Fighting gangs with classical music?

Filed under: That's Entertainment

Like a lot of American cities, Tacoma, Washington has a problem with gangs. When the thugs aren't out doing their thug business, they tend to congregate in public places. In an effort to discourage this, city authorities are attempting to annoy them by subjecting them to classical music. Transit workers have begun installing speakers that will fill the air at the Tacoma Mall Transit Center with music from Seattle's KING-FM.

While this may sound a little far-fetched, there is a theory behind the idea. "It's based on routine activity theory and situational crime prevention. You mix different types of activities in locations that are crime-ridden to change the composition of the environment," said psychologist Jacqueline Helfgott.

Will it work? Bus driver Tony Wilson is skeptical. "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."

I recall something similar - maybe it was rock music - blasted at a building where hostages were being held. I don't recall if this worked, but as one who has been forced to listen to Hannah Montana music for about three weeks non-stop, I believe the idea has promise.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.