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Mozart music: calming or “physiological torture”?
For the past several months, Los Angeles has been blasting loud classical music in train stations in an effort to reduce crime and prevent homeless people from loitering.
But the city is under fire for playing the tunes too loudly.
LA Metro spokesman Dave Sotero told the LA Times the train stations play the music at 72 decibels. That’s less than normal noise levels outside the stations.
But the Times investigated with its own handheld meters. That’s when they found the sound levels actually averaged 83dB and peaked at 90dB in some areas.
According to the CDC, levels of 80-85 are comparable to gas powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers. Hearing damage is possible after two hours of exposure.
“There is a clear disconnect between what transit riders and the unhoused are experiencing in the subterranean confines of the station and LA Metro’s official line about the music’s volume,” the LA Times argued.
Now, the continuous loop of Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and others is seen as “torture” by sympathizers for the homeless community.
On Twitter, civil rights lawyer Scott Hechinger called it “sonic torture of people without homes in LA.”
“Stop the psychological torture,” another user tweeted.
LA is just the latest city to face backlash after instituting “anti-homeless” measures. In January, OutKick reported on an Austin 7-Eleven that blasted opera music to keep homeless from loitering.
Other cities have been criticized for “defensive architecture,” including metal spikes on the ground in areas where people sleep.
Los Angeles’ classical music tactic comes after a recent spike in fatal overdoses and serious crime such as rape, assault and robbery within the city’s public transport system.
When you look at it that way, Mozart doesn’t sound too bad.