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Camera-equipped cacti to keep an eye on Arizona town

Upscale Arizona town putting license plate readers in cacti

 

There may soon be nowhere to hide in paradise, thanks to cameras concealed in cacti.

The Arizona city of Paradise Valley has begun installing license plate reading cameras inside artificial saguaros located at major roads leading into town, Fox 10 reports.

Town Manager Kevin Burke said they’ll be used to look for stolen vehicles, and others involved in amber alerts, and that they’re not meant to be secret, just aesthetically-pleasing.

The technology is being rolled out thanks to a donation made by a wealthy resident.

The city currently uses similar cameras on patrol cars and mounted to light poles in other locations, and has reported at least one successful hit.

As far as public privacy is concerned, the Burke said the cactus cameras haven’t been activated yet, and it’s an issue they’re addressing.

"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," said Burke.

Scott Lemarr, who was mayor when the project was being approved, thinks they will be a deterrent that send a message to criminals to stay out of town.