Los Angeles officials are trying a new approach in curbing homelessness in the city. They will blast the works of Beethoven and Mozart in the subway station. This is in the hope that it will discourage people from creating shelters and loitering.
Los Angeles Metro’s pilot program to reduce the number of homeless people in the area involves playing concertos, piano sonatas and symphony orchestra works. In an effort to reduce crime and homeless people, it also installs floodlights on the platform.
According to the Los Angeles Times, 22 people have died this year from overdoses from Metro transportation. In 2022, the rates of rape and aggravated assault as well as robbery increased by 24% compared to last year.
The new approach was implemented by the LA Metro security and operations, as well as local law enforcement, in January.
While some critics claim that these tactics amount to inhumane torture and others argue that they fail to address LA’s root causes of homelessness, others say that they are not.
Lily E. Hirsch, a musicologist, told the Times that while the strategy won’t reduce the city’s unhoused problem, it is creating hierarchies of sound. She explained that music can be used to attract and drive away certain individuals.
Hirsch explained that classical music associations are important because they can attract people and make them feel at ease. “It’s why fancy cheese shops play classical music. They want people to feel special and want them to spend more money.
She continued, “And you’re never solving the problem.” “You are just pushing the problem to another place.”
LA Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero told the Times that the music was not too loud inside the station. He claimed that the music is played at 72 decibels. The Times discovered that subway stations averaged 83 decibels, while others peaked at 90.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the decibel level of leaf blowers and lawnmowers is between 80 and 85 decibels. The CDC warns that hearing damage can occur after two hours of prolonged exposure.
Sotero explained to the news outlet that the pilot program was being used to “restore safety to the transit station.” He also noted that the strategy “supports an atmosphere suitable for spending short periods for transit customers who typically wait between 5 and 10 minutes for their next train to arrive.
Sotero stated that the tactics had already led to a 75 percent decrease in emergency calls, a more than 50 percent decrease in graffiti, vandalism and cleanups, as well as a nearly 20% drop in crime.