Columbus YMCA uses blaring classical music to deter loitering, crime
On a recent Tuesday evening, two men were arguing on the sidewalk outside the Downtown YMCA.
As the exchange grew more heated, Sue Darby turned up the volume on a set of speakers affixed to the building exterior.
The defuser: Antonio Vivaldi.
The delicate orchestral strains of the Four Seasons concertos prompted the opponents to walk away.
“I feel like it’s a positive approach,” said Darby, executive director of the Y, at 40 W. Long St. “People don’t tend to stand around. There’s a sense of security.”
Since January at the Y, an iPod loaded with classical music has played repeatedly from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.
The speakers on the building were donated by the Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, which represents Downtown property owners.
Although such a soundtrack might be regarded as a pleasant diversion — a welcome cultural boost, even — by many people, another motive is at play.
The music is designed as a deterrent to loitering and crime.