WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Officials for a Florida city are playing popular children’s songs continuously on a loop in an effort to deter homeless people from sleeping near a city-owned waterfront banquet facility.
“People are paying a lot of money to use the facility, thousands of dollars,” Leah Rockwell, West Palm Beach parks and recreation director, told the Palm Beach Post. “We want to make sure people paying this money had a facility that was clean and open and continue to use it in the future.”
The city expects to make about $240,000 from hosting events, including weddings, bar mitzvahs and graduation parties, at the glass-walled venue overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
City officials said they are working with nonprofits on several fronts including subsidized housing, job training and mental health services, to reduce homelessness, the Post reported.
This is not the first time music has been used as a deterrent.
The West Palm Beach Police Department 15 years ago played classical music through rooftop loudspeakers to push out suspected drug dealers in one part of the city.
The city of Lake Worth Beach tried playing classical musical to get rid of homeless people and suspected drug dealers loitering in a main park, but the groups ended up enjoying it, the Post reported.
A San Francisco Burger King blasted a collection of symphonies and concertos in 2016 to reduce crowds at a street corner near a restaurant.
The music is a short-term solution. The city is also working to set park hours so police have more authority to enforce trespassing laws, the Post reported.
“It has been effective and is a temporary measure to make the area accessible for those who have rented the facility and for future events,” Rockwell told the Post. “We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to the music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront.”
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