New Zealand library using sonic device to repel teenagers

The Papanui Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, said a sonic device designed to repel mosquitoes is being used to prevent teenagers from loitering outside the building. Photo by Christchurch City Libraries/Facebook

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, Sept. 1 (UPI) — A New Zealand library is testing an unusual method to deter fight-happy teenagers from loitering — a sonic device designed to repel mosquitoes.

Christchurch officials said the $982 device, which emits a high-pitched sound detectable only by young ears, was installed outside the Pananui Library, where loitering teens are known to frequently get into fights.

“The mosquito device emits a noise that is undetectable by adults and proves uncomfortable to youth if they spend any length of time in close proximity. The alarm is on all the time,” Erica Rankin, acting head of libraries for the Christchurch City Council, told The Press.

Lexie Narbey, 16, a student at nearby Papanui High School, said she can hear the noise outside of the facility, but it doesn’t cause her any discomfort. She said the noise could be drowned out by simply talking loud enough.

The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties noted the Council of Europe previously declared the usage of sonic mosquito-repelling devices to be a violation of human rights. The Council of Europe called for the devices to be banned in Britain.

The civil liberties group said it has filed a request under the Official Information Act to obtain documents related to the device’s installation at the library.

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