Lots of New Jersey residents got drones for Hanukkah and Christmas last month, which has raised some security concerns.

Retail sales totals were so high the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is now urging members of the public to be on the lookout for drone-related suspicious activity.

According to Homeland Security Acting Director Laurie Doran, “people can do things that are untoward using this type of equipment, even though this is generally a recreational toy and a hobby toy.”

Signs of possible trouble

She said you should contact law enforcement immediately “if you see some unusual modifications on those devices, like for example say someone has a drone that has their lights on them taped over or they’re removed, or you see additional visible batteries attached or some visible loose wires.”

A multirotor quadcopter drone
Getty Images
loading...

She also pointed out if you see a drone unattended on the ground, or continually flying in any kind of a sensitive area, that should also be reported.

“Somebody potentially could be doing some kind of reconnaissance, looking at different areas by flying over repeatedly or hovering,” she said.

No-fly zones

Doran pointed out Jersey residents should call authorities if they see someone operating a drone near an airport as well as “a lot of parks, almost all of them in New Jersey, you really can’t fly a drone there, certain landmarks, military bases, prisons.”

She also noted, “there’s certain times that you’re not allowed to fly these drones such as during an air show or some outdoor sporting events like for example say there’s a game going on at Met Life stadium.”

An Aerial View Of Super Bowl XLVIII
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
loading...

Follow the rules

The Federal Aviation Administration has outlined several rules recreational operators must follow before and while flying a drone on their website.

These details include the drone registration process, a mandatory recreational drone safety test, restricted and permitted flight times and locations, along with other requirements.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal authority on the drone threat environment, has detailed information about suspicious device indicators on their website.

If you observe unusual or suspicious drone activity of any kind Doran said you should immediately report it to local law enforcement or NJOHSP’s Counterterrorism Watch Desk at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or at tips@njohsp.gov.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

New Jersey's smallest towns by population

New Jersey's least populated municipalities, according to the 2020 Census. This list excludes Pine Valley, which would have been the third-smallest with 21 residents but voted to merge into Pine Hill at the start of 2022.

11 things that make a New Jersey diner a real diner