The Brighton Police Department is hoping to capitalize on the next generation of home security by working with a growing home security company.
Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson says last year he learned about Ring home security during a conference where they were discussing their services with law enforcement. He got on board, and now they’ve been partnered with the company for six months, which has allowed them to reach out to residents for surveillance video crucial to investigating crimes.
But there are some misconceptions the chief hopes to clear up about the program.
Ring is a home security company best known for its surveillance camera doorbells. And Henderson is calling it the next generation of neighborhood watch.
“When I first started in 1985, we communicated, we had watch captains, we had residents. It was pre-email, so we had phone trees. Then the internet became prominent,” Henderson said.
That’s why he entered into a partnership with the company, but that doesn’t mean the department can access your cameras.
“I cannot look, eavesdrop, video or voyeur any kind of subscriber,” Henderson said.
In fact, his department doesn’t even have access to who owns these cameras or what addresses they’re installed. Instead, here’s how it works.
“We can take an area of town, highlight it, and anybody that is a registered Ring subscriber will get a blast from the police department," Henderson said. "And this blast from the police department is saying, ‘We had a larceny or a burglary, we’re looking for you to check your surveillance system.’ And if you’ve captured an image, as a voluntary service, please provide that to the Brighton Police Department.”
And it connects with the Neighbors app, where anyone can upload videos and post about things going on in their neighborhood — even if you don’t have Ring security or other home surveillance.
“People don’t have to have a Ring camera to have the Neighbors app, so anybody can have it, and they can see all these alerts," Sergeant Allison Laubacher said. "So you might have one of the other cameras the chief talked about, and you’ll still get these alerts.”
There’s not even the ability for analytics or facial recognition, but Henderson says in today’s age, videos and pictures are still the key to closing cases.
“I believe that this next evolution of this ability to share information, in this context information being video footage, will better help us solve crimes in the future,” Henderson said.
And Brighton isn’t the only local department utilizing home security.
The Irondequoit Police Department has a program called SMART, where residents can voluntarily allow the department to track their cameras’ location via mapping software which they can use to investigate crimes. Ogden Police have a similar program.
And Chief Henderson says the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is part of the same partnership with Ring as Brighton.