Cleaning Our Parks, Allegro Molto
Most big city parks in America have become havens for those on the fringes of society.
Stroll through the average urban green space, and you’ll find not only the homeless but also drug pushers, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Not the average person’s idea of good, clean fun.
How can we effectively and humanely sweep crime out of our parks?
In an increasing number of cities around the world, the answer is as simple as it is novel: play classical music.
Not a typo, folks. According to this article, Hartford, Connecticut is investigating the symphonic approach after municipalities in Florida, Australia, and Canada have employed it to great success. The music of Mozart and Beethoven apparently drives both drug dealers and ladies of the evening away.
Supporters of this tactic say it has decreased crime up to 40 percent in other parks while making them more pleasant for law-abiding citizens to walk through.
Color me confused. Why is classical music so pleasant to law-abiding citizens … but so disturbing to criminals?
I can imagine some better musical options:
1. Anti-drug anthems, like Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s early rap breakthrough “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” would push unwanted elements out of public spaces more quickly than old symphonies would. We can recruit William Shatner to record a new version to give it an extra kick.
2. We could try the pure ad simple approach of loudness. Just modify the brilliant military tactic from the late 80s, when Panama’s Manuel Noriega gave up only after blaring pop music assaulted his ears for days. I say we push the badguys out by turning the volume knob on the heaviest death metal up to 11. Any suggestions, Metal Mark?
3. Yodeling would do the trick. About ten seconds of that hideous warbling is enough to drive anything with ears from the parks. After all, you don’t hear about serious crime in the Swiss Alps.
4. Perhaps the parks should blast some Kelly Clarkson—only the most disgusting sociopath would survive THAT. But I’m sure it’ll never fly; we have that pesky restriction on cruel and unusual punishment.
Sadly, cities like Hartford have not adopted any of these tactics. By choosing the symphony route, they are forcing citizens to live with a system that associates the music of the masters with punishment, thus tarnishing our classical heritage.
I say such a course is crap.
Like Beethoven’s last movement.