Police Drones Will Patrol Boston Marathon Crowds For Suspicious Activity

In addition to providing security, they’ll also provide photographs high above the starting line

Attendees at this year’s Boston Marathon will notice a new presence overhead—two circling drones. Four years removed from the tragic bombing which injured hundreds and killed three at the marathon’s finish line, authorities plan to use the surveillance devices to monitor the starting line and the runners’ village, where racers prepare and wait for the race to commence.

This year’s event on April 17th is expected to draw 30,000 participants and an estimated 1,000,000 spectators to the streets of Boston, and those managing the drones are aware that their presence could do more harm than good should the drones come crashing down. So while the aircraft will monitor the starting line crowds and racers, they won’t be situated above spectators. They will also be tethered by cables, eliminating the possibility that one could fall far from its designated area.

While the efficacy of the drones in maintaining safety is speculative at this point, the prevailing sentiment seems to be their presence at the very least may act as a deterrent.

This isn’t the first such application for drone surveillance. Last year, drones monitored the Tokyo Marathon for suspicious activity.