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Tokyo police fight youth crime with high-pitched whining

The 35 million people that make up the bustling metropolis of Tokyo experience unique comfort caused by a strange lack of crime — bicycles can be left unlocked, lost possessions are returned to owners. For this reason, it is understandable that Tokyo police don’t resemble stereotypical Officer Krupkes: swinging their billy clubs, waiting for the ...

The 35 million people that make up the bustling metropolis of Tokyo experience unique comfort caused by a strange lack of crime -- bicycles can be left unlocked, lost possessions are returned to owners. For this reason, it is understandable that Tokyo police don't resemble stereotypical Officer Krupkes: swinging their billy clubs, waiting for the troublemakin' youth. Recently, however, the fuzz has been faced with a real challenge: Kitashikahama Park in Adachi Ward acts as a social space for rowdy teens to express themselves through vandalism and raucous midnight hijinks.

The Tokyo authorities are attempting to differentiate themselves by fighting crime creatively--by assaulting young ears. A British-made Mosquito MK4 Anti-Vandal system has been installed on the premises. The machine emits a high-frequency whine that only teens can hear.

Seven days a week, the whining begins at 11 p.m. and continues until 4 a.m. Video surveillance cameras monitor park buildings. And Kitashikahama Park empties out.

The 35 million people that make up the bustling metropolis of Tokyo experience unique comfort caused by a strange lack of crime — bicycles can be left unlocked, lost possessions are returned to owners. For this reason, it is understandable that Tokyo police don’t resemble stereotypical Officer Krupkes: swinging their billy clubs, waiting for the troublemakin’ youth. Recently, however, the fuzz has been faced with a real challenge: Kitashikahama Park in Adachi Ward acts as a social space for rowdy teens to express themselves through vandalism and raucous midnight hijinks.

The Tokyo authorities are attempting to differentiate themselves by fighting crime creatively–by assaulting young ears. A British-made Mosquito MK4 Anti-Vandal system has been installed on the premises. The machine emits a high-frequency whine that only teens can hear.

Seven days a week, the whining begins at 11 p.m. and continues until 4 a.m. Video surveillance cameras monitor park buildings. And Kitashikahama Park empties out.

Except for television news crews.

"We see them on the surveillance videos, and there are too many of them to count," said Haruyuki Masuda, head of park management in Adachi Ward. "They hide behind trees and bushes, They are waiting for kids to come. I think they have scared off the kids."

Neighbors report that the park has quieted down at night, if you don’t count the television news trucks and the TV-news-watching busybodies who descend on the park after 11 p.m. to find out whether they are too old to be irritated by the whining."

It’s too soon to say if the Mosquito system is the real cause of the preliminary decrease in crime. Masuda commented, "We hadn’t planned on this being a news sensation. We need things to calm down before we can decide if it really works. We need the TV crews to stop sneaking around."

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