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Classical Music Soothes Savage New Zealand Mall Beasts

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Christchurch, New Zealand  Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale had a problem on his hands.

In 2008, security guards at the City Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping area, were responding to an average of 77 petty crime and "anti-social" incidents a week.

Then, Lonsdale  hit upon an idea hundreds of years old:


In June 2009, mall managers set up a speaker system that played non-stop Mozart--and it worked.

Those 77 weekly anti-social incidents fell to two.

Drug and alcohol-related incidents fell from 16 in 2008 to zero.

Security interventions between unruly customers and shopkeepers went from 35 to none.

"The classical music is soothing on the ear. We try not to play anything with a beat because that is more noticeable. Classical music is known for reducing anti-social behaviour," Lonsdale said. "It is much more pleasant now. People sit in that area now because they feel safer."

Police Sergeant Gordon Spite said, "The music has certainly had an effect during the day. It has created an environment that is conducive to good behaviour."

It makes sense, really, when you think about it. Remember 1989-1990's Operation Just Cause, when the US military needed to flush Manuel Noriega out of his hiding spot? They blasted rock music from speakers mounted atop combat vehicles until the Generalissimo simply couldn't take it anymore.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University has maintained a list of the music used in the operation.

Below are a few of the tunes they used to drive Noriega insane:

Panama--Van Halen

Judgement Day--Whitesnake

Dead Man's Party--Oingo Boingo

Wanted Dead or Alive--Bon Jovi

Your Time is Gonna Come--Led Zeppelin

The Party's Over--Journey

Screaming for Vengeance--Judas Priest

Run Like Hell--Pink Floyd

Depending on your holiday plans--and the guest list at the Thanksgiving table--you may want to put together an iTunes playlist now...
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