Why This LA Metro Station Cranked Up the Classical Music

Metro cued up the classical music as part of a public safety pilot program at the troubled Metro Westlake/MacArthur Park station.

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The rousing classical music blaring from speakers at Metro's Westlake/MacArthur Park is hard to miss.

More startling than soothing at times, booming sounds fill the cavernous halls as riders board and exit trains on the system's B (Red) and D (Purple) lines.

"It's a bit dramatic, but overall it's fine," one rider told NBCLA Thursday.

It's a playlist with a purpose.

"That's wild that classical music is really a tactic they're using," another rider said.

The music is just one part of public safety pilot program that includes adjustments to security cameras and lighting, closing off a secondary entrance and additional law enforcement and transit security.

Where does the music come in?

"Many of you have noticed that we’re playing music over the public-address speakers, as do many other types of businesses and municipalities," Metro said in a statement. "The idea is to create an atmosphere that is comfortable for spending short amounts of time transiting through our station, but not conducive to hours-long loitering. We are monitoring the volume of the music, as well as customer feedback."

Metro said reported crime has dropped 20 percent since the program began. Emergency calls were down 75 percent, the agency said.

In another statement posted March 15 on its web site, Metro addressed concerns about crime, drug use and other safety issues.

"We're now putting the particulars of our public safety plan in place with a focus on improving security, customer care and cleanliness," Metro said in a statement on it web site. "This plan includes our Metro Ambassador pilot, increased enforcement of the Code of Conduct and prohibition of illegal drug use on buses and trains, and the expansion of our homeless outreach teams who connect individuals to needed services.

"We also are piloting intervention tactics to improve conditions at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station that include improved lighting and cameras and adding cleaning and security staff. If successful, this will inform approaches to other stations."

Several public safety proposals go before the Metro board at its Thursday meeting.

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