A Facebook post in New Zealand informed Christchurch residents that drones were being used as a tool for thieves to case out properties in preparation for robberies.
New Zealand media reported that the post went viral, at least by New Zealand standards, and was making the rounds on community groups. Some of the public got a bit excited by this news (people on the internet overreacting?! Never!) and wrote messages encouraging anyone who saw drones in their neighborhood to shoot them down.
Kiwi police are friendly, peaceful people.
Problem is, Kiwi police stated there was no evidence that drones are being used in local burglaries. A police spokesperson said that while there had been drones spotted in a local area (called Selwyn) where some burglaries had occurred – that was some weeks before the robberies had happened. Police say there was nothing to suggest the drones had been involved.
Police further stated that if someone believes a drone is being piloted above their property without consent, they should contact the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), not take the law into their own hands. Although New Zealand has a reasonably high-level of gun ownership, possession tends to be in rural areas, not in cities.
There were in excess of 300 complaints made to the CAA about drones in 2017. The majority involved drones being flown over people’s properties without consent. One incident saw a gentleman who felt a drone had invaded his privacy, shoot at drone with a shotgun (whether he hit the drone is unknown).
To view more content regarding drones behaving badly and how authorities are reacting – check out how Denver authorities are looking to ban drone flights in certain cities. You can also read about how New Zealand has had an influx of privacy complaints regarding drones.