Beethoven is used to deter gangs

Beethoven is used to deter gangs

Why Beethoven

norman lebrecht

January 31, 2023

A branch of McDonalds in Wrexham, Wales, has begun playing Beethoven late at night to make gangs of bored youths feel uncomfortable and stay away (or so they say).

North Wales Live reports that police inspector Luke Hughes said they had received “multiple reports… of one particular group of youths, that at times numbered 20-30, roaming between locations”.

Have they considered that this might generate a new Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess’s dystopian novel of a sadistic gang leader who finds peace only in Beethoven?





  • UK Arts Administrator says:

    It clearly works both ways, as I have now come to the startling realisation that years of listening to Beethoven has been the principal deterrent to my entering McDonalds.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    It might turn the gang on to heavy stuff like Wagner … and then where’ll we be? :-0

  • Don Fatale says:

    The droogs are going to love this!

  • Barry says:

    As Beethoven is black, apparently, the youths are not only antisocial but racist as well.

    Arrest them.

  • Anonnynonny says:

    Walgreens in America has been doing this for some time in an attempt to I guess shoo away homeless people. It’s pretty depressing to hear Bach, Rossini, and Vivaldi used for this purpose.

  • Scott Messing says:

    [Per a NY Times report]: In 1985, the Southland Corporation in British Columbia played certain music in the parking lots of its 7-Eleven stores to discourage teenagers from loitering. The ploy was repeated in America. A 14-year-old complained about the Mantovani Orchestra: “There’s no words or anything. It’s all violins and I don’t know what.” A 17-year-old weighed in on the Hollywood Symphony Strings’ “Love is a Many Splendored Thing”: “How can people listen to that sh-t?” One assistant police chief remarked: “It’s a great idea. It doesn’t seem to have a downside, except for making certain people uncomfortable. I’ve been amazed at what music does to people’s moods.”

    • Barry says:

      “There’s no words or anything. It’s all violins and I don’t know what.”

      That raises a serious issue. It’s mainly about celebrity and interest in non-vocal music is almost dead in that age group. It’s a foreign language – they don’t understand the point of it.

      The pop/rock industry used have several instrumental pieces in the charts. No longer, it seems.

  • Heiligenstadt Jimmy says:

    Yeah, but they’ve sure had a big uptick in senior citizens hanging about! Not enough room to park all those walkers.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      Heh. A McD’s not far from me used to play big band/swing music from the 1930s/40s presumably for the same purposes, and it had the desired effect. Perhaps they did notice an uptick in the number of folks ordering the “senior coffee.” I don’t know about being crowded out by all the walkers, but they finally did have to post a sign that the free refills on coffee were only good on coffees that were actually purchased there that visit, not for those who brought in the old paper cup from the last time to there were there, or were from a McD’s somewhere on the interstate. Killjoys.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Of course!! Anything which requires a scintilla of intelligence sends these ferals scurrying and is like Kryptonite to Superman!!

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I wonder what the playlist is.

  • Michael Rosa says:

    They’re trying the same strategy at select 7-11 stores in the US only its to determine homeless ppl from loitering.

  • Jackson says:

    Surely Beethoven encourages him in his violence?

  • Minutewaltz says:

    I remember this happening at Goldhawk Rd tube station. The Trout was playing – most enjoyable and it made me loiter in the ticket hall.

  • SVM says:

    What is the sound quality of the PA system being deployed? I recall one place that used to play classical music over exceedingly tinny speakers, which made what should have been a pleasurable listening experience excruciating.

  • Will says:

    Apparently Beethoven has the power to defeat both juvenile delinquency and capitalism.