Beethoven at Metro to curb crime
Officials hope music from the likes of Beethoven chases troublemakers at light-rail stop.
Run along, raucous teens. Ludwig van Beethoven is performing at the Lake Street light-rail station.
The Metro Transit system has turned on great composers in hope of turning off loiterers, vagrants and other troublemakers attracted to the station. "If it encourages some people to wander away because it's not their favorite type of music, I guess that's OK," said Acting Transit Police Chief A.J. Olson.
The classical music strategy -- modeled after a transit campaign in Portland -- is part of a suite of initiatives to improve conditions at the station. They include more lights and security cameras and a beefed-up police presence during the hours immediately after school and in the evening. The station's design -- with enclosed spaces on two levels -- is unusual on the Hiawatha light-rail line and can attract trouble.
"It has these areas that are heated with overhead lamps," said Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff. "People can just hang out there."
Metro Transit took action last summer after neighborhood residents complained about the station becoming a haven for rowdy teens and vagrants.
While vandalism and disorderly conduct were the most common problems in and near the station, two young men were stabbed and two others arrested last April after a fight broke out there.
Scene at the station
The musical strategy aims as much at creating a soothing ambience as irritating unappreciative troublemakers.