Washington silences acoustic buzzer used to repel youths

2010-10-09 07:59

A civil rights group has won the removal of an acoustic buzzer designed to repel boisterous young people from a commercial area in downtown Washington after complaining that the device was discriminatory.

Called the Mosquito, the buzzer emits disagreeable, pulsating signals that are audible mainly to youths under the age of 25.

It was installed in early September by a real estate promoter near the Gallery Place – Chinatown metro station in a lively bar and restaurant district in downtown Washington, said Dave Moss, an official with the National Youth Rights Association.

“They would tell you it is for deterring loiterers. I would tell you (it is) to keep young people away,” he said. The real estate promoter did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Moss said the device was removed after his group filed a complaint with the District of Columbia’s human rights office arguing that its use violated a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age.

He said the device was used mostly in Europe, Canada and Britain.

“Unfortunately, it started to become a trend in the US, in New York and Chicago. We’re hoping to remove all the Mosquitos across the country,” he said.

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