A shopping mall in Washington D.C. has installed a noise device, the Mosquito, to discourage loitering:
The owners of the Gallery Place commercial strip have installed an anti-loitering noise device — one to discourage any loiterers, not just teens. Gallery Place has further urged the D.C. Council to pass an anti-loitering ordinance, something the city currently lacks.
Youths in particular are said to be sensitive to a greater range of high-pitch sounds. But Gallery Place Partners, LLC, insists they did not install the “state-of-the-art safety feature” to target teens alone. According to Gallery Place, the Mosquito installed in the Metro plaza is set to a tone that can be heard by people of all ages.
I recall reading that prior attempts to install such devices were accused of being targeted at teenagers because they can better hear and are therefore more annoyed with high-pitched noise-making devices. It sounds like this shopping center is pitching the device as a boon for all users – but are teenagers still the main target?
But this is also a reminder that shopping malls are not public spaces. Even though they are often function as such as place with crowds gathering just to hang out, they are privately owned and the owners are ultimately interested in making money.
Bonus: a link at the bottom of the news story to that takes you to the makers of the Mosquito where you can then find how annoying you find the Mosquito!