Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Well, the fence height issue seems to be settled. Personally, I believe that Police Chief Nick Obligacion is right; a 7-foot high fence will give the advantage to the crooks. There are not many 400-pound bad guys that could get over a — foot high fence, let alone 7-foot. Thieves are usually young, wiry, and could easily scale a 7-foot fence. Part of their confidence (as a thief) comes from knowledge that they can run and leap like a deer.
Unfortunately, there is now a high tech problem associated with either fence height. In the Oct. 20, 2015 edition of the Manteca Bulletin, there was an article on page A5 regarding personally owned flying drones. People have used drones to interrupt and interfere with forest firefighting efforts, sporting activities, and most recently a drone hit power lines in L.A. (Bulletin, Oct 28) which knocked out power to a community. Feds are now looking at regulation.
Drones present a different problem than a single individual doing bad things with a gun, or an out of control 4th of July party with fireworks. This is spying into personal lives. Many drones have “look-down” cameras, which is why people like them. They think that it’s “cool” to overfly places they should not be, and look into places that they don’t belong. Leave it to a few people to ruin it for everybody.
The City of Manteca (by code) requires fencing around back yards. This establishes a legal boundary. Such a boundary defines the point of trespassing. Do the bad guys now have a possible way around or over that boundary? I think they do, and it’s only a question of time until crimes are being committed based on recon missions using drones.
Remember the motorized scooters? They became such a problem that the City passed an ordinance to make them illegal. That was not a Federal or State issue; Manteca acted appropriately to preserve safety and protect the general public. This is a very similar scenario. A high quality drone is now within the budget of most people. I’d wager that the number of drones in the air will substantially increase after Christmas presents are opened this year.
I urge the City Council to seriously consider this growing (national) problem and take action, regardless of what the Feds have in mind. Nobody should have to endure a local “spying eye” over their property. Imagine how you would feel learning that a drone was videoing your wife or daughter and friends sunbathing at the poolside, and now that video is posted on the Internet or You Tube. Want to go viral with that? Or discover that your prized motorcycle that is always securely parked in the back yard is gone and its theft is eventually tied to a bad guy who spotted it with a drone? The City should “head off” this new problem before it gets out of control.