Activists Want to Use Classical Music to Fight Crime

AP, March 5, 2006

HARTFORD, Conn.—Residents of one Hartford neighborhood hope that Beethoven and Mozart will help drive drug dealers and prostitutes out of a local park.

Activists propose playing recordings of classical music in Barnard Park in hopes of annoying petty criminals so much that they will leave. Resident Carol Coburn said she came up with the idea after reading about similar efforts in West Palm Beach, Fla., where she said crime decreased as much as 40 percent in parks where classical music was played. Cities in Canada and Australia have reported success with similar efforts.

But to University of California-Los Angeles musicologist Robert Fink, the plan makes Hartford’s crime-fighting efforts look desperate. “Beethoven is not going to save you,” he said. It’s ironic that “some of the greatest composers in history are now being viewed as some kind of bug spray or disinfectant.”

The plan still needs city approval and funding.

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