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Can Strategic Sound Deter Loitering?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

can strategic sound deter loitering

Story at-a-glance -

  • A device known as the “Mosquito” is being used as a tool to deter loitering in city parks and playgrounds
  • According to their parent company, Moving Sound Technologies (MST), the sound is similar to the buzzing of a mosquito and, when set to 17KHz, can only be heard by people between the ages of 13 and 25 years
  • As people age, they typically have a harder time hearing high-pitched frequencies
  • Anecdotal reports suggest the relatively innocuous devices are leading to fewer incidents in areas such as condominium stairwells
  • There is concern that young children, including those unable to express their discomfort, can hear the noise, and critics suggest the devices are a form of age discrimination and may violate human rights

Noise probably doesn’t pop into your head as being a major public deterrent — unless you happen to live in an area with an excess of it. Noise pollution can cause problems with well-being and physical health, so it’s not a stretch to understand how noise could be used strategically for crowd control and even as a weapon.

One controversial example is a device known as the “Mosquito,” which is being used as a tool to deter loitering in city parks and playgrounds. Although the device emits a high-pitched ringing noise, it can only be heard by the target audience — teens and young adults that city officials hope to keep out of certain areas after dark.


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