07/31/2012 08:19 EDT

Calgary Piano Crime: Will A Piano On Stephen Avenue Decrease Crime?


Does a street piano in downtown Calgary have the keys to crime prevention?

Criminal justice professor Nikki Filipuzzi and her students from Mount Royal University will find out, as they installed a piano on Stephen Avenue in June to attract spectators and decrease crime, according to the Calgary Herald.

“The more eyes you have in the area and the more people you have doing good things in an area, the less crime and things are happening," Executive Director of the Calgary Downtown Association Maggie Schofield said of the project, in the Herald.

It's a tune Canada has heard before -- Filipuzzi's class installed a piano in Cochrane last summer after hearing crime prevention consultant Steve Woolrich explain how he first implemented the concept in Canada in Red Deer.

But crime prevention isn't as simple as Beethoven over bullets, Filipuzzi has explained.

“It’s not going to stop crime, but it brings together a community and builds a feeling of ownership to the area where the piano is positioned," she said last year.

The piano doesn't strike the right chord with everyone; some worry the piano might get destroyed or attract undesirables. At first Schofield felt uneasy too, but has "seen that it’s engaging people."

Others cities seem to agree, as Toronto, and Victoria have also had street pianos to engage the public. British artist Luke Jerram is credited with first bringing pianos to the street. His "Play Me I'm Yours" project began in England to spark interaction between people and has spread to various European cities and New York.