CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. (KDKA) — A home security app is helping local law enforcement departments.
Castle Shannon Police Chief Ken Truver showed KDKA on Thursday how the Ring doorbell and Neighbors application works.
The Baldwin Township Police Department is the other local department partnering with the app.
Ring allows users to watch over their property with the company’s products, including a doorbell camera.
Truver’s department started using the doorbell-camera-firm in 2018 and said it has been a useful tool.
“A lot of our instances, where we are using the app, is unwanted solicitors,” Truver said.
Unwanted solicitors, car thieves and more.
“I can go onto the portal, send an e-mail blast out to multiple residents if they are application users,” Truver said. “And ask if they have any video surveillance available to use in our investigation.”
Castle Shannon resident Carol Koprivnikar got the Ring doorbell and Neighbors app after she saw her neighbor across the street using it.
“I think it’s a good idea to get the information out there and make us all more aware of what’s going on,” Koprivnikar said.
Not everyone thinks that way.
Critics said the partnership with 400 some police departments across the nation raises questions about privacy, surveillance and accessibility by tech giants.
“These are cameras that are facing out on your own private property and if it helps deter criminals away from the house or capture a crime in progress, then we want that information,” Truver said.
Chief Truver said residents don’t have to share the surveillance footage if they don’t want to.
“I think if people don’t know the technology or how it works,” Truver said. “There’s a fear factor.”
“If you’re not doing anything wrong, what are you afraid of,” Koprivnikar said.