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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Security at Melbourne Train Stations

The news has been reporting a number of assaults and robberies at Melbourne train stations - particularly those located on the Frankston/Pakenham/Werribee/Cranbourne lines, plus the city stations. I have observed an interesting (and I think effective) way of driving away the criminal element that seems to be having an effect on gangs of teenagers who like to hang out at train stations.  

I witnessed it first at Glen Waverley station - it's quite simple:

The most hideous musak you have ever heard in your entire life blasted through the loudspeakers. No loitering groups seem to want to listen to the latest musak version of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" for the tenth time in a row.

Now this is no laughing matter, train stations have become quite dangerous of late and there seems to be a lack of ideas on how to protect the innocent people who just need to catch a train.

The muck-up antics of hundreds of kids were not deterred by this musak onslaught. Probably because the din from hundreds of excited year 12s would drown anything out, even "Reggie Dixon's Tango Treats".

This is a tactic that can be applied at other high risk stations to basically drive people away using the power of uncoolness. This doesn't solve the problem, it's only part of the solution.
Other measures could include extra bright lighting at all stations (not just "premium" stations), effective CCTV coverage. CCTV coverage is no good if there is nobody around to help those in danger. CCTV captures video bytes for the news - the important part is deploying the police, using station masters, ticket inspectors and various other security personnel. These tactics could be used in the loop and inner-city stations to usher people in and out of the city quickly.

The idea of blasting musak acts as a kind of repellant dog whistle to those who would not wish to be associated with "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" or any other other related songs. I noted that Taylor Dane seems to drive people away, and I have observed Anastacia to work just as well. The people at Connex have clearly done their homework because they never seem to play anything like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac or any other artists likely to be appreciated by all.

I suggest Connex implements this policy throughout other stations in Melbourne, along with the vitally important policing and monitoring measures to ensure that crime at Melbourne train stations is kept to a minimum.


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