Dear PoP: Anti-teen Noise-weapon Hits DC at Chinatown Metro

“Dear PoP,

I noticed (perhaps an understatement) a fairly disturbing development at the Chinatown exit of the Metro–someone seemed to have installed one of those British anti-loitering devices that emit a pitch that only teens can hear.  This clearly is not the case as you wouldn’t be receiving this email–I’m 25 and not quite a nuisance, however I’m subject to hearing a pitch that causes headaches and induces nausea.  Today it was audible from just past the Metro turnstiles.  I’m wondering if you’ve heard about this and if it’s been installed by a public or business organization.

I’ve attached a picture (see above)  I snapped of the device, called a Mosquito.”

Wow, I remember hearing about this device but had no idea it was deployed in DC. I went to check it out Monday afternoon and sure enough it was right above the metro at Gallery Place/Chinatown on the 7th and H St, NW side (a frequent teen hangout):

I have to admit my 35 year old ears didn’t notice anything. Have any other readers noticed this sound/pitch outside the Chinatown metro? But if this is indeed an anti-teen loitering device that emits a painful pitch do you think it is fair game or over the line for a nearby business to deploy?

According to Wikipedia the device is sold in the US and they sum up the the debate nicely:

“The Mosquito has attracted controversy on the basis of human rights. Critics say that it discriminates against young people and infringes their human rights, while supporters argue that making the Mosquito illegal would infringe the human rights of shopkeepers who suffer business losses when “unruly teenagers” drive away their customers.”

206 Comment

  • I heartily approve! We could use a few more of them in this town.

  • Especially if it works.

  • 3 thumbs up!!!

  • At the ripe old age of 27, I can hear it, but it sounds more like a phone that isn’t being picked up. At least now I know what it is and I don’t have to look like a fool, stick my ear in my bag.

  • Moar! Moar! Please install moar of these!!!!

  • Can I buy one of these for my alley? Anyone know?

  • I thought they were saying teens have terrible hearing these days due to continuous ipod use?

    • Seriously, if people are standing around with earbuds, what good does this do?

      I’ve always said the best thing about the fact that everyone has white earbuds shoved in their ears is that now, you can fart in public.

  • I’m 26 and can hear it, but since I am generally passing through that are fairly quickly it doesn’t seem that irritating.

  • I’m for it. Now if they only made one for panhandlers.

  • Are you kidding me? This is incredibly offensive. Even IF I bought into the logic that teens are a pain in the ass, it’s STILL terrible. First off, it’s a PUBLIC space. Teens have just as much right as you or I to be here. What about children whose parents are just walking past the area. It’s not physical harm, but if someone walked up to you and shouted in your ear, wouldn’t you be similarly appalled to them walking up and slapping you in the face?

    Who installed this? Here’s a question: does it violate DC’s noise ordinance laws? I see it only goes up to 108 dB most of the time, which I’m reading is similar to a rock concert or a chainsaw.

    • Something tells me there’s almost nothing that wouldn’t offend you and send you into fits of righteous indignation

      • Thanks for the slam that doesn’t really add anything to the discussion. Actually, I’d say quite the opposite is true. I can’t remember the last time I was this incensed.

        • Genocide, rape, random murder, and the collapsing world economy don’t upset you, but a buzzing mosquito noise only audible to kids that is at worst an annoyance to such kids leaves you outraged. Perhaps you should re-examine your personal outrage hierarchy.

        • have you actually walked by it?

        • you can’t remember the last time you were this incensed? wow.

        • You’re an idiot. If this is what enrages you, you need to open the paper and watch the news a bit more. This has ZERO harmful effects on anyone. It is an annoyance!!– much like loitering is an annoyance! We all deal with annoyances frequently. Smart teenagers will simply move along rather than stop and loiter and create a public nuisance or safety issue in the space. Have you ever had a fire truck pass you while you were walking down the street? Kind of sucked– right? But were you enraged and incensed?! That siren has a purpose– so does this one. Get over your righteous indignation and realize that this is good for the public!!

          • You say that it has zero harmful effects on anyone when even in the text above it says “a pitch that causes headaches and induces nausea”. I’m 14 and was at Gallery place to hear my friends -also teens- busk outside the station; a job they are paid to do by metro. After less than a minute of being there, we had to relocate because the noise emanating from whatever that contraption is was giving us all intense migraines. This Mosquito is no less than a torture device targeting teenagers even though we are not the only loiterers or nuisances around! What would be good for the public is learning that living in an urban area comes with consequences such as annoying loiterers or rowdy crowds of all kinds of people. You’re telling us teens to deal with this pain inducing annoyance? why don’t you just deal with the annoyance we cause you?

        • LOL. I think you just proved the guy’s point. Time to get a hobby.

    • I have to agree. I understand the frustrations of people hanging out in Chinatown for long lengths of time, but this should be illegal. I have no idea how this can be construed as anything but terribly intrusive. How about we enforce loitering and curfew?

    • Teens have just as much right as you or I to be here.

      I’m 30+ and I totally agree.

    • I agree … why is there such pro- for this? It’s discriminatory, and I don’t see how being *for* this is anything different from “Those darn kids!”

