bbc news and the daily mail are reporting on the use of street performers to reduce violence. while the connection may seem tenuous, it is founded on a demonstrable empirical insight: that drunks are dangerous but very easily distracted. from bbc:

Stilt-walkers and fire-eaters have been employed by police to help reduce public disorder in Staffordshire.

The four-hour, circus-style, street performances took place in Newcastle-under-Lyme at the weekend.

The aim was to distract night-time revellers and reduce the likelihood of fights breaking out in the town centre, Staffordshire Police said.

Similar strategies had previously been employed by Greater Manchester Police with success, the force said.

The street entertainment was accompanied by police foot patrols and evidence gathering officers.

A force spokesman said: “The operation was a great success and had the desired effect of vastly reducing the number of arrests officers had to make during the evening…

even if such programs fail to reduce after-bar assaults, they might bring ancillary job creation benefits. as the recession deepens, the market for fire-eaters and stilt-walkers (not to mention fire-walkers and stilt-eaters) is surely deteriorating.