Private Investigator Spies Using Drones

Chris Wright is a problem solver. Her clients come to her with an issue, a question, a mystery, and she figures out the best way to find the answer – using whatever tools she can. “I use a combination of new technology and old technology, because I have to solve a problem. So I’ve used everything from geese and dogs to Roombas to drones to GPS.”

Wright is a private investigator – and owner of the Wright Group – based in Anaheim, California. She’s worked in the business for more than 40 years, and has seen the tools available to investigators change dramatically. Early on, stakeouts in vans were important. More recently new technology in the form of tiny cameras and social media have begun to play a role. And she’s embraced those changes. Today, when the problem calls for it, she uses drones to do her work.

Consumer drones such as the Yuneec Q500 come with high quality cameras and gimbals that are excellent for surveillance use (Photo by Yuneec).

She gives me a few examples. If two people are meeting in a public place, a drone can be a helpful way to discreetly watch them. “We stay at about 50-75 feet [15-23 metres] above so nothing can be heard.” Drones are also helpful for aerial surveillance of locations that are hard to access on foot. And if a school or church is worried someone might be stealing or vandalising property, drones or small off-road vehicles (“Roombas on steroids” as she calls them) can film the property.

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