The Abbotsford school district is hoping that an annoying high-pitched sound, detectable only to young people, will deter vandalism at two local schools.
The district has decided to install an anti-loitering device, called the “Mosquito,” on a trial basis at Dave Kandal and Harry Sayers elementaries.
Dave Stephen, district communications manager, said the two schools have experienced more than their share of vandalism, including graffiti, broken windows, and garbage left behind after partying.
“The district has received numerous complaints from neighbours, of young people hanging around the schools at night and essentially partying on elementary school grounds,” Stephen said.
The Mosquito is a small speaker that can be set to emit a high-frequency sound generally heard only by people from the ages of 13 to 25. The ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates with age.
Stephen said the devices in Abbotsford will be set at a level that is most effective for young people aged 13 to 20, and will be effective to a range of about 15 metres.
Neighbours will not be impacted because the sound does not penetrate windows, doors, walls, fences or dense shrubbery, he said.
Stephen said the school district spends about $150,000 each year to repair vandalized property and to paint over graffiti.
The cost of the Mosquito devices, including installation, will be about $3,200.
Stephen said they will be active at the two schools either in late January or early February.
They will be in place for about a year, and the district will then determine whether to continue with them and/or add them to other locations.