Classical music cuts crime in New Zealand city

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 08 2010 03:00 PM | Updated as of Nov 08 2010 11:00 PM

WELLINGTON - Classical music piped through speakers has dramatically reduced crime rates in the centre of New Zealand's second largest city, retailers said Monday.

They said the introduction of soothing music from composers such as Mozart had seen the number of anti-social incidents attended by security guards in Christchurch's City Mall fall from 86 a week in 2008 to 2 a week this year.

Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said the music had helped residents and retailers reclaim the mall.

"It is much more pleasant now. People sit in that area now because they feel safer," Lonsdale told the Christchurch Press newspaper.

Police backed the finding, with senior sergeant Gordon Spite telling the newspaper the music "created an environment that is conducive to good behaviour".

Lonsdale said the best anti-crime music blended into the background and had no noticeable beat.

He told Radio NZ the business association had considered playing Barry Manilow through the speakers when it began the program 12 months ago but decided against it as it may drive customers away.