RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Those popular doorbell cameras are capturing all kind things, including crooks: from shots fired recently in Oregon Hill, a bear ringing a doorbell with his nose in Florida and even a random doorbell licker caught on camera in California.
The cameras instantly begin recording when they detect motion. Kim Jones of Chesterfield told 8News how her doorbell camera captured two porch pirates.
“They were looking in the windows kind of casing the house. I called the police and they came out and took a copy of the video,” said Jones.
Chesterfield Police nabbed the teens involved. These doorbell devices can also send you alerts when someone’s at your door.
“My phone kept getting a notification someone was at my home,” said Amanda Butler of Arkansas.
Using the Ring Neighbors app while she was at work, Butler was able to ask the stranger at her door what he wanted. She feared was about to break-in and when she spoke, he took off.
August Cziment, Ring’s Director of Operations, says: “Often times, what we’re seeing now is that as more people know about this technology, that would-be burglars or criminals will actually leave the property before even trying something if they know that they are on camera.“
Police across the country say it’s a game changer. Lt. Michael Walek with Clearwater Florida Police has been a detective for 22 years. “It’s an extra set of eyes. It’s great new technology to help bring us together to solve cases,” Walek said.
Sgt. Keith Wilson with the Sherwood Police Department in Arkansas says, “She’s basically looking right at the doorbell which is now a camera. We were able to identify her and make an arrest.“
8News has learned the Richmond Police Department has now joined the Ring Neighbors app. It’s a modern day neighborhood watch from the company behind those doorbell camera devices.
You don’t need to have a doorbell camera to use the app which lets you can view real-time crime related videos, photos and safety alerts about incidents in your community. Just last month the Norfolk Police Department announced it was joining the Neighbors Ring appRPD has told 8News in past stories, the virtual peepholes are catching criminals. “It’s a big help to us. It helps us solve all kinds of crime,” says Lt. Edward Capriglione.
Brent Hosein, a computers manager at Best Buy in Chesterfield, says if you are looking to put some eyes over your front door, “there is a lot of off brand ones. If you are going to buy one I would buy something that is reliable.“
Hosein first showed 8News the Ring model.
“This is actually the ring doorbell pro we are looking at,” he said. The Ring brand will pair with your Alexa. If you prefer Google Assistant to Alexa the Nest Hello might be for you. It also has some unique features.
“It can actually detect family and friend, you can have facial recognition on there,” explained Hosein.Simplisafe now offers a doorbell camera that will pair with both.
“Simplisafe was actually designed by a college grad who wanted people to have affordable home security,” says Hosein.
Prices for doorbell devices range from $99 to $250. To get the most out of your doorbells cameras, you’ll need to subscribe to a monthly plan. Plans range from $3 to $10 a month depending on features and storage.
8News expects to learn more from Richmond police about their use of the Ring Neighbors app in the coming weeks.