For Whom the Gallery Place Mosquito Buzzes…

I just learned that the “Mosquito”, an anti-loitering device which emits a high-pitched beeping that only young people can hear (supposedly) has been turned off at Gallery Place. I write “supposedly” because I’m a wizened old 35 and I could hear it, easily. It was meant to annoy (and thus discourage) the hordes of teens who congregate nearby– some residents think the youth are a nuisance, some business owners worry that they scare off customers. Now, after a month of meeping and beeping, the Mosquito is quiet because “a youth rights activist complained of age discrimination”. More:

The decision to install it at Gallery Place came after a meeting in July, at the office of D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), between District officials and business owners who were concerned about the impact of loitering and lawlessness.

In a letter to The Washington Post and the city human rights office, Transwestern, the company that manages the Gallery Place retail, office and residential complex, said the District’s lack of an anti-loitering ordinance limits the ability of police to control crowds. According to the letter, Transwestern told the July meeting that drugs and stolen merchandise were being sold at the Metro entrance at Seventh and H streets; the company recommended the Mosquito as a deterrent to loitering.

Hey Transwestern– you may want to pay closer attention to what’s actually happening in the area. An employee who would only speak to me anonymously told me that the drug vending had nothing to do with teens. He said that while the young people could be disrespectful, loud or annoying, it was adults who were selling drugs. It’s easier to just blame pesky kids though, I get it.