Beach town in Finland had a rowdy youth problem — until it blasted classical music

An otherwise quiet neighborhood in Finland used to have a summer problem, with young partiers gathering every night on the beach to whoop it up and wreak havoc. And then, six years ago, police in Espoo discovered a foolproof solution: blast classical music.

And it worked like a charm. "For some reason, classical music doesn't appeal to young people, and young people stay away from places where there is classical music," a police officer told Finland's Yle News, via Oddity Central.

At first, residents were skeptical, thinking the unscientific plan was strange. But it turned out to be a success, and the ol' neighborhood boomers get the added benefit of soothing lullabies to help them sleep.

From Oddity Central:

Local authorities had tried multiple other methods to disperse youths, but nothing worked quite as well as classical music masterpieces like Strauss' The Blue Danube, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and Schubert's Ave Maria. So, starting in early June, police blast classical music from a couple of loudspeakers on the beach to keep youths from gathering there after sunset.

Before implementing the classical music method six years ago, Haukilahti was a popular gathering place for end of term parties that usually left piles of litter and broken glass in their wake. Now, Espoo police no longer have to worry, because no youths want to be around when the classical music starts playing.

And Espoo isn't the first community to come up with the idea. In fact, it goes back to at least 1985, when a 7-Eleven store in British Columbia blasted Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, and all the other greats to clear their parking lot of loitering teenagers, according to an old Slate article. Since then, cities around the world have used the audible teen repellent, to great success. And, interestingly, Bach and other Baroque composers seem to work best.

From Slate:

After transit officials began piping classical music through the London underground, robberies dropped by 33 percent. In 2001, cops in West Palm Beach, Fla., started blaring Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart at a notoriously crime-ridden intersection. "The troubled corner showed marked improvement with the launch of programmed classical music there," reports Hirsch, "despite a brief pause of three weeks after vandals removed speaker wires and destroyed the building's electrical meter."

 In a 2005 pieceLos Angeles Times writer Scott Timberg noted that "despite a few assertive, late-Romantic exceptions like Mussorgsky and Rachmaninoff, the music used to scatter hoodlums is pre-Romantic, by Baroque or Classical-era composers such as Vivaldi or Mozart." A symphony official quoted in Hirsch's book maintains that Baroque composers like Bach are best, because their use of counterpoint and polyphony is challenging and inaccessible.