Orlando police want to use Ring doorbells to solve crimes

City Council to vote on proposal Tuesday

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police officers could soon be using video from residents' video doorbells to solve and prevent local crime, according to a proposal obtained by News 6.

Ring doorbells use video technology allowing citizens to see who is at their door from anywhere using an app. The smart doorbells start at $99. The company also makes security systems, including motion sensor cameras.​

Video doorbells have helped Orlando police solve previous crimes after burglars have literally been caught on camera.

Last summer, an Orlando homeowner got an alert on his phone and didn't recognize the visitors and called police. When officers arrived, they said, they caught two men trying to break into the home.

The Ring website is filled with customer stories of "criminals caught in the act."

Nationally, Ring supports about 1 million customers. There are almost 10,000 Orlando residents using the Ring app, according to the company. OPD wants to use that to assist in their investigations.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said other cities in south Florida and Philadelphia have also partnered with Ring to crack down on crime.

Ring founder and CEO Jamie Siminoff told the Los Angeles Times last May that after the company gave doorbells to a Los Angeles Koreatown neighborhood, LAPD reported a 55 percent declined in home burglaries in six months.

Mina said residents shouldn't be concerned about privacy issues.

"If we do need to look at certain video from an area, Ring would contact those residents and specifically ask them if it’s OK to view that video of that particular case," Mina said.

If a homeowner doesn't want police to look at their Ring video, then they won't, Mina said.

A Ring spokeswoman said law enforcement officers can only see posts shared publicly on the network and would not have access to users' devices, video and data.

A statement from Ring said it would provide Orlando police with a Ring Neighborhood portal, free of charge, as well as train Orlando Police Department employees to use the tech.

A spokeswoman for Ring said the neighborhood network "lets neighbors easily share and communicate with each other about crime and safety so they have relevant, real-time, local crime information at their fingertips. Ring Neighborhoods facilitates communication, which is a crucial element of crime prevention. By working together, we can make our neighborhoods safer."

Mina said OPD can partner with Ring to target problem areas.

"If there is a crime problem in a specific area, we will reach out to Ring and say 'We are having a burglary problem on this street,' and then Ring would contact the homeowners and ask permissions to put that video in the portal, which would allow law enforcement to look at that," Mina said.

OPD needs the City Commission's approval to access the Ring technology and use it.

Orlando City Council members will review the proposal by OPD Tuesday during a a City Council meeting. Council members will vote on the proposal.

Mina said he hasn't heard any negative feedback to the proposal from any commissioners or anyone in the community.

"I think it's a win-win for the community," Mina said of the proposed partnership with Ring.