Police helicopters are equipped with infrared cameras but that doesn’t mean that they are able to see inside your house. An infrared camera is only able to detect heat given off an object, which makes it useful when detecting criminal movement and suspecting criminal activities inside a property.
Police helicopters are also equipped with high-quality cameras that work as any other cameras do. This means that a police helicopter is unable to see through walls, floors, roofs, and structures.
The only way a police helicopter can get a good look inside your house or any other property is by flying low enough and getting a clear line of sight through a window. Even then, just drawing the blinds will prevent a police helicopter from looking in!
How Low is a Helicopter Legally Allowed to Fly?
According to FAR 91.119, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
- Over congested areas: an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
- Over other than congested areas: An altitude of 500 feet above the surface. In the case of flying over sparsely populated areas, an aircraft may not operate closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
However, helicopters are legally allowed to fly below these altitudes in certain situations if deemed necessary by law enforcement and emergency medical service agencies.