(by Steve Tawa, CBS News Philadelphia) PHILADELPHIA – When city-run playgrounds and recreation centers want to put up the ‘keep out’ sign during the off-hours, they are turning to an electronic device known as ‘The Mosquito’ to shoo potential young vandals away.

The president of Moving Sound Technologies, Michael Gibson says each small speaker emits a high-frequency tone, said to be harmless, but highly irritating to teenagers and young adults. “They find it extremely annoying and will leave an area within a couple of minutes.”


‘The Mosquito’ installed inside a cage on the side of a building. (Credit: Moving Sound Technologies)

Councilman Brian O’Neill says, “That happens to be the age group that we want to keep out of our playgrounds when they’re closed at night, when a lot of vandalism happens and destructive behavior goes on.”

Gibson says as we age, hair cells in our ears die off and fall out, and generally speaking, folks over 25 are unaffected by the sonic waves.

O’Neill, whose district covers Northeast Philadelphia, is among the first to install those Mosquito devices along with cameras at playgrounds and recreation centers.

“They work in tandem. If, for some reason, something’s going on and it doesn’t chase them away, we have their photos. And that’s worked.”

Councilman O’Neill recalls listening to the demonstration about how it sends out sonic waves when turned on, to ward off potential trouble-makers when the lights go off.

“This Mosquito device chased two interns – I believe from Temple – out of the office, and nobody else could hear anything among the dozen people in the presentation. And, I said, ‘I want it.’”

Now, the city is mounting The Mosquito systems at several locations, as it installs cameras as city facilities over the next three years.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CBS News Philadelphia. Visit the website at philadelphia.cbslocal.com.


 1. In what locations are Philadelphia city officials installing Mosquito speakers?

2. Why are officials taking this measure?

3. How does the Mosquito work?

4. a) What other devices are officials installing along with the Mosquito?
b) Why are they installing both?

5. Why does city councilman Brian O’Neill believe the Mosquito will be an effective deterrent?

6. a) Listen to a sample of the Mosquito for your age group  at movingsoundtech.com.  How annoying is it to you? Would it dissuade you from hanging out near it? Explain your answers.
b) Ask a parent to listen to a sample of the Mosquito for his/her age group as well as yours and to compare the two sounds.

7. Do you think installing such a device in these city owned locations is a good idea? Explain your answer.

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