[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Paradise Valley, Arizona is located just a few miles north of Scottsdale. With a population under 13,000, the town is considered to be very safe with a low crime rate. It was also listed by Forbes magazine as the 71st most expensive city in the United States. So understandably, residents were baffled as they noticed fake cactus, known as saguaro in Arizona, installed around the town. Even more disturbing was what they noticed was in the cactus – cameras.
[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”5517620b381df”][vc_column_text]The use of fake cactus throughout the city is not a new phenomenon. There a fake ones, nearly two dozen, that are used to cover cell phone towers. But residents want to know the purpose of the cameras that are being hidden in the cactus throughout the city. Despite the request for answers from residents and local media, city officials are not saying much.
The station reported that officials would not speak with them when they requested information regarding why these hidden cameras are being placed around the city. After getting stonewalled by both the Paradise Valley Police and the City Council, they finally got some answers. Paradise Valley Town Manager Kevin Burke said, “The town is embarking on the installation of license plate readers.”
Stating that the cameras are not yet active, Burke explained that they will run the license plates of cars against a hot list database. That way, police will be notified if a stolen car or a car that is the subject of an Amber Alert is scanned.
Fox 10 stated that the city has a history of being secretive about things like this. They refused to speak with the news station in February regarding similar technology that was installed in traffic lights.
Burke added, “Again, not trying to hide anything, the police department, this was my request of before we get going at these one at a time, lets get them all together and make sure we understand and everybody is on the same page.” He continued, “We want to make sure we’re answering everybody’s questions about data retention, how the things will be used, we want to make sure that is vetted before we turn these things up.”
[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”553157113d3ff”][vc_column_text]One resident, Randy Evans, said, “I’ve lived here for 30 years, and I’ve never seen cameras in a saguaro before.”
Michael Collins, the mayor of Paradise Valley, tweeted about the cameras the following the day after the story ran on Fox 10.
— Michael Collins (@PVMayorCollins) May 8, 2015
In the article, Collins is quoted standing by the cact-eye cameras while trying to reassure residents.
“While I understand the concern that some have when first learning about this law enforcement technology, I’m both hopeful and optimistic that once residents and visitors understand how it will be used and the precautions that will be in place to prevent its abuse or unlawful use, that rational minds will prevail and this technology will be seen as another positive example of Paradise Valley leveraging technology to better protect its residents and guests.”
Is this a simple case of protecting the public or is it government overreach with big brother watching? FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com
h/t IJ Review
Image Credit: Fox 10[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]