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Lancaster Mayor Claims Piped-in Songbirds and Synths Fight Crime

Photo by Cathy LaFever via the LAist Featured Photos pool
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Can piped-in bird songs fight crime? The mayor of Lancaster R. Rex Parris claims it's the truth, it's actual, everything is satisfactual.

Ten months ago the city installed speakers in a "crime infested" stretch of downtown Lancaster, the Wall Street Journal reports. Parris says the soothing recordings of ambient tones and chirping birds piped in five hours a day have had a calming effect on would-be criminals. Mr. Parris told the Journal, "Everybody is now in a better mood, a better place."

Local business owner Maria Elena Grado is a believer: "Everybody laughed at the idea, but people don't even realize the things that make them tick." And the Journal even interviewed a neurologist who said the idea of reducing crime through environmental design isn't so outlandish.

But skeptics say Lancaster's crime has been on the decline for some time, like most cities in the nation and it would be hard to prove the spa-treatment soundtrack imported from England is doing the heavy lifting. (If it is, we're not sure if this approach is more "Clockwork Orange" than"Zip-A-Dee Do Dah.")

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The Lancaster mayor is known for his outside-the-box approach to fighting crime: One of his latest projects involves launching a spy-cam that would record its citizens from the skies.