Music enhances downtown experience

The Minneapolis Police Department has found a new use for classical music beyond satisfying the listening pleasures of people often stereotypically portrayed as cultured, aristocratic and having their noses in the air.
After 9 p.m. during weekends, bar patrons, club hoppers and partiers who normally flood downtown streets will be greeted with the music of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. Inspired by similar plans in Edmonton, Alberta and Northfield, Minnesota, the Minneapolis Police Department has begun playing classical music in the heart of the city, the area popularly referred to as the E Block, between Seventh Street and Hennepin Avenue. They hope that the music will sufficiently annoy loiterers, sending them home, thereby making downtown a safer, more pleasant place.
While this program makes a sad comment on the musical tastes of modern weekend revelers, it also shows that novel approaches to law enforcement can not only be successful but also pleasant.
The beauty of this idea lies in its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The system, headquartered at the Municipal Parking Building, includes a compact disc player, radio tuner and five speakers. The speakers, which reach a 200-foot radius, wrap several blocks in waltzes, concertos and symphonies. At the same time, the project saves manpower as police can respond to more pressing emergencies rather than continually monitoring the downtown area for minor offenses such as public intoxication and loitering.
Currently the E Block is the only area of Minneapolis in which the music is being broadcast, but there are already tentative plans to expand the program to other troubled parts of the city. While police are wary of disclosing the precise whereabouts of the new “concert” area because they fear protests from those who do not enjoy classical music, it is likely that you will hear a concerto, symphony or waltz on a street corner near you in the future.
At the least, as the program continues to succeed, downtown Minneapolis will be a more pleasant place to spend one’s time. With any luck, the sound system will soon be used at other times, providing a pleasant auditory experience for shoppers and commuters during peak hours. The only real danger of the program will be if it succeeds too well. Should the individuals police originally hoped to remove from the streets start to, God forbid, like classical music, they will start to loiter once again. But in that event, we will have a new class of loiterers who do not need to be constantly supervised by police, unlike the current rowdy groups.
Downtown Minneapolis has the potential of providing a comprehensively pleasant experience for everyone. When loiterers and drunken revellers are no longer commonplace, the streets will be safer and cleaner. The beauty of our city will start to shine once again and we will be able to appreciate the aesthetic pleasantries that are now hidden. Classical music diversifies and amplifies the experience, showing the world that we truly have a great city. Congratulations to Minneapolis police for finding a way to blend beauty and law enforcement.