Business uses sound to fight crime and dissuade loiterers

Business uses sound to fight crime and dissuade loiterers

The 7-Eleven on Division and Second is using high pitched sound to detract loiterers around their business. The store installed speakers and a sound system after being labeled a chronic nuisance property by the city because of crime and high 9-1-1 call volume.

“We had 138 calls for service in the last year at that location,” said Public Information Officer John O’Brien with the Spokane Police Department, “disorderly conduct, theft, assaults, robbery.”

He says the department worked with the business owners to come up with a plan to combat the crime problem, or risk being shut down. In addition to the noise deterrent, additional lighting improvements were made as well as landscape changes to eliminate hiding spots.

“Its a high pitched beeping noise,” said resident Melinda Wood, “you can hear it, and it feels like it is going through your body.”

Store employees say so far it seems the deterrent is working. There have been fewer folks loitering in the parking lot and around the building and business is up. Customers are giving the store credit for trying something different.

“If they can keep all the riffraff away and bring in new customers, more power to them,” said resident Christopher Bean.

O’Brien says noise making devices like the ones used at the 7-Eleven have been used in the past in downtown Spokane and were effective. He says any other homeowners or business in need of assistance for problems like this one are encouraged to call the department and partner with them to find a solution.