Does classical music at transit stations really help deter crime?

lake st light rail platform.jpg
In an effort to reduce crime, Metro Transit staff now pipes in classical music at the Lake St. LRT station.
Does playing classical music at busy transit stations really help deter crime?

Some of you may remember when classical music played from speakers above the bustling Block E bus stop years ago. And now Metro Transit is adopting that tactic again at the Lake Street LRT station following complaints from neighborhood residents last summer that the station was becoming a haven for rowdy teens and vagrants.

While correlation doesn't equal causation, an analysis by the Atlantic suggests the strategy has had its desired effect for numerous cities.

In London, city staff started playing classical music in dozens of stations in 2003. Within 18 months, robberies dropped by a third, staff assaults by a quarter, and vandalism by 37 percent.
Beethoven.jpg
Beethoven: Yesterday's composer, today's crime-fighter.

Portland serves as a closer-to-home example. The city began piping classical music at a high-crime light rail station in late 2010. In a short period of time police calls at the station declined by 40 percent?

What explains the correlation between classical music and a decrease in crime? The Atlantic suggests the explanation has something to do with the famous "broken window" experiment in psychology. That experiment showed that abandoned cars with a shattered window were stripped much quicker than in-tact cars, suggesting that a culture of order and maintenance dissuades reckless and criminal behavior. Or maybe the explanation just boils down to the fact that classical music soothes the nerves and makes people less inclined to act out in criminal ways.

Whatever the explanation, it's not like Metro Transit has much to lose by subjecting folks to Beethoven, Bach, and Strauss while they wait for the train. All it took to purchase the music was a $150 payment. If the music deters even one serious crime, it's money well spent.

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Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

I wish they would play rap music at the train stations because that is what my boyfriend, De'Andre likes to listen to.  

White Libtards are NAIVE
White Libtards are NAIVE

Someone should report Metro Transit to the thought police at the "Un-Fair Campaign"! 

How dare Metro Transit inflict its disgusting 'white privilege' of Classical music of White Western Culture upon those poor innocent urban yutes who are merely "alternative entrepreneurs"!

They should instead Celebrate Divershitty by playing some of the enriching musical works from African-Americans listed here:

http://www.martinlutherking*org/rapperlyrics.html

Sammy
Sammy

Man.....you should see all of the gang violence on the 355 express bus that goes out to Woodbury and back.  Holy Shit!!!  We have to do something about these educated white, tax-paying American gangs.  Its getting out of control!!!!

pizza
pizza

It doesn't deter cops from fuckin people up. My buddy got his ass kicked by four cops at the hiawatha station wed night because he was arguing with his friend. Law suit to follow.

Frank
Frank

Not for nothing, bit the CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS has nothing to do with this decision.  Light rail, and its stations, are operated by Metro Transit, which is operated by the Metropolitan Council. I know, I know...reporting is hard.  But some semblance of fact-checking is good practice occasionally.

atrupar
atrupar

Sorry, you're right. I know Metro Transit calls the shots with LRT, believe it or not... just a brain melt. I'll fix. 

Frank
Frank

Again, not for nothing, but your fix isn't quite right, either.  The tactic at Block E WAS first adopted by the Minneapolis Police Department...I believe Inspector Sharon Lubinski did it.  So to say that Metro Transit is doing it "again" isn't actually accurate either.

Philboman
Philboman

I noticed the music right away and knew what they were trying to do. I think the major difference has been the mild weather. People with nothing better to do used to congergate near the heaters at the top of the staircase and hassel people as the went down the stairs after disembarking from the lightrail.

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