When police intervention did not solve the problem, Patel tried a new technique: playing classical music.
Over the past two weeks, a speaker at the top of the Batel shop has blasted the likes of Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart 24/7. So far it seems to be working, said Patel, who owns three 7-Eleven franchises in the Austin area. Employees have reported seeing fewer homeless people hanging around, and the number of customers who come in at night has rebounded to normal levels.
Patel admitted that the non-stop music may be making it difficult for the homeless to sleep at night. He said he feels bad about hoarding people who aren’t so lucky, especially since they are also his customers.
“But at the same time, I have to protect my business. This is my bread and butter. And if my customers don’t come, that’s a problem.”
Patel’s idea is not new. Rite Aid stores at Los Angeles Barry Manilow blew up in 2018 to turn away the homeless. A year later, the city officials entered West Palm Beach, Florida.She weaponized the children’s songs “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” to keep people from sleeping in the city’s waterfront park.
Patel isn’t even the first 7-Eleven franchisee to use classical music against homeless people. Over the past several years, store owners have done the same thing in… Los AngelesAnd Jacksonville, Florida.And Modesto, California.
Studies have shown that classical music is annoying. Opera is annoying, and I assume it’s true because it works” KTBC.
The weaponization of classical music is just one example of “hostile architecturewhich are used by government officials, church leaders, and business owners to keep the homeless out of public view. Other seating includes public benches with armrests to prevent people from lying down, nails on flat roofs to achieve a similar finish, and rocks in green spaces to prevent camping.
Some churches even have it Used sprinklers Tars said to keep the homeless away. And in a number of cities, officials have installed devices that make noise Makes high-pitched sounds to force them to abandon camps under bridges and paths.
Tarss praised the innovation but said it was wrong.
“We need that energy directed towards constructive solutions that will actually end homelessness rather than banish it from public opinion,” he added.
Patel, who has owned the store at East Oltorf Street and Parker Lane for more than 11 years, said the situation affecting his 7-Eleven started two years ago. in 2019The city of Austin decriminalized sitting, lying, and camping on public property. Two years later, voters responded in the affirmative proposal bmaking it illegal to do these things again.
In response to the revived Prohibition, homeless people have migrated their camp from public property to the abandoned Sonic Restaurant next to 7-Eleven, Patel said.
Patel said the number of customers has fallen by a third over the course of about a year. At some point, he notices that the grass around 7-Eleven has ripened. Patel’s landscaper told him he couldn’t mow because the lawn was full of used needles. Unwilling to put his employees at risk, Patel said he has spent thousands of dollars hiring a contractor that specializes in removing biohazardous waste.
Patel asked the homeless not to throw their used needles and trash over the fence on his property, a request that has been more or less honored, he said.
He called the police, Patel said, but when the officers arrived, homeless people rushed out of Patel’s property, retreating to their camp in locked Sonic. The police said they couldn’t do anything unless the owner of this property complained. When he paid tribute to other city officials, they told him the same thing: since it was private property, they could do nothing unless the property owner asked for help, which to Patel’s knowledge had not yet happened.
Patel directed his staff to send the homeless away, but when the workers were busy helping customers, unloading shipments or stocking shelves, their new next-door neighbors returned.
Next, Patel read about some 7-Eleven stores in California that are broadcasting classical or opera music to rid parking lots of the homeless. He decided to give it a try. He hired a company to install the speaker in his storefront, including a cage to protect it. The vendor also manages the music that is played and ensures that the volume levels comply with city ordinances.
Salem, who remained on the former Sonic, called the music “absolutely obnoxious”.
“It’s just a nightmare. Incredibly loud. Two or three times, we were able to hear it on the other side of the complex,” Salem said. KVUE.
While music is used as a peaceful weapon, Taras said, it falls on a continuum of punishment targeting homeless people. Not far on that spectrum are incidents like the one that hit the news last week when he was a business owner in San Francisco Camera caught spraying homeless woman With a hose, he asks her to move from the public sidewalk.
These can then lead to more violent attacks, Tars said.
“These private demonstrations of cruelty say it’s okay for our fellow Americans to be treated this way,” he said, adding that “every single act, they have the right to play that loud music, sure, but they have to consider the larger ramifications of what treating someone experiencing homelessness than Such may say to the greater community.”