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West Palm Beach 'Weaponizes' Music

City plays children's music over speakers to keep homeless from sleeping in pavilion
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2019 10:59 AM CDT
Stock photo of speakers.   (Getty Images / Bet_Noire)

(Newser) – West Palm Beach doesn't want the homeless loitering or sleeping in its waterfront Lake Pavilion, so it's using an unusual tactic to keep that from happening: music. Specifically, as the Palm Beach Post describes it, "weaponized" music. The children’s songs "Raining Tacos" and "Baby Shark" are being played on a loop overnight in a move that one homeless man compared to "torture used by the Nazis during World War II." The pavilion hosts dozens of events each year, from weddings to business meetings. Parks and Rec director Leah Rockwell explains people pay thousands to rent the space, and "we want to make sure people paying this money had a facility that was clean and open." The city is also formalizing opening and closing hours for the park to make it easier to enforce trespassing laws.

Officials note that the city and multiple nonprofit organizations are working on efforts to combat homelessness, including building subsidized housing, starting job-training programs, and connecting homeless people with mental health services. As for the pavilion, Rockwell says the music—which started at the beginning of July, per WPTV—has been effective. But CBS 12 says multiple people were still sleeping there one early morning last week, and the Post spoke to one homeless man who says it's not going to deter him from resting on the pavilion's elevated patio, whose eave keeps him dry when it rains. "It don’t bother me. I still lay down in there. But it’s on and on, the same songs." (Read more homeless stories.)

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