South Sound News

Tacoma businesses playing loud music to discourage loiterers

TACOMA, Wash. — As part of efforts to keep transients away and discourage people from loitering, two Walgreens locations and a 7-11 in Tacoma have resorted to playing loud music through an outdoor speaker system.

“William Tell overture, circus, big top what you expect to hear at the circus, Count Dracula organs, and then there’s one more I don’t remember the name of,” Michael Deibert, who lives in the complex next to the Walgreens on Pacific and 84th, said. “I could have my headphones on music playing and I can hear that through the walls over my headphones.”

Walgreens sent KIRO 7 a statement about the loud music it plays at these locations: “The safety of our patients, customers, and team members is our priority. This Walgreens participates in a program designed to discourage loitering by playing music at select times.”

KIRO 7 spoke to some of the people staying in an encampment behind one of the Walgreens locations. The people staying there said they have no intention of leaving.

“They play Beethoven all day,” one of the men said. “Just block it out.”

A 7-11 is also using the same strategy to keep transients away. However, neighbors say the noise is more of a nuisance to them.

“All day long! It goes throughout the night,” Alicia Ratterree said. “I know what it’s for and I don’t necessarily stand for that.”

The City of Tacoma sent KIRO 7 more than a dozen noise complaints that have been filed between the three locations. So far, only one has been issued a citation by the Neighborhood and Community Code Enforcement.

Tacoma Police said citations like this do not fall under police jurisdiction and are typically issued by code enforcement. TPD said they are actively working on a resolution for these complaints because callers are being put through a revolving door without any tangible solutions or changes.

“We’re exploring the option of moving, but we’ve been talking about it for the last year between having to deal with the music, the transients,” Deibert said.

KIRO 7 is still waiting to hear back from 7-11 for comment.

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