Johann Sebastian Bach… Crime Fighter…?

The city of Tacoma, Washington is trying out a new gang violence prevention measure. Classical music:

Transit workers are installing speakers this week to pump classical music from Seattle’s KING-FM into the Tacoma Mall Transit Center. The tactic is designed to disperse young criminals who make drug deals at the bus stop or use public transportation to circulate between the mall and other trouble-prone places.

The attack by Bach, Brahms and Beethoven follows the theory that prompted the city to stage pinochle games on dangerous street corners: Jolting the routine in such spots throws criminals off balance.

Skeptics include Tony Wilson, a bus driver for 18 years.

It could do one of two things: It could calm the beast, or it could just stir things up,” Wilson said. “I think the reason we don’t have music on the buses is that you can’t please everyone. It would just cause drama.”

Vrahmel Obleanis, 19, playing a Nintendo GameBoy at the mall bus stop, said troublemakers won’t like the orchestral strains, but they’ll probably just move somewhere out of earshot.

They’ll say, ‘This is whack,’ and go over and hang out at the mall or by Babies ‘R’ Us,” Obleanis said. “The music isn’t going to change the attitude of the kids.” – [AP]

OK, I’m not an expert in sociology, but if you stage public events in areas where illegal activities usually occur, aren’t you simply displacing the activity to another part of the city? Somehow I’m not to confident in this particular solution. I’m with the kid and the bus driver on this. Johann Sebastian Bach does not exactly strike fear into the hearts of a would-be thug, or everyone would be walking around with mp3 players loaded with classical music. Not to mention, doesn’t blaring music in a public area 24/7 usually violate some sort of noise ordinance?

Wash. City Fights Gangs With Symphonies – [AP]


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