Smart technology has reached the home security market. It used to be that only wealthy people could afford to install a home security system that monitored doors and windows, but now there are simpler and cheaper options available to homeowners that lets them monitor their homes from their smartphones or desktop computers. One of the more popular smart home security systems available is the Amazon Ring doorbell.
A Ring doorbell acts as a regular doorbell, but it has a tiny camera and microphone inside of it. As soon as its motion detector senses a movement on your front porch, you get an alert on your phone or computer, and the camera begins recording. You can then speak to whoever is standing at your front door. Amazon has also developed an online platform called Neighbors App, which allows neighbors to share information with one another about crime and safety issues.
Partnering with Law Enforcement
Law enforcement can also share information on the Neighbors App about recent crime statistics or notices. Edgewood, Washington became the first community in the state to team up with Ring's Neighbors App in July 2019, and since then several other Washington police departments have joined the platform. Edgewood police have touted several success stories that have led to suspects being arrested.
In one instance, a Ring camera filmed a man on a bicycle who approached a front porch in Edgewood and then made off with a package that was sitting there. The homeowner posted the video to Neighbors App, and another homeowner saw it and recognized the man from a video their camera had recorded of him riding by their house with the package under his arm. Based on that information, the police were able to identify him and get a search warrant. They found several packages he had stolen.
Not Everyone Loves this New Technology
Critics of doorbell cameras say that these devices are blurring the line between private and public surveillance. Jennifer Lee with the ACLU of Washington says that sharing this kind of information raises privacy concerns. According to Lee, "We're increasingly concerned about the use of surveillance technologies like Ring, which law enforcement can use footage from and use it in combination with face surveillance to track people, which chills people's civil liberties."
Law enforcement officials stress that they only look at surveillance video when homeowners share them with their departments. They stress they are not constantly monitoring all Ring customers' doorbell cameras.
Defense Against Mistaken Identification
Another possibility that will have to be examined with this new technology is whether it could lead to mistaken identity. What if a Ring doorbell camera captures a video of a silver Honda Accord leaving a house that has been burglarized, but it only manages to read two numbers of the license plate. You own a silver Honda Accord that happens to have two of those numbers on its license plate, and now the police come knocking on your door with an arrest warrant.
As a former King County prosecutor, Steve Karimi will work to prove that you are a victim of mistaken identity and he will challenge the Ring doorbell video surveillance as being “proof” that you were the thief. If you have been falsely accused of a crime you did not commit, you need the experience of the Law Offices of Steve Karimi by your side. Contact his office or call 206-621-8777 today to learn more.