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Sacramento Residents Buzzed Over Government Drone Snooping on Community

CC0 / / Drones
Drones - Sputnik International
A strange, six-bladed UFO has been spotted hovering over Sacramento homes late at night, and some residents fear it might be collecting information on them - or has still more salacious motives.

Fret not, Californians, that's not ET, it's a security drone from the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), and it's not on the lookout for undrawn curtains, but rather illegal dumping or trespassing on two local communities.

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Resident John Mattox first spotted the drone flying over his Upper Land Park neighborhood about a month ago, and many neighbors have said they have heard the drone's buzzing propellers during the early morning hours, CBS13 Sacramento reported Wednesday.

The five-foot-long, six-armed drone is used by the city's housing agency to monitor two nearby public housing communities, Adler Grove and Marina Vista, which have been the sites of violent crimes in recent years, most recently a fatal shooting in January, CBS13 reported.

Upper Land Park residents voiced their fears about the drone's monitoring capabilities to CBS13. "You don't know what they're looking at and monitoring," said resident Ben Allen.

But SHRA's assistant director, LaTanna Jones, tried to assuage fears by noting that the drones have privacy features in place to prevent unnecessary information collecting, including being "programmed so that they do not catch any footage until they get to about 200 feet in the air." He further noted that they operate between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Jones told CBS that the drone is used "to enhance the safety and security of our residents" and that it has already caught people trespassing and dumping on the properties.

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Although SHRA claims the program is legal, it's worth noting that SHRA is a housing agency, not a law enforcement agency, and locals remain nonplussed at the idea of using a drone to monitor the area. "This is not an appropriate way to police the community," Mattox told CBS.

Let's hope they don't get the same idea Kentuckian William Meredith got in 2015, when he used a shotgun to down a camera-bearing drone flying over his property that he believed was spying on his teenage daughter, an action that won him the title of "The Drone Slayer," according to Ars Technica. A lawsuit against Meredith for the drone "slaying" was dismissed in 2017.

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