Drone Spotted Hovering Above Neighborhood in West Oakland

Published On February 9, 2013 | By WeCopwatch.org | Articles, Videos

Picture 35
(Update 2/12/13- Met with drone operator, got schooled on the difference between civilian and government crafts, video will be posted shortly)

On February 8th, 2013 at 3:50 pm a drone was sighted hovering above a neighborhood in West Oakland. There didn’t seem to be a focus, it just maintained it’s position above properties near a highway. It is not known at this point what agency or individual was operating the craft. But regardless of who was in control of the drone, it is the type of thing we can expect to see in the future of we don’t act now.

Berkeley Copwatch won an award this week for halting the Berkley Police Department’s attempt to purchase a Bearcat (an armored personnel vehicle) without public input. Copwatch was only able to defeat Berkeley Police’s attempt by mobilizing with others. So it is upon all of us to have these discussions and continue to collectively organize against such police strategies.

Alameda Sheriff’s recently released their intended policies around the use of drones and it’s clear that search and rescue missions are not their intended purpose.

Once introduced into their arsenal, they would be used for a variety of purposes ranging from counter terrorism operations, chases, search and rescue, surveillance, as well as other operations.

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About The Author

Jacob Crawford is a long time Copwatcher based out of the Bay Area in California. He joined Berkeley Copwatch in 2000 and produced the first ever "in the streets" non-dramatized know your rights video "These Streets Are Watching". He has been a contributor for CopBlock.org for several years and currently is running WeCopwatch.org with other Copwatchers.
  • Pete Eyre

    With such a dense population one would think that someone would have seen the operator, or could have tracked it back. Maybe a prize would incentivize such info to be captured and shared.

  • t.

    So it was hovering over a highway. Ever thought that it might just be traffic related or even a private company looking at traffic on side highway?

    You guys are sad. Scary sad. But sad. Big brother really doesn’t care that much qbout you. Honest. I’m on the inside and we never talk about you at the meetings.

  • certain

    On the inside of a shopping mall, maybe.

  • certain


    If you were ever around my house, you’d see them occasionally. But you’d probably not see me flying them, I have a ground station that can plug into vehicle roof-top mounted antennae, or antennae mounted to the roof of my house. Some of these are “flown” with a laptop and no other controller.

  • JAFO

    this is a “HexaKopter”, more of a toy than a drone….one of your neighbors probably looking through someone’s window

  • Comic Sans

    “I can say we definitely wouldn’t use it all the way up until undercover Agent Provocateurs give us an established reason to.”

  • Nope

    Theese drones can be bought t toys are us, they are very common in Asia , I sell models just like this. Anybody could be operating it.

  • Nick

    then shoot the thing down!!!!!!!!

  • Common Sense

    It belings to FEMA, they are preparing for the ‘cleansing’ —

  • M


  • Shazbot Almighty

    That’s right, t, keep sucking the lye out of your master’s boot.

  • G. Asher

    Could have been a toy, could have been a government drone. Either way, hovering over traffic is shit all stupid.

    I think a 3 1/2 inch high high brass magnum 12 gauge laoded with #6 shot would be ideal. I would go lead or tungsten shot, not steel. I don’t think an improved cylinder is the way to go. Maybe a 28 inch barrel with a full choke. You will want a semi auto in case it darts, so maybe a Benelli Super Vinci or a Black Eagle?

  • dan

    Don’t let your paranoia get the better of you! That is just a toy! If it was a drone of the govt it would most likely be bigger and flying much higher. I build these as a “toy”. You can make one at home. Many fly these for aerial footage or for what is called FPV ( First Person View) flying. Better to research something then jump to conclusions. As far as shooting it, think where the projectile will land! Even a .22 will penetrate it and continue on until it finds something or SOMEONE in its path!

  • t.

    Asher: So funny how you “peaceful protester” isn’t turn to violence. It is why the other 98.75 % think OWS is such a joke. The right I to “peaceably assemble”. OWS has never been peaceful. What a joke.

  • G. Asher

    t.? Buddy? I don’t know where you got the idea that I am a protestor, but you are wrong. Also, the idea that I am in any way peaceful is laughable at best. I’ll cut out your eyes and wear them around my neck if you fuck with me.

    And where did the OWS shit come from? Are you high? Again?


    If a small local PD purchased a drone I think I might have an issue with it. Unless it was hardly ever used and only during high risk situations where the cops were there and needed intel.

    For larger areas I think they, well certain kinds, are great!! Most larger PD’s already have helocopters that cost millions a year. We’ve all seen the footage from police chases. So putting a drone up in the air seems like a great idea, and financially responsible 1. It cost alot less, you don’t need a bunch of pilots and maintenance staff, fuel costs and on and on.

  • G. Asher

    PSOSGT, you need a man behind the yoke. Computers just aren’t going to do it. If a computer has a tizzy and the plane crashes, it crashes where it goes. If a manned plane malfunctions, the man flying it can try to put it down safely and hopefully with no innocent casualties.

    Small units that weigh a few pounds and are short range/ short flight time are fine. Things like Predators are not. If it is so important to have an eye in the sky, a Cessna 172 costs far less than a Boeing drone, and retrofitting a surveillance suite will be pretty easy and also cheaper.

    Frankly, I think they are of limited usefulness for actual crime fighting, but they sure are a dandy tool for tyranny.

  • t.

    Asher: First off, whatever there tough guy. As for OWS…what was going in that the drone was supposedly observing? ? ?

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  • Common Sense

    I always laugh, blockers want to film the police doing everything but when ‘the man’ watches them do nothing, and in public, they get their panties in a bunch…how typical.

