It was three months ago that a resident of Hammond, Indiana contacted police after she noticed a suspicious-looking man prowling on her property, thanks to her Amazon Ring doorbell.
According to CNET, the situation only added to the woman’s terror as she had previously contacted the police with a message and video footage of a separate incident and a different individual.
Fortunately, the Hammond police were able to reassure the resident that she was not in danger as it was a member of their department on her property.
“It was one of our detectives. He was going there to interview the person for whatever the situation was,” Steve Kellogg, a public information officer for Hammond Police, explained.
According to Kellogg, the detective was wearing regular clothing. While his badge was around his neck, it was not in view of the camera. The detective, however, would have shown his badge to the resident had she answered the door instead of relying on the camera.
“He’s clearly on the camera saying he’s with the police department,” Kellogg added.
This incident is just one example of false alarms across the U.S. CNET reports police officials believe the technology causes some residents to become more paranoid of criminal activity.
The BBC covers our new campaign calling on mayors and city councils to stop Amazon’s creepy doorbell surveillance partnerships with police https://t.co/zElA9uVMw5— Evan Greer (@evan_greer) August 1, 2019
While Eric Piza, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who released a study on security cameras, believes they can be extremely useful, he doesn’t think the average resident is qualified to decipher between what is and is not criminal activity.
“We’ve seen from research that people are not the best judges of criminal behavior,” Piza explained.
A recent report by Motherboard confirms Amazon has partnered Ring technology with 200 police departments across the U.S. Piza’s research, however, suggests the partnership may cause more problems than it initially fixes.
According to the associate professor’s research, surveillance cameras are most effective when someone is actively watching the footage. The problem with these police departments partnering with Amazon Ring is Piza does not believe they have the manpower they would need to actively monitor the footage they are contractually gaining access to.
CNET does clarify that Amazon Ring alarms and reports aren’t all bad, as the technology is effective at preventing and prosecuting crime. This is especially true when it comes to individuals stealing packages after they’ve been delivered and before residents have had time to retrieve them. The media outlet went on to explain Amazon Ring helped prosecutors with a double-homicide in Gary, Indiana and a murder case in Texas.
An assortment of Ring technology is currently available for purchase via Amazon’s website.