Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Classical Music as Crime Prevention and the Attitudes Behind It.

In Portland, Oregon, where I lived before Cambridge, they have implemented a crime prevention tactic that, apparently, has been spreading across many major cities.  They play classical music out of speakers at bus stops.  The police department reported that it reduced crime at those stops by 40%.  That last bit of information can be found in this article from Minneapolis City Pages, in which they reference Portland's use of the tactic:

I also found a separate article about the similar use of classical music in London.  That article is found here:

What I find interesting is the stark difference between the two articles in terms of their assumptions and surmises about why it works.  In the first article they suggest that classical music "soothes nerves and makes people less inclined to act out in criminal ways" or at least that it suggests a "culture of order."
The second article flat out says that the youth can't stand classical music and will flee from it if given the choice.  The same tactic is used toward the same ends, but the reasoning behind one use suggests that classical music has a lot to offer and there's good reason to envision a bright future for it, whereas the reasoning behind the other use basically assumes that classical music has little to no future, as it is despised by the new generation.
I'm personally not inclined to wholeheartedly agree with either stance but it is interesting just how much uncertainty there is as to what place classical has in our culture at this time.

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