City blares ‘Baby Shark’ on repeat to drive homeless from pavilion at night
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida city is trying to keep homeless people from sleeping near a posh waterfront patio by playing popular children’s songs “Baby Shark” and “It’s Raining Tacos” on a loop.
The director of Parks and Recreation, Leah Rockwell, told The Palm Beach Post the city took the unorthodox approach to protect the Lake Pavilion, an event space that is expected to generate more than $240,000 this year.
“People are paying a lot of money to use the facility,” Rockwell said, adding that staffers and guests shouldn’t have to navigate between sleeping bodies as they come and go.
Rockwell said the music is a temporary measure while the city works to formalize official hours for Lake Pavilion, which would allow officers to enforce trespassing laws.
“Music is also played overnight on a loop by our pavilion to discourage congregating and, if appropriate, to encourage people to seek safer, more appropriate shelter through the many resources that are available,” a city spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News. “The music volume complies with City code, and we are exploring the possibility of having set hours for the Great Lawn and pavilion.”
Some are speaking out as news of West Palm Beach’s tactic spreads.
“(It) shows a lack of concern for our community members who are struggling through a very tough time,” said Megan Hustings, interim director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
It’s apparently not the first time the city has tried this approach, the paper reports. Fifteen years ago West Palm Beach police experimented with piping classical music onto a street frequented by drug dealers. The experiment came to a sudden end when someone reportedly destroyed the electrical source to the speakers.