Stores in Vancouver suburbs have installed a device outside their stores called a 'Mosquito' that emits a high-pitched frequency that the average adult can't hear. The device is effective in decreasing vandalism, but at what cost to public space?
Writer Daniel Goldbloom responds to a recent opinion piece supporting the use of the Mosquito in Vancouver:
"No one is suggesting that any person has the right to do anything they want, whenever and where ever. Imputing a desire to defend vandalism to their opponent misses the point. It is wrong to publicly harass an entire segment of the population for no greater crime than assembling in a public place. While some teenagers may vandalize public and private property, it is unreasonable to punish everyone in a certain age range for the crimes of a few ruffians.
Another hypothetical is instructive here. Imagine that most of the suspects for a crime like vandalism came not from a certain age bracket, but from a certain ethnic group. If there were some way to rig a Mosquito-type device to discriminate by race rather than age, would that be appropriate? What if posh stores wanted to keep poorer customers away? Would they be within their rights to use a sonic deterrent activated by wallet weight?
Likewise, it makes little sense to use an age-specific hearing test to determine one's right to public space."