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Denver Police Partner With Ring, Hope To Solve Crimes With Doorbell Video

DENVER (CBS4)- The doorbell camera company Ring began partnering with local law enforcement last year, but recently released a full list of those departments nationwide. More than 400 police departments across the country have teamed up with Ring to help solve crimes, including two in Colorado.

Denver and Columbine Valley Police Departments have given homeowners with Ring the option to share video with law enforcement. The partnership between Ring and these police departments will allow investigators to request video recorded by resident's doorbell for the purpose of crime investigation.

"People have sent us video outside of this that we've used to solve crimes," said Denver Police Commander Rick Kyle. "We knock on doors and say 'Hey, do you know anything about this?' and they'll say they have a video camera, let me see if it's captured. That's been going on forever."

Here's the difference with this new Ring partnership: Denver police will be able to request video from residents, who opt in, through Ring. Homeowners would receive a message from Ring, explaining law enforcement's need for their video. In these situations, police believe that Ring doorbell could contain video that would help their investigation.

Homeowners are in no way obligated to volunteer their doorbell video if they have no desire to.

"It's purely voluntary for the public. If people choose to look at the request and choose to look at their cameras, and they find video, they can send it to us electronically so we don't have to go out to their location," explained Kyle.

The request for video from Denver police would go to homeowners with Ring who live in the area of the crime police are investigating. Police would also include the timeframe for the video that corresponds to the events under investigation.

Ring calls it the "new neighborhood watch" but Denver police ensures that the law isn't always watching. The partnership has prompted privacy concerns nationwide.

"We have no access to any of these cameras at all. We don't even have access to know where those cameras are through the Neighbors app," said Kyle.

Ring homeowners already have the option of uploading their footage to an app called Neighbors, it alerts residents of suspicious activity in the area. Police would also be able to post important safety information and updates in that forum. Denver police says this is a partnership meant to increase safety, not surveillance.

"It's not just sharing information with us, it's the public sharing information with each other. That's the power of any neighborhood watch," said Kyle.

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