      We can look away from things but not listen away … since I take care of my hearing, I can apparently look forward to being pushed out of public places for a long time.

  • I’m 35 and I could only barely hear the one for my age range. I listened to all the others though, and they made me sneeze. Is that a side effect?

    Oh, and I’m totally all for these. I’d like to carry a portable one in my purse. (Get off my lawn, grumble grumble, etc…)

  • Wow, really, people? A sonic device that targets people for being young? And this is ok because some young people have annoyed you or frightened you walking into Bed Bath and Beyond? Seriously I hope most of these comments are just jokes. This is clearly a civil liberties violation, and a just plain moral problem.

    • um, street harassment is a crime the police don’t prosecute. I get what you’re saying, but let someone sue to get it down, until then, alls fair in love and war and this is a war.

      • Does anyone know the device’s range? The OP mentioned hearing it just past the metro gates. That’s a pretty far distance and down a level. Am I going to hear this thing at Matchbox if I’m sitting outside? If Chinatown is infested with noise from this thing, I’ll probably go there less. I’m 26 years old, and not be chased out of a neighborhood by some asshole with a ladder and a power outlet. Forget a lawsuit. Someone ought to bring another ladder and a pair of wire cutters. This is street harassment as well.

        I think you hit an important point, though, which is total complacency from MPD. They allowed this area to get to be a problem and they need to fix it. If they put this up, it’s an offensive, and criminally lazy bit of police work. I think it was more likely a business, but I hope someone finds out. This is not the answer, though. Better police work is.

        • No, it’s not street harassment. Street harassment is a bunch of loud, obnoxious teenagers cursing, shoving each other, and intimidating everyone who walks by. The noisemaking device will hopefully REDUCE street harassment!

          • You’re completely missing the point. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about myself and other law abiding people who will now feel less welcome in Chinatown. It sounds like this has a range of about half a city block. I don’t want to go listen to that. I won’t go to Chinatown until it’s taken down AND MPD starts actually having a presence there. Even when cops are there, they’re usually talking to each other and not paying the least bit of attention to the plaza. This is not the answer to this problem.

      • unfortunately sexual street harassment is often done by dirty old men on 14th street. I don’t think I could stand their noise.

    • this is not targeting them for being young, it is targeting them for loitering, a crime.

      • is it loitering if you are waiting for the bus?

        • Of course, because if you take the bus, clearly you’re poor, and everyone knows poor people don’t have rights. Duh!

        • and its outer range is 25 years old. Do these shops really want to keep a 25 year old away? I have sensitive ears and can hear this thing for almost a block. If their were a restaurant patio or a farmers market in the area I wouldn’t be able to go. I’m not a loud teenager, I’m a 26 year old making more then $50,000 a year who likes to shop/ eat/ hang out in Chinatown. I’m the demographic you’d think Chinatown shop owners and developers would want to attract. This is a matter of persecuting people for being young.

          • I fall into the same demographic as you, but it’s the unruly teens that keep me from patronizing Chinatown’s businesses.

      • No, it’s targeting them for being young. It’s not like the young people who aren’t loitering can’t hear it. And it’s not like all the people who are loitering can hear it; only the young ones.

        It makes no logical sense, no matter how you look at it. First, it assumes that all loiterers are young (not true). Then it also assumes the reverse, which is that all young people loiter (also not true).

        • You are right Tim but this device can be used for all ages. We are all assuming that this is being used for teens because it has the capability to target only teens. But it can be used to disperse loiterers of all ages.

          Also, this disperses loiterers. It is only annoying if you stick around to listen to it. It gets people (of any age) moving. Like the police do or crossing guards do or shop workers do. They want people moving. It’s typical crowd control. Like cars in the city, all that’s needed sometimes is good flow to keep everyone happy.

    • No problem w/ the kids being kids. When they start beating random strangers for the hell of it, they’ve given up their rights.

    • I’ll take a little mosquito buzz anyday over having to listen to the most vile, filthy language I have ever heard, coming from these feral kids on a daily basis in this area.

  • oh man, I’m 25 and the lowest one I can here is the 45 year old one. 🙁

  • I can hear all of them. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

    I don’t buy the argument that teenagers have “the right” to loiter. Rights come with responsibilities and until a person assumes the full responsibility of adulthood they are not entitled to the same rights that adults have. Furthermore loitering isn’t a right for anyone of any age.

    I didn’t even know this device existed, and if I heard it at chinatown, I’ve probably attributed it to all the electronic signs. But I’m all for it.

    • I don’t think anyone is asserting that teenagers have the right to loiter. And you’re completely right: no one has the right to loiter.

      But, for the most part, teenagers have the right to be in public places. And remember that this isn’t just targeting teenagers. It targets anyone with the hearing of the average 25-year-old or younger. There are some legal exceptions to people under 18 having the right to be in public places, but there’s no difference in the law between a 18 and 55 in this regard.

      • If I can hear it, and OP who is 35 can hear it–then it isn’t targeting teenagers is it? It is targeting everyone who is spending any amount of time hanging out in the vicinity of the noise.

      • I was a loitering, inconsiderate, obnoxious prick when I was a teenager. Solipsism is a function of age. F teenagers.

