How to file a noise complaint in Oklahoma City

Reasonable. That seems to be the key concept of the Oklahoma City noise ordinance, and what you can expect the police to look for if you ever call in with a noise complaint.

Like it or not, sound is an inescapable part of life. Even alone in the most desolate place in the world you most likely will hear the sigh of the wind or the song of a bird. Or the beat of your own heart and your breathing will shatter the silence.

But at a certain level, pitch and duration, sound becomes noise, which is unpleasant by definition. Where to draw that line is what’s tricky. What’s a normal and acceptable sound, and what’s noise?

Personally, I think noise is too much man-made sound, whether it comes from a single source, like the neighbor’s stereo, or multiple sources, like the traffic and horns and loud conversation and construction in the city and more, that combine on a sunny summer day in a busy downtown urban area.

I also think that OKC’s noise ordinance successfully separates the acceptable from the unacceptable. And I say this not based on just reading the law, but also based on two real-life examples in which the Oklahoma City responded to noise complaints. These involved a lawn mowing incident and the other a sidewalk drummer. Both cases interesting in their own way. More on them later.

Oklahoma City’s Noise Ordinance

Chapter 34 – Section 1 of the ordinance states, in part, that:

(1) “…the making, creation or maintenance of such excessive, unnecessary, unnatural or unusual noise, prolonged in time, place and use, affects and is a detriment to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity of the residents of the City;”

The ordinance sets objective boundaries of acceptable noise based on the zoning location, decibels, and time of day. The quieter time is between 10p.m. and 7a.m. Decibels must be measured with a specified sound meter. The EPA recommends maintaining environmental noises below 70 dBA over 24 hours (75 dBA over 8 hours) to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

Prohibitions include:

  • Fireworks, horns, whistles, sirens, firearms, and explosives except as required in an emergency.
  • Radios, television equipment, electronic audio equipment, musical instruments, and similar devices.
    • if plainly audible within any dwelling unit which is not the source of the sound; or
    • on public property or on a public right-of-way to be plainly audible 50 feet or more from such device, except as authorized by a permit.
  • Boisterous, belligerent, or clamorous noisemaking. Shouting, carousing, singing, or other prolonged noisemaking.

Anyone wanting or needing to produce noise that would fall under these prohibitions needs to apply for a special permit. The permit will be granted if enough justification is provided, with the exception of noise sensitive zones. In these cases the Oklahoma City noise ordinance states that:

…500 feet of any school, other such institution of learning, church, hospital, convalescent hospital or mass-care home, hotel or motel, or court of law, so designated by outdoor signage, is prohibited during the facility’s hours of operation and noise permits shall not be issued for such areas during the facility’s hours of operation.

The ordinance also has a say about places of public entertainment, such as fairs, concerts, etc. Any such event operating a loudspeaker or sound amplifier which might cause a noise disturbance, must display a legible sign posted at or within five feet of each public entrance that states:


Something similar to this:

If any of the above restrictions are violated, the code enforcement officer may issue an order of abatement or citation which is punishable by a fine for each day of the violation.

How to file a noise complaint in Oklahoma City

This will depend on what kind of noise you want to complain about.

As usual, I must start by highlighting that, if you hear noises that lead you to believe that a crime is being committed or that someone is in danger, you should call 911 immediately.

General noise complains in OKC

OKC maintains an Action Center for citizen complaints of code violations. If there is not other specific department to handle the type of noise you want to complain about, or if you are unsure who to contact, the Action Center is the best place to start.

I must say the OKC Action Center seems very approachable. They offer a lot of options to contact them, including social media.


Phone: (405) 297-2535 Monday through Friday between 8:30–11:45 a.m. and 1–4:30 p.m.

Text: (405) 252-1053 including the address or closest intersection and a detailed description of the issue and photos if possible Text messages are monitored Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 

Twitter: @okcaction Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m

App: You can also download the OKC Connect app on your phone. The app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

Complaining about commercial noise

If you want to complain about commercial noise, you can do so directly on the OKC website


All you need to do is go to the action center, click on “report” on the left menu, then type “noise” on the search bar and click on “commercial noise”.

You will be asked to provide a description of the disturbance and will have the option to attach photos if appropriate before submitting your case.

Complain about animal related noise

If you want to file a complaint related to noise disturbances caused by animals, such as dog barking, or others, you should call OKC Animal Control’s dedicated number for barking dog complaints is 405-297-3100.

Complain about a noisy Airbnb rental

If you need to complain about a noisy Airbnb rental your best shot is to contact Airbnb directly. Believe it or not they have a business interest in solving any issues between guest staying at properties listed on their platform and full-time neighbors like yourself.

