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Spanish Beach Cops Are Using Drones To Patrol The Playa

For resort towns that have summer population booms, drones are on trend.

[Photo: AFP/ANP/Robin Utrecht]

Down in the resort town of Benidorm in Spain, local police have been using drones to put eyes where it is hard for humans to go. The first drone was only deployed in early July, but already other municipalities have followed its lead.

So far, the drone has been used to spot swimmers that have gotten into trouble and to investigate "suspicious columns of smoke" that may herald fires in the area’s natural park. This last task is especially suited to drones, because parts of the park lay on top of 100-foot cliffs, which is clearly a schlepp for humans. The drone even located a boat that had gone adrift from the Club Náutico de Benidorm, with no crew members on board, police chief Carlos López told El Pais.

The drones aren’t cheap, but they are cheaper than hiring extra cops in the summer. Benidorm is a major package-holiday destination, and in the summer its population as much as triples. Adding a few $5,500 drones to the team is cheap when viewed like this. The drone is equipped with a camera that has a powerful zoom, so it can be used to spy up close on any trouble.

Benidorm may be the first Spanish town to deploy drones along its beaches, or it may not. It’s hard to tell, because several other municipalities have done the same thing this summer: Asturias, Andalusia, Murcia, Cantabria, and Valencia join Benidorm in drone deployment. One just wonders how many more lives David Hasselhoff could have saved had he had access to this technology in his Baywatch days.

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