Los Angeles Metro using classical music as a weapon

Photo credit: Visitor7 licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The Los Angeles Times and other media outlets recently reported that the LA Metro, the local rapid transit operator, is using classical music as a weapon to discourage unhoused people from hanging out in certain Metro subway stops. This story comes from the Curbed because the Los Angeles Time’s article is behind a paywall.

Crime in Metro stations and on trains is up and ridership is down because increasingly the public fears to get on the trains. Crime committed by the unhoused and others discourages ridership, as does having unhoused and others hanging around the stations.

I like classical music, so it pains me to see it being weaponized like so much else in our currently unhinged and divided society, but this is Metro’s response. Unfortunately, the loud classical music also discourages the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies from hanging out in the noisy stations, too. A classic example of the “law of unintended consequences.”

The real solutions to homelessness are costly and complex, including a fairer distribution of economic resources in our increasingly unequal society, and laws mandating treatment for the mentally ill, but in the meantime I hope Metro finds a better way to deal with this problem.


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