We have an entire article dedicated to this, and if you follow the right steps they will start working on your case right away.

Nuisance or Street noise complaint

To file a nuisance noise or street noise complaint, you can call the OKC police non-emergency line at 405-231-2121.

Do not expect a rapid response as the police often are busy with more serious issues, especially if it has not happened before. However, you should report the nuisance. If it happens repeatedly, the police are more apt to respond promptly.

It always is a good idea to try to talk to the neighbor first. He or she may invite you to the party or apologize and turn down the music.

In the event of regular street noise, you may want to talk to your representative on City Council who will have more clout with the business owner. You can be reasonably sure that others also have complained.  

Noise ordinance enforcement in OKC

The media reported the OKC police department’s enforcement of the city’s noise control ordinance twice in the last few years. They both illustrate the subjectivity involved in distinguishing sound from noise.

Mowing the lawn at 4:30am

The first occurred in a suburban area of OKC. As reported by the Oklahoman newspaper, a neighbor complained about the noise of a man mowing his lawn at 4:30 a.m.

Under the OKC ordinance, the sound of a lawn mower does not have the decibels to be considered noise. However, the mower noise could be considered unreasonable and unnecessary given the time and place.

Although it is not reported, I suspect that the officer probably requested the man to desist and, if he had, that would have been the end of it. However, according to the newspaper, the man ” ‘continued to cuss and yell’ ” at the officer and wound up handcuffed in the back of the squad car. She wrote him a citation for violating the noise ordinance and released him. He faced a possible fine of $500. The result of his appearance before the judge is unknown.

Playing drums on the sidewalk

The second occurred in 2019 in South OKC. Here is the story as told by the police department and Officer Ross.

Last Friday, our officers were called to a loud noise complaint in south OKC. When they got there, they found a man set up playing drums. Officer Nate Ross was the first to arrive. He chatted with the man, explaining that they had been called there because someone was complaining that the music was too loud. Little did anyone know that Officer Ross used to play the drums back in the day. Someone happened to capture Ross sitting down, showing them how it was done.

When asked about this call, Officer Ross said, “I firmly believe that the success of our department, in part, is about our interactions with citizens. I could have gone over there, talking down to them, telling them it was too loud and they needed to turn it down…but this was a lot more fun…it gave me a chance to interact with the people I serve. I got some hugs and handshakes at the end of it all, then they turned it down and left.”

Yes, our officers have a job to do, and laws to enforce, but how great is it when we can interact with the great citizens we serve?? #loveit #okcpd #communitypolicing #drummingco


The sweetest sound can morph into ghastly noise pollution with the twist of a wrist. At least in OKC, the good fight against noise pollution requires common-sense definitions of sound and noise and a crusade that begins at the highest note in the noise scale.

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I'm W. Dan Bell, a semi-retired attorney living in North Carolina. I am married with two daughters. I enjoy traveling, through-hiking in the UK, writing, spending time with my family, and playing Texas Holdem.

2 responses to “How to file a noise complaint in Oklahoma City”

  1. Ron Bourlon says:

    I’m having an issue with a construction company starting work at 04:00 right behind my housing addition. They have been turning on their lights and starting work at 04:00. It wakes me up and then I can’t go back to sleep. Is there anyway I can get them to wait until 06:00 to start. It is right behind the elementary school at 150th and Rockwell. I live in the North Brooke and can’t be the only one affected by this issue. I have tried reporting this through the website with no success. I suspect that this is why they keep doing it. Any suggestions would be appreciated; I really need some sleep. Thank you!

    • Avatar photo fightforsilence says:

      Hi Ron! We feel your frustration, 4am is not the time to be making any kind of noise… if the OKC website is not working for you, we strongly recommend you call the police non-emergency number (405-231-2121) to file your complaint.

      A couple of things to keep in mind though.

      1. What type of construction is it? Most private businesses will not work at 4am, precisely because they know they will get complaints right away, so I’m guessing it must be some kind of street construction or other infrastructure. If that’s the case, these types of construction sites are sometimes able to get exceptions if they are working on an emergency repair or if doing the same work during the way would have a severe impact on traffic, etc.

      2. The second thing to keep in mind is that this is happening near an elementary school, and most constructions are not allowed to make noise near schools during school hours, so the city might be forcing them to work at weird hours in order not to disturb the classes.

      Either way, your situation must be difficult. We recommend you try talking to your neighbors to see if this is bothering them too, and if it is try to get them to also file a noise complaint of their own. The more complaints the police get the more they will feel an obligation to respond.

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