With riots in Jerusalem threatening to unravel a volatile region, Israeli police are looking to the sky for some help to keep things under control.

Over the past few weeks, police have been using sophisticated surveillance balloons to keep track of unrest that has roiled the city's eastern sector. The white, puffy aircraft, hovering over sensitive holy sites and Arab neighborhoods, have given police a new tool in their widening arsenal meant to halt the Jerusalem's worst wave of violence in nearly a decade.

Police say the balloons give their surveillance efforts an added dimension — allowing them to monitor and even prevent violence before it happens. They also have used the balloons to track people suspected in violent protests.

But residents say the aircraft are an invasion of privacy.