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Classical music keeps the peace

Rochester, N.Y. No, youre not hearing things, that is classical music playing outside the old Sibley Building on Franklin and East Main Street.

It all started in the fall as an effort to revamp the building and the area around it.

Music plays both inside and outside when the building is open, said Mike Kennerknecht, a spokesperson for Winn Development, owner of the Sibley Building. Winn Development heard from law enforcement and others that playing classical music can reduce loitering and control crowds.

Over the years, loitering had become a problem outside the building, and police increased their presence, sometimes on horseback, to control the situation.

Its not yet clear if the classical music is working, but many seem to enjoy it.

Its beautiful, said Islah Mitchell, who walks by the building almost every day. We need the music, its definitely a mood lifter.

Some also say they notice a major decrease in the loitering outside the building.

Yes, I really do think it works, said Sierra Balou, a student at the University of Rochester. I dont see a lot of people standing on the corners and its really peaceful.

The spokesperson for the property said there have been additional changes made around the building such as a police substation and tweaks to the bus schedules, and although its not yet clear if the decrease in loitering is a direct result of the music, it still makes sense to have keep the classical piped out of the building.

Classical music was a natural fit, he continued. The Sibley Building is in close proximity to the nationally-recognized Eastman School of Music.

The music plays Monday through Saturday from 6am to 10pm.

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Washington Times