    DC has around 80 surveillance cameras, Boston 160 (400+ in subways), NYC has thousands. This is nothing new. Police use helicopters to fly over someone’s property and find their grow, completely legal, proven time and time again by courts across the nation, both federal and state level. Drones will save those who actually pay taxes, money. Drones used for police work have already been proven legal in several courts. And that was in 2011, sorry, you missed your window to bitch. Out of the 19000 police departments in the US, around 30 have licenses to operate drones.

    Oh, the horror.

  • Kevin

    @Dan “Better to research something than jump to conclusions” Yes that would be better but that requires functioning brain cells by thinking rationally and logically.

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  • G. Asher

    Well Dave, if being watched is no big deal, how about you post all your info. Full name, address, etc.

  • Lakewood_in_Afghanistan

    They are using drones to search for the “LA Avenger”. Not going so well for the LAPD.

    Take everything away from someone with training and a useful skill set, and then act shocked when those skills are used against you.

    They have sown the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.

  • Common Sense

    Awww, fakewood is back, do the “shields and spears” bit again, its so moving.

    And I don’t know if ambushing a woman and man (both unarmed) and then shooting at cops sitting in their car, and then dropping your wallet while you fail to complete a ‘yacht-jacking’ equals a “Jason Bourne-esq” skill set.

    But, as stated, whatever makes you feel better…

  • Common Sense

    I have always found it interesting, I could care less where you reside, but there are some who certainly want to know where I am. Wonder why.

    …and do you honestly think my name is Dave?

  • Alan S. Pedersen


    What a cute nickname for a .gov troll. Did you think that up all by yourself, or did Big Sis help with that?

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  • G. Asher

    Yep. David Lister.

  • Drew Hendricks

    I think this MIGHT be the same frame as the one you have in the picture.


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  • Common Sense

    You disappoint me Asher. You actually think I’d use a real name? On YouTube? Or in an generic email?

    Come one now, you’re smarter than that…

  • G. Asher

    I followed the trail of bread crumbs, Dave. Should I give out your employer’s name and phone number as well?

    Welcome to the 21st century, bitch. We can find you.

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  • Rebecca

    I just read a magazine article yesterday (though the article may have been much older, it was a breakroom table situation) that featured these “drones”. It was in an outdoor magazine (Outside), and the article was about filming adventure documentaries (man vs. wild style), stating that these drones are available for public purchase and use. Here’s a link to where you can purchase said device. http://www.draganfly.com/uav-helicopter/draganflyer-x6/

    My point being, this was not necessarily government. Maybe someone was running a parkour track nearby?

  • Rebecca

    And… teehee! Sense there doesn’t get the “Dave Lister” reference Asher, but I thought it was pretty hilarious.

  • Common Sense


  • ImpefectAngel

    T. wtf is your obsession with OWS? I think we all wanna know.

    As for this, who knows what it is or what its doing, but I can safely bet that we will be seeing a lot more of them/things like them in the near future. I agree they are limitedly useful for law enforcement however I can think of many applications for search and rescue where unmanned drones would be useful at least for the search part.

    Predator drones however…. they serve no purpose other than to kill and most definitely should not be under the control of any one human being/politician/police department.

  • G. Asher

    Anyone with any questions for me needs to email me through this site.

  • jgarcia

    This is really a hobbiest drone. These are built as a packaged kit by Arduino and can be operated by GPS via a Open Source Mapping program. Nothing to worry about really. I have built 2 of these for clients. Think of it this way…Those neat nice high altitude pphotos and cinema you see of nature or on the discover channel. They come from these little guys. There are a few built on line about the size of a small power wheels car and house a DLSR Cam that live feeds HD shots.

  • Rip T’s eyes out.

    Umm T. I am with Asher I would very well shoot the drones down and come for your eyes as well. Assuming Asher hadn’t beaten me to it. You like many other hide behind your IPs, badges, etc. That really won’t matter when Asher and I have to delegate custody for our new eye necklaces.
    I will take M,W,F, Asher can have Tu,Th,Sa,Su…..

  • Common Sense

    18 U.S.C. § 875(c)

  • G. Asher

    No Rebecca. That is his actual name. That crap he posted about 18 U.S.C. § 875(c) is his vain attempt to scare me into not giving his info out to anyone who asks. Unfortunately, that part of the law in no way covers me giving out his info. It would be like trying to nail a phone book printer for giving out people’s addresses.

  • G. Asher

    Oh, and another thing. When I asked him if I should give out his info, he responded “Yes”, so he has enjoined me to give the info out.

  • Common Sense

    No Asher, post it, here, if you got the balls… if not, well, you’re just chasing ones and zeroes, bits and bytes…


    Yes, I saw the name, but, sadly, it’s not me, but don’t tell Asher.

  • Common Sense

    For clarification, the USC reference was for the “eye comment”

  • Passerby

    I’m not discounting that drones can be used for nefarious government purposes, but it’s not the technology that’s the problem, it’s the people using it. There could be quite legitimate uses for drones, and quite evil uses. And I think if the government wants to spy on you, it will fly much higher and use much more powerful cameras. Look what the CIA and NSA can already do with satellites.

    But here’s an example of something very cool that can be done with drones. Like I said, not the technology, but the user.


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  • Glitch

    “(Update 2/12/13- Met with drone operator, got schooled on the difference between civilian and government crafts, video will be posted shortly)”

    lol what makes you think the military or government are above using civilian crafts to camoflage? It’s a perfect alibi really.