SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) – Imagine being able to see and talk to a visitor outside your front door when you are not home. Wouldn't it be great to always know when your package arrives, especially during the holiday shopping season?
There is an app for that, and it comes with the Ring Video Doorbell.
Ben Levy lives in West Los Angeles, where there is heavy daytime foot and vehicle traffic. He said: "The increased traffic means that we're fairly vulnerable" to crimes.
So, Levy installed Ring, a wi-fi video doorbell that allows you to see and speak to visitors outside your home from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet.
A couple of months ago, Levy received an alert notifying him that someone was at his front door. The smart doorbell allowed him to talk to the stranger via his mobile device.
"It was a person I didn't recognize," Levy said. "He was actually casing the house and asked me a ridiculous question."
"Excuse me. Do you know where the Beverly Center is?" the man asked and then walked away.
Jamie Siminoff of Pacific Palisades, the chief inventor and CEO of Ring based in Santa Monica, said laziness inspired him to create the video doorbell.
He said he was working in his garage and "I wanted to see who was there [front door] because if it was someone that I didn't want to talk to, I didn't want to get out of the garage and go see them."
"So, I looked on Amazon to get a doorbell that I could hear in the garage. I couldn't find one. So, I started building my own," Siminoff said.
According to Siminoff, Ring is now in more than 100,000 homes. "Most customers take 5-10 minutes to install it. Everything's included in the package," he said.
He said law enforcement is taking notice. "We've been able to reduce crime in communities, stop crime in houses, arrest people that are breaking into homes," Siminoff touted. "It's kind of been amazing what this device has done."
For more than a year, Siminoff has worked with the Los Angeles Police Department on a neighborhood-safety program by donating 50 devices.
He said since then, crimes have been reduced drastically in the neighborhood where the program was being implemented. "Being home, the presence of being home and how powerful that is in a community really is something that does not only reduce, but also really stops crime."
As for Levy, he said he has pursuaded his neighbors to also install Ring.
"I don't think that the primary motivator for having something like this should be security. The point is when somebody is coming to your door, they're looking to contact you. That's why they came to your door. And this allows you to have that contact even when you're not home," Levy said.
The video doorbell costs about $200.
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