Thursday, May 10, 2012

Acoustic warfare coming to Winnipeg?

Good Day Readers:

Rightly or wrongly (probably more the latter) Winnipeg still has the lingering reputation as mosquito capital of Canada - last summer was the first time since arriving (1987-88) we didn't have to use insect repellent. Very shortly, if not already, the little buggers will be back en masse.

Upon reading the following article two thoughts emerged:

(1) Is this device being used in Winnipeg/Manitoba?

(2) Can domestic drones be far behind?
Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Vancouver elementary school hit by vandals after school board switches off 'mosquitoes'

By Justin Mcelroy
Wednesday, May 8, 2012
Silise Lebedovich is a representative for the Parents' Advisory Committee at Kerrisdale Annex in Vancouver, BC. Lebedovich wonders, in light of a recent fire set at the school's playground, why a Mosquito system that emits harsh sounds only audible to younger people, was recently dismantled. (Photograph by: Jason Payne, The Province)

Parents and administrators at Kerrisdale elementary believe their recently vandalized school would have been safe if “Mosquito” devices hadn’t been disabled by the Vancouver School Board.

Silise Lebedovich dropped off her two children, ages six and seven, at Kerrisdale Annex on Monday, only to see the playground charred by fire from a weekend attack. She said the damage proves the value of the Mosquito, a device designed to deter vandals by emitting a high-pitched sound only young people can hear.

“Keep the Mosquitoes on, until we can find a solution, an alternative solution,” said Lebedovich.

“The Mosquitoes are working. There’s no complaints from neighbours.

“No one’s speaking up for these kids. My son is asking, ‘Why did someone set fire to my playground?’ I don’t understand why we’re not doing what we can to protect our schools.”

The devices had been installed over several years at 19 different Vancouver schools before they were disabled in March, following a complaint by the BC Civil Liberties Association. Critics contend it violates human rights by targeting people based on age.

But Lebedovich argued there are bylaws already against loitering in school parks at night.

“Mosquitoes are reminding a group of people who choose to ignore bylaws they are not supposed to be there. The children have a right to go to school on Monday morning and not sidestep human feces, avoid needles, or see graffiti.

Principal Carol Andison said her staff were heartbroken that vandalism had returned. The school had installed Mosquitoes last summer to combat a raft of expensive property damage.

“Did they not realize how much it cost? Our parents raised over $20,000,” said Andison.

“There’s people in our community that want to hurt little children.”

A committee heard from the BCCLA and the company that makes the Mosquitoes last week, but the school board isn’t expected to set any long-term policy for some time.

Board chair Patti Bacchus did not want to give suggestions to administrators on how to combat the problem in the interim period, but did note the mosquito was one of several options used by schools to deter vandals.

“There’s a whole number of loss-prevention strategies,” she said. “The Mosquito have been one tool in the tool box . . . but there’s others that can be used.”

Andison disagreed.

“I don’t really have any options. I can’t afford to put up fencing, I can’t afford to hire security,” she said.
“It’s basically what we thought was going to happen . . . It’s just unfortunate.”

jmcelroy@theprovince.com
twitter.com/j_mcelroy

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