I'm sure you've seen one of these commercials on TV or heard this selling point from Amazon's ring.
To prove that the LAPD that having 10% of the homes of the rings were able to reduce crime by 50% and neighborhood.
Preventing crime and making neighborhoods safer is a huge selling point for ring and a big reason why police departments work with the video doorbell company.
But does it actually do what they claim it does?
To figure out the answer we obtained property crime records from three of Rings earliest partners Green Bay, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
We then showed the data to crime analyst and spoke to the police department on how much safer Ring is actually made these neighborhoods The answer?
There's almost no evidence to back up Rings claimed, I'll explain later, but first let's take a trip back to 2015.
Ring has rested its claim that it reduces crime in neighborhoods from a study that it conducted in Los Angeles back in 2015, where it claims that it's video doorbells reduce burglaries by 55% in six months.
Here's ring CEO Jamie Simon off repeating that claim after Amazon purchased the company.
So we did a study with the LAPD where with 10% of the homes having rain, we were able to reduce crime by 55% in this controlled area, but the MIT Technology Review found that this was not the case.
It was actually 42% over 10 months.
And while that's still a decent drop, it did not last for long as that same neighborhood saw most burglaries in seven years within a year after that study.
Despite that, Ring has constantly referred to this study using it as a way to convince hundreds of police departments to partner with them.
This study is referenced in Ring's emails with police.
And in contracts for these partnerships, it starts with Ring wants to help reduce crime and increase safety.
So how has it worked out for these police departments?
Well, let's ask them.
This is from the Green Bay police department which was the 34th department in the US to sign up in August 2018.
In 2019, we saw a 6% decrease in property crime there is no causation with the ring partnership.
Here's Fort Lauderdale Police Department, rings third police partner.
We cannot attribute a change in the number of property crimes solely to ring.
As it is only one of the many tools we use to investigate unsolved crimes.
And here's Aurora police rings 32nd police partner.
I can't put numbers on it specifically if it works or if it doesn't reduce crime.
Here's the thing, ring can point at annual crime statistics and say, Look, we are reducing crime.
If you look at the FBI crime statistics, it'll show you that property crime has decreased in the time that ring came onto the market.
That's awesome, right?
But let's zoom out a little more and see the FBI is property crime rate from 30 years ago.
Look at that property crime has been steadily decreasing every year from 1991 to 2014.
Crime analysts know that looking at annual statistics is not an effective measure.
So we decided to get a closer look and get data for monthly statistics.
We requested for monthly data from the year before the ring partnerships began and the year after, this is what it looked like.
This is a chart for Aurora Steph Curry The blue line on this chart represents before the ring partnership and the red line represents the year after.
While it's lower because crime overall has been reducing for decades.
Look at that parallel between the two lines.
It indicates that crime rates follow the same trend over the year spiking and decreasing at almost the same time.
Here's the theft rate in Green Bay, Wisconsin where it's not as parallel.
But you can see the same fluctuation dropping in the winter and rising in the summer, just like it did the year before the ring partnership again.
And in Fort Lauderdale, we actually saw that that's increased after the ring partnership, going from an average of three hundred and sixty nine thefts a month to three hundred and eighty two thefts a month, the next year.
Does this mean that rings police partnerships are actually increasing crime?
But it does not support rings claims that it's making neighborhoods safer either.
So why aren't police departments and crime analysts as quick to say that ring is reducing crimes as Amazon has been for the last two years.
Probably because they're experts on the subject.
There are many reasons why crime rates change.
And they can be as complicated as, how long have the neighbours lived in the area for two simple reasons.
Like, how much did it rain that year?
Thieves don't like to get Get wet and the property crime rate drops significantly when the weather is bad.
A lot of outside factors like population size and income contributes to changes in crime rates as well.
This is not to say that ring does not solve crimes or does not make neighborhoods safer.
Its video doorbells have footage that have caught criminals.
But there is a big difference between what ring shows off and having an impact on the overall crime rate.
Public safety is frequently used as a justification for surveillance and has been rings main selling point for years.
And while ring has drastically ramped up how often people are being watched, it doesn't necessarily provide that safety trade off that it's promised
How much does it cost to spy on your neighbors? Apparently, $5...
Amazon Ring adds Stick Up and indoor cameras
Police have your Ring footage. They're not the only ones looking...
Ring's partnership with police means more false alarms
Amazon's Ring cameras are building out surveillance for police...
Your Ring camera could be a part of a police surveillance network
Ring creates a digital neighborhood watch with Neighbors app