Pinellas County

Clearwater police inviting video doorbell owners to help solve crime

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) - It's like 500 police officers instead of just a few.

That's how Clearwater police are describing a new crime-fighting tool that uses home video doorbell cameras to identify crooks and solve crimes.

You've seen 8 On Your Side share videos showing people stealing packages from front porches, or burglars as they prepare to break into a home.

Now, through an app from doorbell maker "Ring," homeowners can easily share videos they record with Clearwater detectives.

“It's an extra set of eyes. It's great, new technology to help us bring everybody together and solve cases,” said Lt. Michael Walek.

A Ring video doorbell helped solve a case just last week.

“We pumped out the picture because of a Ring doorbell, and the mom was able see her son committing the burglary and we were able to apprehend him because of that,” said Lt. Walek.

Clearwater cops are using Ring's "Neighbors by Ring" app. If a video doorbell owner spots something suspicious or catches something on any brand of security camera, they can send it using the app and police will see it instantly.

It can solve crimes and prevent them.

“Often times, what we're seeing now is that as more people know about this technology, that would-be burglars or criminals will actually leave the property before even trying something if they know that they are on camera,” said August Cziment, Ring's Director of Operations.

There are about 2000 Ring doorbell users in Clearwater.

“I've been here almost 22 years and things have changed a lot in 22 years, and I think this is a great technology that's gonna even help us even further to solve cases,” said Lt. Walek.

Manatee County is getting involved in the "Neighbors by Ring" program and soon, Tampa police will be on board. You can think of it as a "digital neighborhood watch."

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