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Austin 7-Eleven owner says he is using opera music as a deterrent against homeless, solicitors

Owner Jagat Patel said he has been playing the music nonstop. Customers tell him it's working.

AUSTIN, Texas — A business owner in South Austin is playing loud opera music as a deterrent from people soliciting and leaving items on his property.

Jagat Patel is the owner of a 7-Eleven at the intersection of  East Oltorf Street and Parker Lane.

"The music we have been playing for 10 days is 24/7," Patel said.

Patel said this comes after there have been issues with the homeless encampment next to the store.

"Three or four people waiting and coming to your window asking for money or stuff they need and, a lot of time when the customer declines, they will kick the tire or get upset. So it’s affecting our business," Patel said.

Patel said he also found items on his property.

"I had to pay a private company to come and clean my store yard because it was full of needles, and my landscaper won’t service the yard. It is from next door because you know they throw stuff over the fence," said Patel.

He said he hopes this music acts as a deterrent.

"We heard of other businesses coming up with solutions to figure out how to eliminate people from congregating in the parking lot," Patel said. "Studies have shown that classic musical, opera music is annoying and keeps people from congregating."

Salem stays at the homeless encampment and hears the music.

"Absolutely obnoxious and, I don’t know, it’s just a nightmare. Incredibly loud. Two or three times, we have been able to hear it on the other side of the complex," Salem said.

She said it was unnecessary and does not believe they are doing anything wrong.

"It’s never really an issue that I can see," she said.

Patel said he has noticed a change since he started playing the music.

"Customers tell us, 'Hey, there is nobody in the parking lot. Nobody came to my window to ask for a dollar.' The customers are saying it’s working," Patel said.

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