davidcitizen

Can I Take Pics of Neighbor's Property?

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Hi - 

My friend flew his drone over a neighbor's second floor porch where we thought there might be some stolen items (we could see one stolen potted plant from the ground.)  Lo and behold, the footage revealed several stolen items.
 
Was this a legal use of a drone with video?  I.E. can we contact law enforcement with this info (in Oregon), and not get in trouble for the use of the drone video?

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Hi @davidcitizen — interesting question and unfortunately one I can't personally comment on, but for those looking for information about flying their drone over someone else's property and whether or not that's allowed, here's a short knowledge base article that covers the subject:

https://www.dronepilotgroundschool.com/kb/can-a-property-owner-tell-me-not-to-fly-over-his-or-her-property/

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Your conflating issues.  Is it legal to fly over your neighbors property?  Yes as long as you don’t fly directly over people doing it. 

Are you a law enforcement officer?

Is it legal to spy on your neighbor with your drone?  Probably not, but I don’t know either.  Would the video you shot be admissible in court? No.  

Non of this matters in Portlandia.  If you show that footage to the police in Oregon chances are they’ll confiscate your drone and throw you in jail.  

If you were my neighbor you’d be picking up the pieces of your drone.  Seriously, you think it was a good idea to spy on your neighbor?  You think because you have a drone that gives you the right to servail people?  

Sorry, I have no idea what or if your neighbor stole anything but I’m not sure who the criminal is?

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I think you'd be opening up a can of worms for yourself if you showed the drone video to law enforcement or your neighbor found out about it even though you stated you could see some of your stolen property from the ground without a drone. So in a sense you did have probable cause to want to investigate further but it's probably still illegal to do what you did... some sort of Peeping Tom law. And I can understand you wanting to see if other missing things were up there too but I think you could possibly get in legal trouble, and also have drama with your neighbor, if you share that video with law enforcement. More potential trouble for you than what it would be worth probably. But given that, you personally now have proof of what kind of person your neighbor is so you are fully aware anyway. Install a few security cameras around your home and signs that say the area is under video surveillance. That footage you can definitely provide to law enforcement when you film your neighbor stealing your property the next time and you'll also be able to get them for trespassing. Or just move away from your thief of a neighbor if you can.

 

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@Av8ChuckPlease don't reply to any more posts.  He just asked a simple question and you dog him over it.  Have some sort of professionalism and less sarcasm.  You say, " chances are they’ll confiscate your drone and throw you in jail", but you don't know that for a fact.  I enjoy reading some of these posts to learn something from someone else's experiences to see if it's worth going professional and starting my own company, but not to come here and read posts like yours.  Have a heart and give us a break from the rhetoric, negativity and drama, please!

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If you want to become a professional then I’d suggest you listen to professionals. 

Do you honestly think it’s a good idea to spy on your neighbor if your a professional? 

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As a retired law enforcement officer (California) I can tell you your drone footage would not be admissible evidence and it is certainly not a good idea to appear as you are spying on your neighbors.  No, you most likely would not get thrown in jail, but you should let the police handle the situation by telling them you could see the possible stolen item from plain site and let them investigate further.

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