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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Classical Music as Transit Crime Deterrent

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM

At the beginning of the legislative session, we reported on East Portland Representative Jefferson's Smith zany scheme to pass a bill mandating classical music be played at high crime MAX stops. The thinking was that blasting classical music would be a way to deter crime without spending basically any money. "It has a calming influence," said Smith at the time.

TriMet didn't wait for a bill, they went ahead and started playing classical tunes at the 162nd Avenue transit stop. Two months later, the numbers seem to show that reports of crime are actually decreasing at the stop, while they're going up at other stops.

Smith's office sent me a link to the blog run by Rosewood neighbors who crunched the numbers of police calls from the 162nd station compared to other East Portland MAX stops. Here are the stats From November 16, 2009 to January 12 2010:
• 162nd Ave Transit Station: 40 percent decrease in calls for service
• 148th Ave Transit Station: 4 percent increase in calls for service
• 122nd Ave Transit Station: 12 percent increase in calls for service
• Gateway Transit Center: 18 percent increase in calls for service

But not to whip anyone into a hysterical frenzy about crime rail"—altogether, crime has decreased on TriMet 35 percent since 2007, probably thanks to TriMet doubling the size of its transit police force and improving lighting at certain MAX stops. Currently, Gateway is the transit stop with the most reported crimes.

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