Officials Spain are using drones to catch tax cheats and potential terror threats.
Earlier this month, the nation’s treasury ministry announced a plan to nab property owners who evade a tax on home improvements. Landowners who fail to register new construction projects are in violation of a recently passed national tax bill.
Using quadcopters, treasury officials take aerial photos over unregistered residential construction sites in an effort to improve an enforcement campaign that has already garnered more than $1.6 billion in unpaid taxes.
According to Ultima Hora: “Aerial surveys of 28 municipalities across the Balearic Islands between 2013 and 2015, including popular tourist destinations like Mallorca and Ibiza, found 21,652 properties that had been altered in some way without being declared.”
Violators must pay on average about $67 per violation, the news site reported.
“For each euro spent conducting this operation, we have recovered $18 which was not being paid in tax,” a Spanish official stated in an interview. “We compare what has been declared to the councils and photographs of what is actually there.”
In the Spanish seaside city of Benidorm, four trained officers are patrolling local skies with drones to beef up security following a national effort to weed out potential terrorists in tourist resort areas.
Benidorm Mayor Antonio Perez added that the town will use drones to police public events and direct rescue operations in addition to assessing terrorist threats.
Spanish government officials have found several other uses for drones over the past few years.
Barcelona officials are exploring the deployment of drones into the city’s sewers to inspect piping and infrastructure as well as monitoring water and air quality. The drones would, at least in part, replace sewer workers, who do an unpleasant and often dangerous job patrolling the city’s dirty underbelly.
In December, the Ministry of Defense announced a partnership with the Galicia regional government to fund a $60 million drone port for commercial purposes. The facility is to be recycled from a former Nazi air installation. The proposed drone facility site in northwestern Spain at Castro de Rei was used by the German Luftwaffe in 1943 due to its strategic coastline location.
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