Monday, January 20, 2020

Doorbell cameras become crime-fighting tools


Last summer someone cruising our alley in red pickup swiped three nice bicycles that were parked behind a neighbor's house.

My front door and my Ring doorbell have a view of that alley. So when I heard about the missing bikes, I browsed through my stored videos and there it was - a red pickup truck with the bike clearly visible among the stuff piled in the back.

The video didn't capture the truck's license plate. But after I posted a still image on Nextdoor, a neighborhood-focused social network, I heard from several neighbors who recognized the truck. One of them knew the owner, a man who frequently cruised the neighborhood streets collecting discarded items.

Doorbell video cameras like mine have become watchfull eyes all across America, according to a story published yesterday in the New York Times. The article recounts a number of examples of how the cameras have foiled criminals and assisted neighbors, including a woman who had been locked out of her home on an icy winter night.

It also reports that police agencies in many communities have obtained access to Ring doorbell videos, with the permission of their owners, to assist in criminal investigations. That hasn't happened in my community, but I think that if asked, I would be inclined to agree. How about you?

Here's a link to the Times' story and a YouTube video of a thief stealing a $100 item -- the doorbell that recorded him in the act.



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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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