Smart Home Surveillance Systems Are The Latest In Security Across The Twin Cities
A vast network of smart home surveillance systems like Ring and Nest is at the heart of a new kind of neighborhood watch in the Twin Cities and beyond. Whether posting video to social media of porch pirates stealing packages or capturing footage of drive-by shootings, law enforcement officials say an increasing number of residents are sharing more digital evidence than ever before.
So much so that a growing number of police departments are enlisting homeowners and their equipment to better track and attack crime. In the meantime, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union urge caution when using such devices and sharing the data they gather.
Ring, owned by Amazon, has partnered with more than 400 agencies nationwide — including at least 15 in Minnesota — to identify relevant video footage recorded in their area. The partnership also allows police to join Ring’s Neighbors app, which encourages residents to post footage of suspicious activity.
When a crime occurs in one of their partners’ jurisdictions, Ring contacts nearby customers to ask permission to share their video with authorities. Participation is voluntary and users can opt-out at any time.
After the program launched in 2018, the tech company pitched it to law enforcement as an investigative tool that would bolster community engagement and make neighborhoods safer. Agencies were offered access to the system at no cost, according to a copy of the basic contract obtained by the Star Tribune.
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