Residents of Sacramento, California, are furious about a secret government drone spying program they say is surveilling their neighborhood from evening hours through the early morning, Sacramento (CBS13) reported.
The mysterious drone(s) is/are “hovering over residential neighborhoods and looking down on homes” in Sacramento’s upper Land Park neighborhood between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to CBS13.
“It just doesn’t feel good,” said Ben Allen. “It hovers around. You don’t know what they’re looking at and monitoring.”
Neighbors say they have heard the drone(s) buzzing overhead at all hours of the night, and well before sunrise.
“The drone would fly over here, come over my neighbor’s house, fly over our house right here,” resident John Mattox told CBS13. “You come home from work, it would be operating, go to bed it was still operating, and this would repeat day after day.”
Earlier this week, residents discovered the drone is operated by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA). “It manages two nearby housing communities, Alder Grove and Marina Vista,” said CBS 13. Both complexes have seen a surge in violent crime, including a fatal shooting earlier this year and a triple homicide in 2016.
Sacramento (CBS13): Why is a government drone flying over a Sacramento neighborhood?
“We initiated the drone program in order to enhance the safety and security of our residents,” said LaTanna Jones, the assistant director for the housing agency.
Jones told CBS 13 the five-foot-long drone flies between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and had already caught illegal dumping and trespassing on the properties under management.
“The drones are programmed so that they do not catch any footage until they get to about 200 feet in the air,” Jones said.
While Jones maintains the drone program is entirely legal, some residents have doubts, saying their privacy is being invaded. He told CBS 13 that the drone program is part of a 90-day pilot project that costs taxpayers around $20,000. Some residents have even told other city officials they would like to see the program dismantled.
There is a reason to believe the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is operating a MATRICE 600PRO drone, manufactured in China by DJI. This is the same drone maker the United States Army has banned for fears that Chinese nationals could access the drone’s data.
In other words, government officials in Sacremento are spying on their citizens with Chinese drones. Do you see a problem with that?