Drones used for criminal activity

WARNING: Drones Might Be Used To Aid Criminal Activity

Drones are frequently used for aerial shots for movie scenes, in journalism, crowd control as well as dealing with crime.  We see them fly around more frequently in residential areas, whether it is a mere extra-mural activity or in order to assist various businesses like to advertise property or for site planning and development etc.

Although drones are being used by police to fight crime, control neighborhoods and to do good, these flying cameras can also be used by criminals to gather information on a property, the security, escape routes and the occupants’ whereabouts.  Flying a drone in South Africa is legal. It is important to know your rights.

Maxidor SA urges South African citizens to stay vigilant in and around their properties and now even more so to increase their awareness of what flies around in the sky. Criminals can use drones to spy on the neighborhood or to scout out your physical security barriers or security alarm systems, and even check out how many dogs are on guard.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) currently regulates the flying of drones in residential areas. Here is SACAA Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Part 101 Regulations short synopsis as researched and interpreted by Maxidor SA:

  • A drone may only be flown during daytime.
  • A drone heavier than 7 kg is not allowed to be flown.
  • If no permission was received by property owners, no drone is allowed within 50 meters of people or private property.
  • Drone pilots are required to keep a visual line of contact at all times with their drones while in flight.
  • No flying zones in controlled, restricted and prohibited airspaces or near manned aircrafts or within 10km of an aerodrome
  • Drones used for commercial interest, require registration and licencing by the SACAA. If drones are flown as a hobby, no registration or licencing is required.

If you would like to view the full law click here!

So what can you do to stop drones flying over your home in South Africa? Well not much. You are not allowed to shoot it down. To discharge a firearm in a built-up place or public area is also a criminal offence. The only thing you can do is to report it to the police and to lay a compliant with the Civil Aviation Authority who takes these types of matters rather seriously.

Our research indicated that for whatever purpose the drone is being used for, even for hobby drone pilots, an up to 10-year imprisonment sentence and/or a fine of up to R50 000 can be given if these regulations are not being abided. However, legally this matter becomes very complicated if the drone operator is unknown or cannot be identified.

Therefor we recommend residents and business owners to sharpen up their physical security not only around your windows, doors and perimeter fencing, but also inside your home by means of creating an InscapeTM. Flying drones, luckily, make quite a noise, so stay alerted and advise your family members and staff to notify you of any suspicious drones. Keep safe.

For a free security assessment, please contact our national line on 0860 131 131 or view our products on-line at www.maxidor.co.za