Downtown McDonald’s restaurant projecting “painful” noise as anti-loitering measure

the-mosquito-1

The Mosquito is a device that projects a noise meant to disperse "anti-social" groups from storefronts or "unsafe" areas. A downtown Victoria McDonald's restaurant has begun using the device. Photo © by Mosquito Group.

A McDonald’s restaurant at Douglas and View streets in downtown Victoria has stepped up its drive to keep loiterers as far back from its premises as possible.  However, the new measure, using a high frequency ringing noise that mostly impacts youth, may be going too far.

VibrantVictoria.ca first brought the issue of the Douglas and View McDonald’s restaurant’s use of a loud “white noise” to drive away loiterers to the forefront back in January of this year.  Complaints began to pour in to the VibrantVictoria.ca discussion forum when the restaurant’s new owners, Bobi and Glen Bishop who recently moved from the Vancouver area to Victoria, decided to step up the volume of the anti-loitering measure and operate it during regular business hours.  After the article was published, the noise ceased, but the relief was temporary.

“I just walked by Mcdonald’s and it made me uncomfortable. Not just annoyed but uncomfortable bordering on pain. My ears were ringing,” wrote VibrantVictoria.ca member “piltdownman” after experiencing the noise which seemed as debilitating as it was detracting.

The noise does not affect all pedestrians traversing the busy area equally.  Older individuals appear to be immune to the particular tone projected onto public sidewalks, within earshot of BC Transit bus stops and busy pedestrian crossings at View Street and Douglas Street.

VibrantVictoria.ca forum member “martini” wrote that she “walked by [the McDonald's] twice this week and thought ‘victory’ that [McDonald's] stopped the white noise pollution.  I see now I’m immune to this frequency.”  Forum member “VicHockeyFan” confirmed that he was also immune to the noise, and added that the culprit is likely a product dubbed “Mosquito” and sold by a UK-based firm that purports to “discourage youth from congregating in unsafe locations, not just around shops” through to use of high frequency noise emitters that can be targeted at age-based subsets of the population.

A manager working at the restaurant confirmed that the devices used are indeed Mosquitos, but declined further comment and forwarded VibrantVictoria.ca’s contact information to a “owner/operator of the restaurant.”  Unfortunately VibrantVictoria.ca did not receive a response from a restaurant representative prior to the deadline of this article.

According to the manufacturer, the product has a range of “50-70 feet” (roughly 15-21 meters), and depending on the model used, may have a variety of settings that can target certain age groups while not affecting others, or being used to subject all “anti-social” individuals equally.

The City of Victoria’s bylaw office confirmed that several complaints had been submitted to the bylaw office for attention, although no bylaw officer had been assigned to the case at the time of this article.

To discuss this issue and McDonald’s restaurants in the Victoria area, refer to VibrantVictoria.ca’s discussion forum thread here.  To learn more about the Mosquito, click here.

Copyright © 2010 by VibrantVictoria.ca.  All rights reserved.



Responses to this Headline or Article

The five most recent replies to VibrantVictoria.ca's discussion forum's McDonald's restaurants in Victoria thread, the most relevant thread to the above headline or article:

pontcanna

Apr 01, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Quote: This afternoon Dylan and I were passing by the McDonald's on West Saanich Road (Royal Oak Shopping Center) and noticed paramedics performing CPR on a man who appeared to have suffered a heart attack in the restaurant's parking lot.

I knew this fellow, a former work colleague. What a way to go, perhaps a warning for some of us...

Mike K.

Apr 02, 2012 at 10:18 am

...so he passed away after all, hey? I'm sorry to hear that :(

sebberry

Apr 02, 2012 at 10:59 am

It's always sad for friends and family, but I think I'd rather go quickly like that than spend two years in and out of the hospital with something really nasty :(

VicHockeyFan

May 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I checked out the new downtown renovations today, the upstairs is not open yet.

Ya, it's not bad.

They have the same chairs as Bin 4, in one of the few table areas. :)

Now they have lots more individual stool seating.

sdwright.vic

May 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Downtown MC D's now ghetto chic?

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