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

by Prince Of Petworth August 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm 206 Comments

“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.”

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