleep and not a theft, your situation might make for some good testimony.