Lower Hutt: Classic Music to drive youth away from Mall

Police have enlisted the help of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi to drive troublesome teens from outside a Lower Hutt shopping mall.

Classical music wafted from speakers installed in Bunny St outside Westfield Mall yesterday, to the horror of Dane Collins, 17.

“It’s disturbing. They need to change the DJ, they should be blasting out Tupac and Bone Thugs,” he said.

The idea, used to varying success in other areas, was adapted by community constable Paula Harris.

Youths hanging out outside the mall had become a problem for security staff and people waiting for the bus, she said.

A “core group” were trespassed from the mall but came back almost daily.

Speakers were installed outside the mall in November last year to play “classical and calming” music at the youth hangout.

The move was backed by Hutt City Council, police and Westfield Queensgate.

Repeat trespassers were arrested as a further deterrent.

“So far, there’s been very positive feedback about the music and the decreased numbers of youths congregating in the area,” Ms Harris said.

Similar schemes have worked in other centres. 

Lower Hutt teens were divided on the merits of the musical assault yesterday.

Meg Burt, 20, said the classical music had driven him across the street. “It’s sleeping music.”

Discontent with the music spanned the generations. June Waldron, 77, said it was “very dull”. “You want something you can get up and dance to.”

However teenager Caity Randall, 17, liked it. “It kind of reminds me of a carnival, it’s nice and calming. It adds a touch of class to the area.”