  • Wait, so people under 25 don’t have the right to be in certain places, merely due to our age?

    And, furthermore, people 25 and older don’t ever cause problems in these places?

  • agreed that they need to find the bum frequency. and the teabagger frequency.

  • I would be against it, (I’m 25 and could just barely hear the 13-25 one, the 30 and under made my teeth hurt though, ugh!), except that the website says that it has a 20 minute limit- it’s only continuous if you have a special “local authority” chipset. So it would have to be deployed situationally. If it’s used as a deterrent against specific BEHAVIOR rather than just played all day to keep teenagers from hanging around, that’s fine. I guess I might be annoyed by the sound if I was there, but I would probably be too busy being annoyed by rowdy kids anyway. BUT if this is Metro/MPD and it is going all the time, that seems pretty unfair to everyone in that age range.

    Also, any bets as to how long the actual thing lasts before the kids figure it out and destroy it?

    My ears are still ringing a little from that trial…I really hope they don’t run it all the time…

  • What’s it going to do to my 10-month old’s hearing?


    • Why is your 10-month old hanging outside the metro late night?

      • Snarkiness is entertaining . . . if you can back it up. The poster mentioned that he/she heard it during the day. Eat it, anon.

        Of all the people that could hear this thing under the age of 25, a very, very small percentage loiter in large, somewhat menacing packs. This is a rather indiscriminate way to handle the teen loitering problem. And the younger the ears, the easier they are to damage. Does anyone know anything about how these things impact kids?

        • they don’t. they produce sound that’s well within the range of all the other sounds in the city. some of which are also annoying, like kids crying, fire trucks, etc. deal with it.

        • Don’t worry about your 10-month-old’s hearing. Worry about what the kid’s going to be getting into, hanging out with a pack of his or her friends around Chinatown on summer evenings 15 years from now.


    • living in the city is bad for your childs ear. trains are bad for your childs ear. cars are bad for your childs ear.

    • The age range is 13-25… My 3-month old didn’t react when I played listened to the tone on my computer.

  • Didn’t DC drop the loitering law? This is according to several ward 4 police officers.

  • Wow, I thought this post was an Onion-style joke when I first saw it. I can’t believe that this is a real item, and moreover, that DC is utilizing it. I get as annoyed by teens hanging out in bunches as anyone, but they annoy me just as much in suburban malls, or wherever they might choose to congregate. Last I checked, being young and a bit unruly wasn’t a felony, but rather a natural part of growing up. Plus, better that they hang out around here than sling on the corners, at least.

  • What hours will the mosquito be active? There is a teen curfew, so I could see it being used for that purpose. But running during normal daylight hours (or at 3 am when people are sleeping) would be offensive, since it doesn’t impact its intended ranges (based merely on the comments above).

  • +1 in the approve camp. Install more of them! This isn’t violating anyone’s civil liberties. They can still stand wherever they like…so long as they’re willing to put up with the noise. In other words, it offers to them what they (and protesters and street preachers and whatever else) offer to us: annoyance. Neither stops anyone from congregating wherever they want.

    • it offers to them what they … offer to us: annoyance

      It seems as if “them” and “they” are referring to two different groups. The target of this device is anyone under 25. The people who annoy you is a small subset of that group (and, in fact, most likely, people who aren’t in that group too).

  • A McDonald’s in Bethesda did a low-rent version of this decades ago – just by playing classical music.

  • Weapon? Really PoP? Editorialize much?

    Install ’em everywhere!

  • i have some issues with this, but first want to share some info from the faq section of the website posted above ( the description in PoP’s intro is misleading, i believe. essentially, the noise isn’t designed to make you vomit; it’s designed to be annoying. this isn’t a sonic weapon but rather something more akin to really annoying muzak that only some folks can hear.

    How does the Mosquito system work?
    The Mosquito is essentially a sound device that emits a very high frequency modulated one (17.5-18.5 kHz) that is completely harmless even with long term use.

    I am not a teenager, will the Mosquito annoy me?
    When the dispersing device is set to the youth-only setting, this is very unlikely and research has shown that the majority of people over the age of 25 have lost the ability to hear at this frequency range. It should be noted, however, that the unit usually has the desired effect of moving crowds of anti-social youth away within just a few minutes, at which time the unit can be turned off. So even if you are able to hear the noise to some degree, you would not have to put up with it for long.

    What about dogs and small children?
    Although dogs and small children have very acute hearing and are easily able to hear at this frequency, extensive testing shows that it does not appear to bother them when the Mosquito is set to the youth-only setting.

  • I would think that the effects of the mosquito would legally be assault.

  • I never heard of this device until this post — POP improving my education again. It sounds like something out of a Star Trek episode. It also sounds quite dehumanizing.

  • typical DC solution-move the problem along.

    so, the mosquito annoys the youth, they get on the metro, move on down to the navy memorial, or up to DCUSA, or who knows where, to congregate elsewhere, presumably with all the same joys and pains that happened in Gallery Place.

    it’s like pushing the drug dealers further and further east with lazy policing and community action policies.

    a very short term, temporary solution, to a cultural problem that needs a much more intelligent, work-intensive solution involving all of the stakeholders of this city.

