|CHRIST CHURCH: To classical music enthusiasts, the genre needs no help in extolling its virtues, but researchers have come across some rather surprising benefits of classical music anyway. Among them is the finding that classical music has a penchant for deterring crime.|
Armed with only a CD player and speakers, police units in the United States and the UK are fighting crime with classical music.
In 2004 in London, England, the British Transport Police piped classical music into London Underground stations in some of the area's most dangerous neighborhoods. After playing the music for six months:
This is not the first time that classical music has been used to deter crime. In 2001, police in West Palm Beach, Florida installed a CD player and speakers on an abandoned building in a crime-ridden neighborhood. After playing classical music -- mostly Mozart, Bach and Beethoven -- 24 hours a day for about three months, shootings, thefts, loiterers and drug deals decreased.
A supermarket chain in the UK has also used classical music to stop gangs of youth from congregating outside their stores.
"It is mostly easy listening music that we are playing such as Bach, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and Mozart. It is a novel concept, but it does work and does move people on," said regional loss prevention manager Steve Hogarth.
After playing the classical music at the front of the store, reports of troublemakers and graffiti were dramatically reduced.
"The fact that youths hang outside the store is not a crime in itself, but the perception among staff and customers is that it is intimidating. It seems to make it a 'less cool' place to hang out if there is classical music playing," said Hogarth.