January 31, 2008 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Youth commit more criminal code offences, such as assaults, robbery and homicides, than adults, according to Stats Canada's research from 2006. And it's not adults or strangers who are usually targeted either: most violent young people most often victimize young friends or acquaintances. Many crimes go unreported every year, and they often result from youth gang activity and loitering. This is why many schools, municipalities, and business organizations are now taking a proactive approach in preventing violence: they reduce opportunities for unsafe youth gatherings that often lead to crime with the help of a harmless ultrasonic device known as The Mosquito.
"Essentially, the Mosquito prevents young people from being in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Michael Gibson, VP of Sales and Marketing for Moving Sound Technologies Inc., the North American distributor of the product. "Loitering youth can not only be perceived as a threat by the public, but they can also make themselves vulnerable to violence, especially if they are hanging out in places that are unsafe late at night." For example, young people gathering after hours in parks, around malls and on street corners can become targets of beating, stabbing and shooting. They may not even be aware of these dangers, especially if they are new to the area. "You can't really put up a sign in a park that says "Unsafe after dark" to prevent loitering, but you can install a Mosquito which will discourage youth from gathering in those areas late at night, keeping them safe from crime."
The Mosquito is designed to emit an unpleasant but benign high-pitched sound that only young people can hear. This noise is not audible to older people due to Presbycusis - an age related hearing loss which gradually happens to all people and prevents them from hearing high frequencies as they get older. Presbycusis first affects the highest frequencies of 18 to 20 kHz, which are most acutely heard by young persons within a range of 15-20 meters. These are the frequencies that the Mosquito uses to produce its unpleasant sound and discourage young people of approximate ages 13-25 from gathering and loitering in any area where the device has been installed.
Maple Ridge School District has installed the Mosquito to prevent late-night youth gatherings at one of their elementary schools. Before the Mosquito, loitering youth used to cause damage such as graffiti and vandalism to the property, as well as leave drug needles and broken glass behind. Elementary school children would be exposed to this the next day. However, after installing the Mosquito, the loitering on the school grounds stopped and school children were safe from hurting themselves on drug needles and broken glass.
Below 48 Pub, located right nest to a Skytrain station in New Westminster uses the Mosquito to keep drug dealers away and keep the areas around their pub safe for youth and adults. City of Fairfield, California has also implemented a Mosquito anti-loitering strategy with great success. "The Mosquito can be set to operate only during times when loitering problems typically occur, for example, at night. The Mosquito can also work with a motion sensor, so that the sound is emitted only when motion is detected. The device can also be turned on with a remote control or a cell phone," says Michael Gibson.
In addition to being an effective public safety tool, the Mosquito has other benefits. By preventing loitering, the Mosquito can help prevent graffiti damage and other forms of vandalism, saving organizations money on property damage repair fees. By preventing loitering and the resulting vandalism in residential areas, the Mosquito helps community residents feel safe and can help bring up property values in the neighbourhood. The Mosquito can also quickly and without confrontation disperse unwanted youth gatherings around convenience stores and malls, making customers feel safe by walking in and out of stores, and restoring consumer confidence.
"When we added the Mosquito to our product line, we started receiving a lot of inquiries and requests for installations right away," says Michael Gibson. "In countless trials where the Mosquito was placed, loitering youth were vacating the area within a few minutes." The Mosquito has been introduced in Canada only recently, but it's already gained a widespread popularity in the UK, where everyone from police departments, to convenience stores, to railway companies is turning to the Mosquito as the most effective tool in the fight against anti-social behavior that impacts business operations.