Ring, Ring: Will the Police Continue to Respond?

February 21, 2020

Amazon has been working to establish a policeware business. One of the more visible products is the Amazon Ring doorbell. The law enforcement community has access, under certain conditions, to the data captured by these devices. The idea is that Ring videos provide useful information to investigators.

Cute Videos, but Little Evidence: Police Say Amazon Ring Isn’t Much of a Crime Fighter” reports:

Ring promises to “make neighborhoods safer” by deterring and helping to solve crimes, citing its own research that says an installation of its doorbell cameras reduces burglaries by more than 50 percent. But an NBC News Investigation has found — after interviews with 40 law enforcement agencies in eight states that have partnered with Ring for at least three months — that there is little concrete evidence to support the claim.

Then Euronews adds:

Three agencies said the ease with which the public can share Ring videos means officers spend time reviewing clips of non-criminal issues such as raccoons and petty disagreements between neighbors. Others noted that the flood of footage generated by Ring cameras rarely led to positive identifications of suspects, let alone arrests. Thirteen of the 40 jurisdictions reached, including Winter Park, said they had made zero arrests as a result of Ring footage. Thirteen were able to confirm arrests made after reviewing Ring footage, while two offered estimates. The rest, including large cities like Phoenix, Miami, and Kansas City, Missouri, said that they don’t know how many arrests had been made as a result of their relationship with Ring — and therefore could not evaluate its effectiveness — even though they had been working with the company for well over a year.

If these data are accurate and Euronews is on the beam, Amazon’s idea may not convert to revenue from the firm’s policeware investments.

Amazon has other capabilities of utility to law enforcement. A Ring which goes unheeded may slow if not stall Amazon’s ambitions in this market segment. The use of the word “cute” is another amagenic touch. There is some aggression toward the online bookstore it seems.

Stephen E Arnold, February 20. 2020

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