Residents of a Sacramento neighborhood have been getting irritated, if not furious, with a mysterious drone that has been flying over their area hovering like some Big Brother thing. Turns out, the spycraft belongs to a government agency that is not so familiar with many people.
The drone has been spotted during late-night hours, hovering over neighborhoods, and seemingly watching down on homes.
Residents are irked by intrusive presence. John Mattox, who first spotted it a month back said: “The drone would fly over here, come over my neighbor’s house, fly over our house right here. You come home from work, it would be operating, and this would repeat day after day.”
Another resident, Ben Allen agreed: “It just doesn’t feel good. It hovers around. You don’t know what they’re looking at and monitoring.”
It was just discovered this week that the drone is being flown by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA). It is in charge of the management of two nearby housing communities, Alder Grove and Marina Vista. The justification for the drone seems to be that said complexes have been witness to some serious crimes, including a fatal shooting in January and a triple homicide in 2016.
SHRA’s assistant director LaTanna Jones confirmed: “We initiated the drone program in order to enhance the safety and security of our residents.”
As it is, Jones proudly says the drone has already spotted illegal dumping and trespassing. Jones shares that the five-foot-long aircraft operates between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. He also wants to reassure residents that their pilots have established a protocol to protect privacy.
The housing authority insists the program is legal. Jones further reassures: “The drones are programmed so that they do not catch any footage until they get to about 200 feet in the air.”
Residents continue to be skeptical, however. Some are complaining that their privacy is being invaded and that such technology doesn’t belong in a residential community such as theirs.
Operating the drone does not come cheap also. The drone is part of a 90-day pilot project that already costs about $20,000.