    • when drug users took over my alley, i did things to make it uncomfortable for them. so they moved elsewhere. made me happier.
      i should suffer so another person doesnt have to?

      • me

        Ooh, what did you do? I need ideas for my druggies in my alley!

      • “I should suffer so another person doesnt have to?”

        How myopic. We all suffer through this shit. You really think moving a drug dealer a block or two over solves your problem? Out of sight out of mind I guess. Sad. Very sad. No sense of shared responsibility in this culture anymore, no goal of solving problems rather than just throwing them on someone else. Nothing but a downward spiral with that method.

        • are you kidding? The other anonymous did their part. If they move 2 blocks down and someone else does whatever the first anonymous did, they move on from there. When a community as a whole isn’t tolerant of this behavior, it makes it more difficult for that behavior to exist in the community. What exactly did you want first anonymous to do?

        • well, it was me you’re insulting and judging. no sense of shared responsibility huh? you know me? no you don’t bitch, so sit down.
          i work with kids on my block. i give coupons and food to the homeless. i give clothes to the shelter, both the homeless shelter near me, and the battered womens shelter downtown. i sternly talk to local kids going astray. i visit their parents. i clean up my block and my bus stop. i donate money. i work with my neighbors and we call the cops. i hire bums to weed my tree box, wash my car, and move stuff. i’ve paid them to shovel my elderly neighbors sidewalk. i let them use my water to wash other peoples cars. i let them borrow my tools so they can do work around the neighborhood.
          so fuck you if it makes me feel better that i don’t have to wait for the crackheads to finish before i can park my car in the alley. fuck you if you think its wrong for me to protect my property from that activity and from prostitution and dealing. fuck you if you think its okay for me to be physically threatened for my activities.

          so yes, i feel better if the drug dealers move two blocks, so do my neighbors, and you would too you smug prick.

          watch who the fuck you judge as sad, downward spiraling and myopic. you’d be lucky as shit to have me as a neighbor. unless you came at me with that attitude.

    • +1 As long as they are not in my way when I go to get my full length mirror and ironing board at BB&B.

    • “…needs a much more intelligent, work-intensive solution involving all of the stakeholders of this city.”

      That’s hilarious! What a wonderfully meaningless statement!

  • Why not “invent” a sound that audible valium.

  • I do not like this one bit. I’m 24 and have been in places before where these things are in use, and it is instantly headache-inducing. There are plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons for people under 25 to be standing around in that area. There are two bus stops within earshot (and we all know how reliably Metro buses follow their schedules), and because of its central location, the Chinatown exit from the Metrorail station is frequently a very convenient meeting place. I shouldn’t be punished for protecting my hearing to this point in my life and wanting to enjoy the area around the Chinatown station.

    Now I get to choose between plugging my ears to prevent migraines and using another exit from the Metro station. I’m not so lazy that I am actually complaining about this, but the point is that I shouldn’t have to do this to avoid a noisebox that shouldn’t be there in the first place. I’m all for dealing with the loitering problem, but this is not the way to go about it.

    • +1. Those machines are godawful even for gainfully employed people in their 20s.

      Whatever, like I need another excuse to visit Chinatown less often. I’ll just take my money somewhere else.

  • I can’t hear anything over the guy “witnessing” for Jeebus every morning. Can we find his frequency please?

  • I am EXTREMELY Happy with these devices. I really think they need to make much greater use of them throughout the entire metro area. My alley could certainly use them, that’s for sure. I’m going to look into getting one an installing it in our backyard.

    This is a wonderful idea. More of these, please!!!!

  • What about the annoying kids from Gallaudet? They are such trouble makers on the Metro. Ignoring the last stop announcement and my mumblings.

  • I think it’s a great idea! being a 30yr old. I think they put the noise maker there to keep down on teenagers that are making trouble in the area, buy harrassing passengers trying to get home, and I also think they put it there to keep that area clear of people loitering the area! I think they should put them anywhere there are hooligans just standing around looking for trouble. If they want to just hang out, go to the mall! go to the Rec center, go get a job! We were all at the age, and I do remember hanging out at the mall and the rent-a-cops telling us to move on! Teenagers do cause trouble and are up to no good. any mass of kids should be kept an eye on.

  • Typical. Treat the symptom not the disease. DC needs to step up and figure out the teen problem, but frankly, if DC won’t do it, then businesses have a right to deal with it for their own sakes.

  • Reminds me of the Kids vs. Adults song from The Simpsons.

  • I don’t think anyone has mentioned that kids themselves take advantage of this technology, in the form of age-specific ringtones that their teachers can’t hear. For my prof friends who didn’t destroy their hearing in their 20s, the high-pitched squeaks every 30 seconds while they’re trying to conduct class is pretty irritating. Unfortunately, a teacher can’t just move it along.

  • I just want to know how we can get these things installed at 14th and Columbia and outside Trinity Towers on 14th!

  • THATS what that noise was!

  • I don’t think anyone has mentioned that kids themselves take advantage of this technology,too.

  • From the DC Human Rights Act: (I’ve added emphasis for the relevant clauses)

    “It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice to do any of the following acts, wholly or partially for a discriminatory reason based on the actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business of any individual:

    “(1) To deny, directly or indirectly, any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodations;”

    • so does a curfew violate the human rights act? What about truancy laws?

