Arizona Town Places Plate-Reading Cameras in Fake Cactuses
When you think you’ve seen it all, allow Arizona to relieve you of such tomfoolery. In an unbelievably invasive feat, the town of Paradise Valley has strategically set up license plate reading cameras in fake Saguaro Cactuses. These plates will be sent to a database to match stolen vehicle plates in efforts to limit car-jackings, which one could take a wild guess and say there are a lot of them in and around the greater Phoenix area- but you would be wrong. Auto thefts have been on a rapid decline. So much so that in 2001, according to data provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Arizona was indeed the number one state with reported car thefts. If we follow the data though, there is an undeniable downward trend, an in 2013 Phoenix was ranked the 83rd highest city for stolen vehicles. Town manager Kevin Burke, because I guess town mayor is too passé of a title, claims the camera’s are hidden inside of realistic-looking plastic cacti for aesthetic reasons. That is a bold statement to stand behind. The police department are claiming that the concealment of these cameras is not to keep the data a secret.
The cameras were installed in February and the first plate match was made on May 2nd. No arrests were made. Burke makes a statement to Fox 10 that critical examination of data retention will take place “before we turn things up.”
However, with extensive cameras built into the structure of the landscape, the police department can theoretically have a comprehensive map of every community members movement-habits on a whim.