Some 7-Eleven store owners across the country have resorted to blaring classical and opera music to deter homeless individuals from loitering outside their stores.
This has reportedly occurred in Austin, Texas, and in multiple California cities, where the homeless crisis has jeopardized the safety of local residents and small business owners.
Jag Patel, a 7-Eleven store owner in the Riverside neighborhood of Austin, recently started playing loud opera music to dissuade homeless people from hanging outside his storefront who made customers feel unsafe, Fox 7 reported. After hearing about the measure from other owners, he started using it and says it is working.
“Studies have shown that the classical music is annoying. Opera is annoying, and I’m assuming they are correct because it’s working,” Patel told the outlet.
— Angela Shen (@AngelaShenFOX7) January 14, 2023
The store owner noted that he felt he had to resort to drastic tactics to make his store area less dangerous. He said some homeless individuals were harassing female customers, soliciting money, and attacking customers, which drove away business.
One customer, who works near Patel’s store and is a customer, told Fox 7 he had to start carrying a knife due to how dangerous the area had become. He says he welcomes the loud music after noticing it reduced some of the safety issues in the area.
“Now since they’ve had this music going on, we have less traffic down with the homeless out here,” said Joe Miranda. “It’s helping out, it’s not annoying to us because it doesn’t bother us, but it bothers probably them because they’re doing drugs.”
While some appreciate the classical music driving away potential problems of crime and drug use, others have expressed their annoyance with how noisy the music can become.
“I was just astounded by how loud it was. Annoying, this early in the morning,” local resident Jessica Cohen told Austin NBC affiliate KXAN. “Not that I don’t love classical music, but this is just rude.”
However, Cohen conceded that she had noticed fewer people loitering in front of the store since the loud music started playing.
For the past few years in California, 7-Eleven store owners have reportedly been using the sounds of Pavarotti or Beethoven to deter transient individuals from causing problems for their establishments as the homeless crisis has simultaneously worsened in the state.
In north Hollywood, one 7-Eleven worker told NBC 4 in 2019 that since the store started using classical music, she noticed more customers were coming in because they felt safer.
“Now it’s very busy, its more busy since the music and there are less homeless people,” Sandra Andrade, a 7-Eleven store clerk, told the outlet.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.
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