West Palm Beach, FL – City of West Palm Beach officials are hoping the baby shark song will discourage homeless people from sleeping on city property.
The wildly popular children’s tune “Baby Shark” with hours of the “doo doo doo doo da doo” refrain on a loop is just one of the songs the city is hoping will drive the homeless population away from their revenue-generating pavilion, The Palm Beach Post reported.
The Lake Pavilion is a glass-walled event venue owned by the city that features views of the waterfront and downtown’s Great Lawn.
It can be rented for events and is popular for weddings, business meetings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, and graduation parties. It generates significant revenue for West Palm Beach.
The pavilion hosted at least 164 events between June of 2018 and June of 2019, The Palm Beach Post reported.
The city anticipates earning $240,000 in revenue from event rentals at the pavilion this fiscal year.
But lately, the posh event venue has become a popular spot for the homeless to bed down in the park at night, The Palm Beach Post reported.
West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Director Leah Rockwell said people begin arriving as early as 5 a.m. to set up for their private events in the pavilion.
Parties may go until midnight and Rockwell said brides, wedding guests, and staff leaving a wedding reception shouldn’t have to step over bodies on their way out the door, The Palm Beach Post reported.
“People are paying a lot of money to use the facility,” Rockwell said. “Thousands of dollars. We want to make sure people paying this money had a facility that was clean and open and continue to use it in the future.”
So the city has begun playing “Baby Shark” and another children’s song, “Raining Tacos,” on a loop on the patio of the pavilion in an effort to discourage people from trying to sleep there, according to The Palm Beach Post.
This isn’t the first time a municipality in Palm Beach County has fought dirty with music, but it hasn’t always worked.
Three years ago, Lake Worth Beach tried playing soft, classical music, day and night, in an attempt to drive drug dealers and homeless people from a downtown plaza.
But unfortunately, the loiterers enjoyed the music so it didn’t solve the problem, according to The Palm Beach Post.
West Palm Beach police tried the same tactic 15 years ago to get the drug dealers off Tamarind Avenue.
Police blasted classical music from the rooftops and locked the speakers inside protective metal casings so that nobody could mess with them, The Palm Beach Post reported.
That lasted until a creative person finally smashed the electrical cabinet that powered the speakers to put an end to the noise.
So far, the efforts in Lake Pavilion Park appear to be more successful, The Palm Beach Post reported.
“It has been effective and is a temporary measure to make the area accessible for those who have rented the facility and for future events,” Rockwell said. “We are not forcing individuals to stay on the patio of the pavilion to listen to the music. The music is heard only if you are on the patio, a very small area relative to the rest of the waterfront.”
City officials said that they are working with several non-profits to help the homeless get signed up for mental health services, job training, and other programs.
The city also offers homeless people free one-way bus tickets back to their hometowns, according to The Palm Beach Post.
“Our staff and our partners know all the homeless by name and engage with them on a regular basis,” Jennifer Ferriol, director of Housing and Community Development for West Palm Beach, told The Palm Beach Post.