Thursday 11 November 2010

A solution for street crime in Cairns

Now this is a novel Kiwi approach to sorting out those that want to create mayhem.

There's a great story in The Press over here in Christchurch. To reduce and deter crime and anti-social behaviour in the inner-city malls and streets, the Christchurch Business Association is piping classical music to calm passers-by.

Since the speakers were installed in the city mall June 2009, drug and alcohol, anti-social behaviour, along with theft and other offences, have all dramatically decreased.

The dramatic turn-around has been called staggering by local shop owners.

"The classical music is soothing on the ear," Paul Lonsdale of the business association says. "We try not to play anything with a beat because it is more noticeable. Classical music is known for reducing anti-social behaviour."

Lonsdale says it's much more pleasant and that people now sit in the area because they feel safer, and the police agree, who say the music has certainly had an effect, and has created an environment that is conducive to good behaviour. However musicians in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra were upset that classical music was being used as a crime deterrent, saying classical music is not to stop crime but to be celebrated.

A number of years ago, I recall the local Council installed pink lights in areas where bikies congregated, in lanes and under bridges late at night. Within days, they found the lights had a soothing effect and were too "feminine" and they stopped using the areas.

The Business Association considered playing Barry Manilow through the speakers, but decided against it as it may drive customers away.

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