    • The loud music played via external speakers by the owners of the store at the corner 7th and Florida has the effect of annoying me and making me want to move along quickly. Should I also accuse them of violating my civil rights?

  • What a disgusting show of comments! Loitering–so long as it’s peaceful–is protected under the First Amendment. Everyone has a right to stand around at the Metro station, and this thing might even constitute a noise disturbance under the DC noise regulations, since its primary purpose is to disturb the peace.

  • I’m over 25 and it gave me an instant headache. I have a toddler and use that metro a lot. Though I understand people’s concern with loitering teens, I really don’t think that children, teens and adults not immune to the sound (probably a majority group) should be subjected to this annoyance during the day. I especially don’t want my toddler getting a headache b/c we had to ride the metro that day.

  • It’s better than tear gas!

    • If that area keeps on the downward spiral, tear gas will be happening soon enough. Then imagine the public response.

  • I heard this coming out of the metro around 8pm yesterday. I couldn’t figure out what it was, but it’s certainly very annoying. (I’m 25.)

    I’m with Left for LeDroit and the DC Human Rights Act on this. The device is clearly discriminatory and all the people complaining that kids hang out in Chinatown probably shouldn’t be living in a city. Certainly, crime committed in the area should be addressed, but this is not the way to do it. At best, it will shift young criminals to other parts of the city. At worst it will simply make them aggravated and thus more likely to engage in the behaviors you all find so appalling.

    • I think it’s pretty obvious (based on comments here and the linked website) that these devices can be set to affect people of a variety of ages. How do we know for sure that’s the case here? I’m in my late 20’s and I heard it. (It was more annoying than anything.) How can it “clearly discriminatory” when readers of various ages have heard it?

  • There are people 18 – 25 who are legal adults, have adult jobs, mortgages and who have even started raising families.

    Should they be subjected to this too?

  • I think the preferred age of military recruits is 18 – 26.

    Think about it.

    An 18 – 20 year old can vote and be sent to war to kill people to protect our country, but that same person at home can not buy a drink.

    Now, the business owners at the Gallery Place metro stop want to know that they are also not welcome to shop.


    • The business owners aren’t telling young people not to shop there. The devices just make it less likely that kids will want to loiter there. Big difference between shopping and loitering.

    • Exactly. Keep in mind all of you that are worrying about this effecting you are not the ones hanging out at Gallery Place all hours of the night. Those teens are loitering, rather waiting/looking for trouble. No one in their right mind would stand for hours at the metro hollering at women as they walk by, getting involved in fights, etc.

      I’m in my early 20s, and would like to see this expanded. Put one of these things on the damn steps at the Portrait Gallery. I love going out in the Gallery Place area, but lately it has become too loud and unsafe.

    • Did you have a point? Since you didn’t contribute to the discussion, I will assume that your point was that the new device put people on edge and contributed to the fight(s).

  • You know where a lot of 18-25 year olds “hangout”? Afghanistan and Pakistan. I don’t think that it is fair to deride this age group on the basis of what a few knucklehead loiterers do.

    I met a young soldier this summer and I could not believe how young he looked, and he was going back for a second tour. That’s the demographic of your defenders of democracy and the right to party, 18-25.

    Just sayin’.

    • I made a similar point a few posts up.

      What about the legal adults 18 and over?

      Business owners don’t care about THOSE 18 – 25 year olds. They are not a problem. They are in Afghanistan. They are not in DC to loiter around their businesses or sue the &*$%^# out of them for discrimination.

    • Now THAT’s some specious reasoning! Well done, mphs.

    • I agree with your premise, but don’t you think a soldier would be less sensitive to noise after spending 6,12,18 months firing assault rifles and hearing artillery discharges? Do you think they would prefer the annoyance of the noise deterrent or the nuisances of their peers that they just risked their life to defend?

  • Who authorized this? DC govt? Metro? Private business? Was there any public discussion? Who paid for it? Are there any regulations addressing the use of these? Can anyone put one up outside their house or apt. building or business?

    Fenty & Gray – do you have a position on this?

    Whichever side you support, I find it extremely troubling that something like this can just appear in a public space by surprise.

  • Sounds like most of the commenters here are all just to old!

    • It is “too old” whipper snapper.

      BTW, I am white, middle aged and am extremely against these devices. I think they are degrading and have written so.

      Now get off my lawn.

  • I never heard of this device by “Moving Sound Technologies” until this post.

    The closest thing to it that I was aware of are sonic devices to drive rodents out of homes.

    So, businesses are using a technology for rats on children and some adults.

    I wonder what kind of people those teenagers will turn out to be and what kind of society we will have.

    I hope some lawyer sues this device out of existence.

    • Actually, businesses are using a technology that teens themselves use to evade detection while fucking around on their cell phones in class.

  • What if the technology is defective?

    What if teenagers decide to loiter despite the unpleasant sound and the irritation just pushes them into becoming more volatile?

