MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) – The City of Mountain Brook announced Tuesday morning that it is becoming the first municipality in the country to encourage all residents to purchase and use Ring Video Doorbells.
The devices are made by Ring Inc. which is owned by Amazon and are popular nationwide. Videos recorded by the devices consistently circulate online showing apparent criminals “caught in the act” of unlawful activity.
Erin Krauss is a Mountain Brook resident and tells CBS 42 that she has never once feared becoming a victim of crime in Mountain Brook. Nevertheless, she purchased a Ring Video Doorbell six months ago as an extra security measure.
“At night, you don’t know who’s behind the door when the doorbell rings,” said Krauss. “So, [we thought] it would probably be nice to see what’s going on out there.”
And now, with Tuesday’s announcement, Krauss will not be alone. Stewart Welch, the Mayor of Mountain Brook, tells CBS 42 that his hope is to get as many residents as possible to equip their homes with the devices in order to create a “network” of security systems that can identify and deter criminals.
“Our goal is to send a message to the criminals that if you come into our neighborhoods, we’re going to put you on video, we’re going to track you down, and we’re going to put you in jail,” said Mayor Welch.
When someone approaches a home armed with a Ring Video Doorbell, the homeowner receives a notification on his or her phone. Then, the homeowner may open the Ring app and see who is at the front door and even speak with the individual. A demonstration may be found in the video above.
City leaders are also encouraging everyone to download the “Neighbors by Ring” app which will allow residents to post and share doorbell videos to heighten crime awareness in the community.
“The Ring ‘Neighbors’ app allows us to not only positively identify a potential criminal through video, but in some cases, we can track criminal movement through a neighborhood,” said Mountain Brook Police Chief Ted Cook. “The ‘Neighbors’ app effectively creates a digital Neighborhood Watch.”
Mayor Welch tells CBS 42 that residents will be able to purchase the devices from Little Hardware on Cahaba Rd. in English Village. The shop will also be able to assist with installation.
“This highly effective product costs less than $200,” said Mayor Welch. “I own one and it provides a great sense of security.”
“If we can get city-wide adoption of these systems, it will deter crime as criminals learn the security systems are wide-spread within our community,” said Chief Cook. “It will just be less risky to go somewhere else.”
Krauss tells CBS 42 that she is excited by the initiative and is fully on board. “I think it is a good idea,” said Krauss. “Having that little extra deterrent makes you feel that much safer I think.”
One question some had for city leaders was whether officials would be able to monitor the video cameras constantly, which some fear would compromise privacy. Chief Cook affirmed to residents that his department will only have access to video footage if it is sent to them directly by residents.
The full City of Mountain Brook press conference may be seen below.