UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Ring, a well-known doorbell camera company, has partnered with more than 400 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
Police departments can now use an app to access surveillance footage uploaded by Ring users.
While the partnership has raised some privacy concerns, the initiative has already seen some success in our area.
Union City resident Enid Karpeh-Diaz told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillion she uses her Ring doorbell every day to screen for packages that arrive at her door.
“You ring the doorbell, and I get an alert on my phone,” she explained.
The camera once captured a man stealing a package from her stoop.
“He just takes the package, and down the stairs he goes,” she said.
She immediately shared the video on Ring’s community app.
The Union City Police Department recently partnered with the company and now has access to that footage.
Before Karpeh-Diaz knew it, a police officer was at her door.
“He’s already gotten the alert. This had to have happened in maybe 10 minutes at most,” she said.
The police department said the partnership has been a great way to increase community policing. It’s already resulted in four arrests, including the suspect in this case.
“It really cuts down on time. Before this, people had video, but this system is so simple to use and retain your video footage. It’s cut down on ‘what system is it, how do we get a copy?’” Chief Nichelle Luster explained.
Union City is just one of several police departments in New Jersey that has partnered with Ring.
The company says its goal is to eventually have every law enforcement agency in the country on its police portal.
Despite the success, some experts and consumers worry the video sharing will create privacy concerns.
“We’re going to see a growing sense of people sort of becoming informants on our neighbors and our neighborhoods,” said author Andrew Ferguson.
“You don’t want everyone knowing your business, where you live. You’re giving people a lot of information, like where you live,” one person said.
Ring says consumers have a choice if they want to share their videos with police and others.
“I can tell you we will always follow the laws, but we will always fight for our customers’ rights – their control and their privacy,” CEO Jamie Siminoff said.
“If something occurs – crime or whatever – it’s in everyone’s best interest to get to the facts, and I think this helps with that,” said Karpeh-Diaz.
For her, giving up some privacy is a small price to pay if it means more security.