Fighting Back with Bach


Tacoma Washington is trying a new tactic to fight crime: classical music. They’re playing Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, and the like at malls and bus stops to disperse gangs and drug dealers. How does this work? It jolts their routines and reduces loitering.

You mean, troublemakers don’t like classical music? Apparently not. It scatters them like flies. When they hear it they’ll say “This is whack” and hang out somewhere else. Too many thoughtfully crafted notes and tones, I guess. Too much skill on beautiful hand-crafted instruments. Too much “high culture.” Not enough banal, sensual, repetitive, driving beat. Not enough trivial and ridiculous lyrics, especially of the vulgar sort.

The philosophy behind this tactic: change the environment through reducing disorder.

I assume this amounts to an admission that classical music promotes social order, an atmosphere of safety, different attitudes.

I can only hope that this trend spreads. It might just make malls and bus stops repositories of culture where enlightened people might want to hang out! Imagine that!


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