Since I was a child, I've been hearing talk about increasing crime rates on the news. It might be one of the reasons I find myself engrossed with shows, podcasts, and books about true crime. But, my weird obsession aside, with our technological capabilities ever increasing, I'm surprised that these crime rates continue to climb. Especially with devices, like the Ring Doorbell, becoming more and more popular.

Using that technology, Kalamazoo is hoping to curb crimes and gun violence in the area. According to WWMT News Channel 3, the Kalamazoo City Commission has just approved a budget of $100,000 to attempt to decrease gun violence. That money will be divided up into four initiatives.

  • Community mobilization and cohesion
  • Community healing
  • Housing rehabilitation
  • Increased security systems

While I don't have the details on what plans are in place to heal the community, I will say that I was surprised by their plan to increase security. The city of Kalamazoo will use the allotted $25,000 to gift residents of the Northside and Edison neighborhoods free Ring Doorbell Security Cameras.

In the past, concerns have risen about the reach of local police and their ability to access any Ring Security footage whenever they want. However, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety says that's not the case. Assistant Chief David Boysen said,

If we do have a crime in your neighborhood, we can send out a request to those individuals in the area on the app, and request videos. It’s up to the resident to share those videos.

Meaning officers must have your permission to access that video.

The apparent hope is that the increased presence of Ring Doorbells in these areas will not only help officers solve crimes but deter them from ever happening in the first place. And while Boysen claims that there's been an increase in solved crimes thanks to video footage from community members, there's not a lot of data to support that nationally. At least, not from Ring Doorbells alone. You can read supporting data on both technologyreview.com and nbcnews.com.

For those wanting to provide tips or video footage but are afraid for their own safety should rest assured that those who provide their Ring Doorbell footage with remain anonymous.

Currently, according to neighborhoodscout.com, the violent crime rate in Kalamazoo is 13.36 which feels disheartening. Even overwhelming. However, I'm not educated enough to understand the complexities that come along with reducing violent crimes. But, I certainly hope, even if nationally the data doesn't support it, these Ring Doorbells will have an impact on local crime.

Those looking for more information can contact the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety here.

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A Nearly Empty Kalamazoo