  • When did a large group of *perceived* unruly teens become sufficient interference with your daily life to justify arguably riot deterrent equipment. Warrantless wiretaps and extended searches and seizures are next right? All in the name of safety I am sure. Need to get into that Target or Bed Bath and Beyond to buy cheap stuff from China. Which consequently puts the American’s out of work, the same Americans who are loitering without a job that become your nuisance who need to be separated.

  • Why do we assume it’s target towards teens? The product CAN target teens but it can also be used for move people of ALL AGES. So let’s stop talking about age discrimination. We’ve already heard from past comments that people over 25 can hear it. We’ve also heard from past comments that people from all ages can’t hear anything at all. So let’s stop the age discrimination talk.

    This device is just about moving people around downtown. Not to hurt them.

    We all share the public space. So in a city (where we have lots of people and not to much space) we need to be more aware of sharing the space. You can’t occupy a space downtown for too long a time. You have to keep moving! You can stand in front of the escalators but you can’t stay there for too long. It causes traffic jams. You have to keep moving.

    No one is taking away anyone’s rights here. At least not in this case. It’s getting people moving!

    A traffic light isn’t taking away our rights to drive! It helps us stop and go, it helps the public create a flow that’s safe for the public.

    • That traffic light analogy is pretty terrible.

      If you want to counter the ‘taking away rights’ argument it isn’t to compare it to something like driving, which isn’t a right, for one, and is completely different from who should or shouldn’t be on a public corner.

      And I’ve never seen a ‘traffic jam’ coming out of that escalator, with people falling over each other, all because kids were acting a fool at the exit.

      • Speed limits would have been a better analogy, but his point is the lights are a matter of public safety. I think large groups of rowdy teens constitute the potential to be a public safety issue.

        For those that disapprove of the noise device, exercise your right to protest/right to assemble and file for a permit to do so on that corner. You can request that the device impedes your ability to protest, thereby infringing on your right to free speech. You can ask that it be dismantled during your protest period. You can get permits for every night of the week and really show this intrusive government who the boss is. I would encourage you to educate those you defend on how to appropriately confront the perceived injustices, rather than sit here and complain. If they are receptive, maybe you can encourage them to take up other causes you deem worthy, explain to them the importance of public restraint and common courtesy in our sacred republic. I would also encourage mentoring sessions to instill the importance of education, self-discipline, and hard work. Thank you for your efforts in advance and Good luck.

      • Really? I’ve pretty frequently had to squeeze past groups of teens to exit the metro after asking them politely to move 2-3 times.

  • No one is stopping you/them from shopping in the stores, where the noise is no longer in public… if they can hear it in the store, the store has a legit beef. I would guess the bucket drummers play at a volume that exceeds the public nuisance/noise laws. Any complainers? No b/c they add jive to the corner… Can’t these kids listen to the iPod’s they stole from you? Oh, that was just a joke…

  • I am TOTALLY fine with this.

    • Totally fine w/giving a free pass for lazy policing? Because that’s all this is – rather than dealing w/individual kids breaking the law, they’ve essentially tried to make a public place off limits to *all* kids.

      Slothful, typical, and probably illegal.

  • I am ALL for it. I am 29 and could only hear the 45 and older frequency – which means I must be partially deaf. This being said, I hate those stupid teenagers loitering and making me feel uncomfortable with their language and aggressive behavior. Though, on the other hand, it’ll probably send the 13-18 year olds back home to procreate and keep the cycle going…

  • This is great. Simply a wonderful addition to Gallery Place. No more riots, perchance? No more beatings of bystadners by bored thugs with AWOL parents, perchance?

  • That corner is where people wait for WMATA buses, the H St connector, and the Circulator.

    Thats going to be a pleasant wait now.

  • I don’t even know if it’s that effective in keep the teenagers away. I went to a movie a few Saturdays ago and there were tons congregated nearby. It’s just pushing them in front of storefronts. And it’s pretty much aggravating to all the young professionals who have to endure it.

  • The most hilarious thing about this thread is the large number of people who appear to accept this as the best the city can do to address the problem of disorderly juveniles. Just move them somewhere else and let that neighborhood deal with them.

  • I’m 24 (and gainfully employed) and this sound makes me feel physically ill. I go to Chinatown pretty often, but it’s not so appealing to me that I’m willing to put up with headaches and nausea to spend my money there.

    I agree that something needs to be done about the loitering crowds of teenagers, but this is a terrible “solution” that targets anyone who happens to be able to hear it. It’s awful.

  • Didn’t see anything about noisemakers

  • Whether we agree or disagree on the method being used (in this case, the Mosquito sound device), I think the question that should be asked is what can we do to fix this city-wide problem (of rowdy youth congregating on the streets, causing fights, and harassing people).

    Would loitering laws, stricter curfews, mentor programs, well-funded after school activities, serious job programs for at-risk youth (The current Summer Job Program is a joke),and other such initiatives hold our city’s youth accountable and help them? What can we, as a city, offer our youth? When we dismiss certain behaviors and don’t hold youth accountalbe, we are further contributing the problem that plagues our city.

    • No. If you think there is any lack of “programs” than you clearly have never been to any of the nearly abandoned parks, rec centers, and other amenities in the city. Thugs don’t need hugs, they need some woefully lacking consequences.

