Police departments work to build city surveillance through home security

Police departments work to build city surveillance through home security

Police departments have figured out a new way to increase city security – through privately-owned surveillance cameras. While the smart home security camera market is expected to rise swiftly in the next few years, police may have to implement restrictions to develop resident support.

Police departments around the country are trying to find new ways to increase neighborhood and city security. Recently, police departments across the country have started requesting for access to home surveillance, whether it’s through smart doorbells or registering home or business surveillance cameras.

Smart doorbells have heightened neighborhood security, creating private surveillance networks around the country. Recently, police departments have started offering free or discounted Amazon Ring doorbells to citizens. The catch is that in some giveaways, police require recipients to turn over footage when requested.

Ring said on June 5 that it does not support programs that require recipients to share footage as a condition for receiving a donated device.

“Ring customers are in control of their videos, when they decide to share them and whether or not they want to purchase a recording plan,” Ring said in a statement. “Ring has donated devices to Neighbor’s Law Enforcement partners for them to provide to members of their communities.”

However, the relationship between smart doorbells, police and residents does have some advantages. Police can gather more video footage, the company in charge of the doorbell can make money on subscription fees, and residents can feel safer knowing they have the ability to see their street without leaving their home.

In Mountain Brook, Ala., the police department is trying to create a digital neighborhood watch through smart doorbells. Ted Cook, Mountain Brook police chief said that they are encouraging residents of Mountain Brook to work with the Amazon Ring Neighbors app, a free download where people can share, view, and comment on crime information in their neighborhood, as well as upload video clips from Ring doorbells.

“We don’t have security cameras citywide,” Cook said. “Essentially, this has the ability of creating security camera technology citywide. We’re asking citizens to participate, to purchase it on their own.”

In Waterbury, Conn., the police department is asking residents and business owners to register their business surveillance cameras and home security cameras to solve crimes faster and boost city safety.

Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said that the department would not monitor the camera systems. The access would only be provided once they contact the owner of the camera system. This being said, the registration would allow for a quick discovery time.

“This registration would allow us to search a database when a crime occurs in the city almost instantly,” Spagnolo said.

Many residents across the country are unsure of sharing their videos because of privacy concerns, and a study from Strategy Analytics says the market for smart home security cameras is expected to exceed $9.7 billion by 2023. It looks as if police departments will definitely work to take advantage of this market to build out their surveillance networks, but more restrictions may have to be placed on when the surveillance can be accessed to increase resident support and registration.

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