Police Say Amazon Ring Isn’t Much of a Crime Fighter

Last year, Ring, the doorbell and security camera company — which Amazon bought in 2018 — released a promotional video. “We have Ring cameras in our community,” says Orlando Florida Police Chief Michael Deal. “And we understand the value of those cameras in helping us solve crimes.”

Ring citing its own research that says an installation of its doorbell cameras reduces burglaries by more than 50 percent, promises to “make neighborhoods safer” by deterring and helping to solve crimes. But an NBC News Investigation found that there is little concrete evidence to support the claim. They interviewed 40 law enforcement agencies in eight states that have partnered with Ring for at least three months.

Three agencies said the ease with which the public can share Ring videos means officers spend time reviewing clips of non-criminal issues. Others stated that the flood of footage generated by Ring cameras rarely led to positive identifications of suspects, let alone arrests. Ring says it does not know how effective its own cameras are in catching theft itself, much less identifying suspects.

Read Hayes, a criminologist from the University of Florida who researches package theft for the Loss Prevention Research Council, an industry group of retailers, said the best deterrent was placing packages where they can’t be seen from the road, but second best was “increasing the perceived risk of getting caught,” which includes conspicuous surveillance cameras and other security systems. Ring’s deterrent effect is less effective, he said, because its design is so discreet.