Over the past several years, Kitashikahama Park in Tokyo's Adachi Ward has suffered repeated acts of vandalism to toilets and other public facilities. Soon after repairs were made, the same facilities were damaged again.
"In that park alone, damage (believed done) by youngsters last year cost us about 700,000 yen," the section head of park management tells the Kameari Keizai Shimbun (May 21), a local website.
A private security firm conducted patrols at the park two nights a week. The patrolmen would approach the local youths who regularly hanged out there and asked for their cooperation, but "there were limits on what they could do," a staff member of the ward office sighs to the Internet news site J-cast (May 20).
Residents adjacent to the park have also complained about teens' loud voices and setting off of fireworks at late hours.
So in April, ward authorities decided to decision rent a "Mosquito MK4 Anti-Vandal System," an electronic noisemaker produced by Compound Security System of the UK. It was installed in the park and went into operation from May 21 between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The robustly constructed device, in the form of a 10-cm cube, generates a harmless but irritating high-pitched whine above 17 kilohertz -- a range that few adults over age 25 can hear, but which is still audible to teens. Maximum volume is 85 decibels.
The device was originally developed in the UK to discourage loitering around shopping malls. According to the company's web site, the Mosquito's effective range is 30 to 40 meters.
Adachi Ward rents the device from Melc Co Ltd, a security service based in Chiyoda Ward.
"The objective of installing the Mosquito where young people hang out is to make is make them feel uncomfortable enough to make them want to leave," a Melc representative explains.
Some convenience stores in Japan have installed the device after complaints from nearby residents over noise and littering by teens. Its 40-meter range is enough to discourage loiterers without annoying people in nearby homes.
Adachi Ward plans to utilize the Mosquito in Kitashikahama Park on a trial basis until March 2010. If evaluations are favorable, it may consider procuring more of the units. Acts of vandalism at the 470 parks and other public areas in Adachi Ward were estimated to cost 3 million yen in 2008.
The story has also received wide coverage in the domestic media, reportedly leading to a flood of inquiries from building management firms, local governments, shopping malls and residents groups.© Japan Today