Sacramento Residents Outraged By Secret Drone Program Spying on Neighborhood

By Nicholas West

A group of residents from Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood are expressing their disgust with a secret drone program that has been exposed in the last month.

As reported by Sacramento’s CBS local affiliate, John Mattox was the first to notice a low-flying drone in the late-night and early morning hours hovering over his neighborhood:

“The drone would fly over here, come over my neighbor’s house, fly over our house right here,” he said. “You come home from work, it would be operating, go to bed it was still operating, and this would repeat day after day.”

So far the operator of the drone has been a mystery, but this week it was revealed that the drone is part of a new program instituted by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA).

Citing “safety and security” concerns, SHRA Assistant Director LaTanna Jones approved the $200,000 3-month pilot program to conduct surveillance of two specific housing developments. As you’ll hear, Jones states that residents were consulted and/or advised about the program, as well as claiming that he has subsequently received “pretty good feedback” from residents after the start of the program.

Jones’ claims don’t appear to jibe with those people who were interviewed by CBS 13. In addition to John Mattox, Ben Allen also isn’t feeling the security benefits, but rather the privacy invasion:

“It just doesn’t feel good,” said Ben Allen. “It hovers around. You don’t know what they’re looking at and monitoring.”

Although LaTanna Jones assures the public that images from the drone only begin to be captured at 200 feet above ground, it still is clearly able to collect ground activity, as he referenced trespassing and illegal dumping as some of the early infractions that have been observed.

Thus far, neighborhood drone surveillance has been on the rise in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hartford, Connecticut. These programs, too, have drawn varying degrees of outrage. However, in the aforementioned locations, the drones are part of a police program, not a local government agency.  This case in Sacramento could be more troubling, as even proponents of police drone use should question if a housing agency is equipped to be doing investigative police work, or is even capable of understanding this type of surveillance apparatus.

Overall, this is another indication of the trend toward the use of drones as a pervasive surveillance system that continues to expand its reach into every moment of human activity.

At this point, it is up to the affected residents to push back and demand that the Sacramento City Council end this pilot program. In so doing, it hopefully will set a precedent that people are willing to choose their liberty over the dubious promise of security.

H/T: Technocracy News

Nicholas West writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon for as little as $1 per month. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Steemit, and BitChute. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

Image credit: Tenth Amendment Center


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