  • You folks who are indignant must not have ever been down there. The place is a deliquent teen madhouse. There is more roughhousing, pickpocketing and mob fighting, screeching roughhousing and general public disarray at the hands of the ~bored and/or obviously unemployed ~15-20 year olds than just about anywhere in the city. Anyone who uses that metro exit even a couple times a month knows that. I frankly wish more businesses used them.

    And for all of you daft bleeding hearts, DC and the Taxpayers who fund her HAVE and DO address the root problem every single day.

    DC on a per capital basis is nearly a welfare state. We Pay literally BILLIONs of dollars a year on the collective:

    1. Free and extremely well funded afterschool Programs for kids
    2. Free babysitting and errand running for the parents and kids who subsist below the poverty line.
    3. The most liberal, all inclusive, subsidized heathcare program (prior to Obama passing National Heathcare) of any city or state outside of Massachusetts.

    4. Summer Jobs programs where we pay these same kids to stay out of trouble.

    5. “Pay for Grades” program in DCPS
    6. DC jobs training and development programs that are chronically unused.

    DC is the jobs mecca of the nation right now. There are literally jobs growing on trees for anyone qualified to take them, but it isn’t a statistical anomaly that the unemployment rate of the District is twice that of our suburban neigbors not 5 miles away in any direction.

    We offer our cities youth anything and everything, but you can’t “force” them to take advantage of them. We’ve gone well beyond what is reasonably expected in terms of community development, uplift and support. All we’ve given the cities youth is carrot, sometimes you have to also show them the stick.

    • +1 – hopefully the mosquito will work and be used throughout the city!

    • I don’t disagree, but as a 25 year-old resident of Gallery Place who helps pay for all those public programs you mention, why should I have to put up with this noise too?

      Also, why is this being installed right as school goes back in session? I’m not suggesting the problem goes away Sept. through May, but it’s less severe during school than in the summer time.

    • “DC is the jobs mecca of the nation right now.”

      -Really? That’s not what Vincent Gray’s campaign literature says.

      • That is because he is pandering to the large population of DC that never finished highschool that he is banking on to get him elected.

        Seriously, DC is the inverse of the world right now. More six figure jobs than minimum wage ones…all just hanging there for the taking. A quick search on “indeed” shows 10,384 job listings actually within the district, all paying atleast 100K/yr.

  • I’d like to see someone come up with an anti-jackass system — maybe a mild electric shock administered through the keyboard? — triggered by certain types of redundant, predictable comments (less on this thread than on any thread about crime, but a few are here, e.g. any use of the world “feral” to describe people) posted to this blog …

  • I work in the Verizon Center building, on H between 6th and 7th. I walked by this very thing not more than 30 minutes ago and didn’t hear it. I’m 32 so I guess I’m not supposed to but I feel like everyone who is worrying that they will “feel unwelcome” in Chinatown should really walk by and see for themselves. I doubt it will. I get the larger debate here but until I read this post and saw the picture, I didn’t even know this thing existed.

    What someone needs to do is corral all the people wandering around the X2 bus stop. That whole crazy scene is what makes being down here on a daily basis a pain.

  • I’m 25 and live in the residences above the Gallery Place metro. I don’t like the loitering crowds any more than anyone else does, but this noise maker is ridiculous. The first time I heard it I thought it was for pigeon control.

    Who can I write to to complain?

  • As long as it keeps the little punk thugs out, I dont care if it blasts Cher all day…

  • In response to the request for a better idea:

    Maybe I am wrong about this, but I almost guarantee that DC has laws on the books against activities that cause a public nuisance – public profanity, accosting people, spitting on the sidewalk, littering, roughhousing, etc. If the city instructed the cops that blanket this area (and there are always tons of cops around) to strictly enforce every violation they see – even if it’s just writing a ticket, 90% of the bad behavior would stop. Word would get out that bad behavior will be punished. But the political set in DC would never allow it.

  • Let’s be honest, we’re talking about predominantly black teens around the ChinaTown Metro. I’m not saying this because I’m crying “racism”, but because I think this adds to the discussion.

    Why are these particular black teens SO disruptive? It seems the majority have not been taught ANY manners. Last time I went to Chinatown (a month ago) they were simulating sex on those big steps across from Verizon Center for all to see. Yet no one said anything to them (white, black or otherwise). I feel like people are scared of them. Be honest – you know you feel it too. It’s really unfair to the general public to be harassed and intimidated by a bunch of ghetto punks.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I’m afraid I’m gonna have to disagree with you. Race has absolutely nothing to do with this and adds nothing to the discussion.

      Now I mean this very seriously and respectfully please email me directly at princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com so we can meet up in person because I’d like to explain my objection to your comment face to face to avoid any misunderstanding or miscommunication.

  • Oh god, here we go with the racism charges.

    I dont need to talk to you about it in person.

    I’m not saying the teenagers are acting out of line BECAUSE they are black. I am saying they happen to be largely black and extremely rude – fake fucking on the stairs, really loud cursing, getting in peoples’ faces. This appears to intimidate people and is not fair to those people trying to go about their day. It also does not look good for black youth, in general, whether you want to admit it or not.

