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Santa Monica police apologize for classical music

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Santa Monica Police are apologizing after a program meant to deter crime and improve public safety instead angered neighbors near the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Broadway.

Last week, police installed traffic signals that play classical music as part of a broader city-wide initiative, the police department said.

Residents complained, including one caller who contacted KTLA to say the music was too loud and made sleeping difficult.

On Facebook Wednesday, police blamed a glitch.

“The cameras were installed on Thursday and the volume was set at an acceptable level and unfortunately the software glitched on Tuesday and reset the volume to the highest level possible,” the department explained. “We truly do apologize to all those impacted.”

The music has now been turned off, police said.

Santa Monica music signal
A music-playing traffic sign is seen in Santa Monica on July 12, 2023. (KTLA)

Public response to the Facebook post has been mixed.

“I don’t know about you but, as long as it was safe, I would freaking love to chill on a bench at night and listen to classical music in SM but that’s just me,” wrote Harley Harding.

“Hearing about this today from various friends disturbed me to my core. I can’t describe to you how the lack of consideration for the mental health of residents made me feel,” said Helen Zielinski Landon.”

“I think it’s a fine idea as long as cameras playing classical music are not a replacement for officers on duty,” wrote Suzie Mannara.

Police apparently agree.

“We hear you! The cameras are what we call a force multiplier. They give us extra eyes and ears. We are not decreasing deployment because of their placement,” the department replied.

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