Local authorities partner with Amazon Ring to solve crimes in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Those Amazon Ring doorbell videos have helped authorities catch many suspects in the act of committing a crime.

"They've been very effective in identifying suspects that are stealing packages off porches or if detectives just want to know if a vehicle came through a neighborhood after a crime occurred," said Lt. Mark Hudson.

Soon Fresno Police and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office will be monitoring videos posted on the Ring Neighbors mobile app to try to solve crimes. The app shows how many homeowners within a specific area or " geo-fence" have posted videos.

"It allows you to send out a mass request, letting those people know something happened on your street yesterday," said sheriff's spokesman Tony Botti. "If you've got video, please be sure to post it if you haven't done so already because we'd like to sift through it."

In some instances, authorities will have Ring reach out to app users if they believe they may have a video which may help solve a crime.

Critics of the plan say innocent people captured on these videos could also be added to a database.

"We're not just talking about videos and we're not just talking about audio," said Mohammad Tasjar with the ACLU. "We know Amazon is interested in developing facial recognition and other biometric surveillance tools that use the data captured by its Ring cameras."

Botti said, "We want (people) to know too we're not here to invade on their privacy. We're to work with them and solve crimes."

Training for both departments begins next month. They hope to introduce the program in August.

Deputies and officers will have access to the Ring neighborhood app, but they say they'll continue to knock on doors when crimes are committed to see if people saw anything or if they may have surveillance video.
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