    Might be a product of bad child raising? Might be a class issue? Might be a cultural issue? Might be an issue where lower-class (largely black) DC parents aren’t raising their kids right?

    To willfully ignore factors like race, gender, age, class, etc in a conversation about a demographic group of people is strange.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      If you are not saying the teenagers are acting out because they are black then why are you even bringing the fact that they are black up at all? I honestly don’t understand your point. You could say that they are always wearing jeans as well and that won’t really further this discussion either.

      And you are the only one who has called yourself racist.

  • I’m bringing up the fact that they are black to start a larger discussion on the groups these noise-weapons are geared towards. I’m using it as an identifier the same way that an MS-13 gang would be identified as Hispanic, whether they were all wearing jeans or mini-skirts. I think it’s appropriate considering that the behavior of these teenagers is threatening and almost gang-like at this point.

    Most people in Chinatown wear jeans.

    Some of the innocent passersby in Chinatown are black. Some are white. Some are Asian. Some are mixed.

    Most of the obnoxious/threatening 13-18 year olds in Chinatown are black.

  • I think they should get rid of this noisemaker and use real mosquitoes. Real big and hungry ones. I’m getting pretty up there in years, and the bites just don’t itch me like they used to. If the skeeters bit the young folks, they’d likely hightail it out of there.

    • Yeah – malarial mosquitoes! I killed a lot of people in DC that way in one of my novels (The Mosquito War)

  • Soooooo… Will these be installed at the Bethesda metro station?

    Were are teens supposed to hang out? There’s a sumer curfew, which at Chinatown metro, should be pretty easy to enforce. I’ve waited at that metro station for up to an hour on a weekend nights waiting for the H Street shuttle (which I don’t think runs any longer). Yep, a lot of young folks. But come on – entire Chinatown is a mall. It’s an outdoor mall with a metro stop, fast food and a movie theater. It’s as good a place as any for a teen hangout.

  • One more thought – what about young children (infants, toddlers, school children) with their parents? I can’t hear the under 25 frequency so I have no idea when it’s on. Should I now avoid that metro entrance with my toddler?

    Age/race discrimination arguments aside, how can this be deployed at a public transit system entrance/exit? It seems this pitch would drive little kids out of their mind, even for just the escalator ride.

  • personally, i don’t think its over the line, given that you can move a block and be out of range.

    i do think its MORE interesting that the city lacks an anti-loitering statute (courtesy of nbcwashington: ). I was just as stunned to learn that DC only passed an anti-littering statute a few years ago.

    To bring race/class into the discussion in a (hopefully) more productive way than Blah, i wonder if the lack of rules that govern low-level public order are an outgrowth of DC’s home rule years. anyone paying attention to civil rights knows that these sorts of rules were used extensively to harass black folks (and others) across the country, and certainly still are. I’d be willing to bet $5 that the DC council and the MPD resist this type of rule-making because it causes political problems with constituents.

    we’re transitioning from Chocolate City to Vanilla Village, no? so these sorts of issues are pretty relevant, esp to our mayoral race. i wonder where the candidates would come out on the Mosquito…

  • Too bad so many parents today are not doing their job – that is, teaching their children respect, consideration, courtesy, etc., as well as knowing what their children are up to, so that devices like this “mosquito” would not be needed.

    On the other hand, having this device alerts those with hearing loss that they’d better start consider what it’s going to be like having to wear a hearing aid, because they will need it – probably sooner than later.

  • The Washington Post had an article today in the front page about this:

    Not sure what to think of it…although the situation in Gallery Place is out of control with too many incidents of brawls, fights, pickpocketing, etc. this affects almost everyone between the ages of 13-25. What if you are a 22 year old who works as a waitress in the area and have to wait for the bus at 7th and H?

  • I’m twicet the age of the intended group, but when I stood under the danged thing this morning I could hear it plain as day. Beep for about count of six, off for two, beep for six, and so on and so forth. Not loud, sort of like a dental drill heard when you are waitin in the outer office. Would it drive me crazy while I was passin through? No. Would it drive me crazy if I stood under it for three minutes? Not so’s I’d notice it amongst the general background crazy. But 10-20 minutes? I’m gone like the wind.

    By the by, a group of curious ladies were gathered round it, and three out of four of them could hear the bothersome keen. They were just killing time waiting to get into the methadone clinic, and that whine didn’t seem to be high on their list of distractions.

  • Deploying this in a public place could probably be considered harassment. I suppose if a mall’s owners want to use it within their enclosed mall, it would be their legal right. It presumably would need to operate at a lower volume than the outdoor version, so the sound would not echo everywhere in the mall. It would also be the right of consumers to boycott stores using such things. I suspect the owners would find they are driving away customers, as well as “loiterers”. As far as teens “hanging out”, if they are obstructing pedestrian traffic, I expect that there is already a law that can be used to deal with that. If they aren’t, let them be.

  • Please install more of these devices. I bet the parents of these kids are for them too.

  • i had a rca tv that made the same sound it was a pos!

  • I recently went shopping in Chinatown and had to leave. I am 25, almost 26 and could hear the noise loud and clear. When I got home I had a horrible headache!
    I guess business there don’t want my money!
    This is offensive and unnecessary!

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