How Video Cameras and Doorbells Make for Better Policing

Casually walk down any street in your neighborhood and glance at the houses as you go by. If your neighborhood is like most others, you should notice a surprising number of video surveillance cameras and video doorbells. People are deploying them more frequently than ever. That’s good on a number of fronts.

Surveillance cameras and video doorbells help keep homeowners safer by deterring everyone from burglars to porch pirates. But guess what? They are also helping police do what they do better. To say that video cameras and doorbells make for better policing is like saying the sky is blue.

Improving Police Investigations

Deterring burglary and other crimes is a very good reason to install cameras and video doorbells. But so is the desire to help local police, explains Vivint, a nationwide provider of home automation and wireless security equipment. They say that cameras and video doorbells give police investigators extra tools for cracking cases.

A recent, high-profile case out of Las Vegas is a good example. The case involved a woman who was kidnapped on a stranger’s doorstep in early January 2020. Video surveillance from the home showed the woman pounding on the front door for a few seconds before a man came up from behind and abducted her. He dragged her to his car and drove away.

Though the homeowners were not home when the incident occurred, they did receive smartphone alerts. They contacted the authorities who turned around and distributed the video footage nationwide. A suspect was subsequently identified and arrested.

During interviews, Las Vegas police officials praised the video surveillance system that helped them crack the case. They reminded reporters that video cameras and doorbells routinely help investigators solve cases.

Obtaining Convictions

The woman in Las Vegas might possibly have been saved by video surveillance. When the suspect’s case goes to court, you can bet that the prosecution will introduce the footage as evidence. In light of that, surveillance cameras and video doorbells also make for better policing by making it easier to obtain convictions.

The best thing about video surveillance is that it doesn’t lie. It is not influenced by any sort of bias. A video camera simply records what is happening in front of it. Any and all footage is fair game for evidentiary purposes. When it can be used to obtain a conviction, that is a good thing.

Preventing Less Serious Crimes

There is yet another way surveillance cameras and video doorbells make for better policing: preventing less serious crimes. Take the crime of porch piracy. Porch pirates are every bit as criminal as people who invade homes or kidnap people off front porches. Still, porch piracy only involves replaceable objects.

We say all that to say that preventing porch piracy frees up police to concentrate on more serious crimes. If the video doorbell can accomplish that – and it can – it is a cheap and effective way to help police be better at what they do by not having to call them because someone stole a package off the porch. Prevent less serious crimes and police can devote their attention to more serious issues.

One or Both

All of this leads to the question of whether homeowners should install one or both technologies. Things differ from one property to the next but installing both is the best option for most homeowners. A good video doorbell gives a wide view of the entire entrance area of the home. Depending on how the front door is positioned in relation to the rest of the house, a video doorbell might also give a decent view of the driveway and street.

Video doorbells are, by their nature, limited in the view they provide. So mounting surveillance cameras at other key locations can give homeowners a view around the entire property. One mounted on the front corner of the house can pick up what the video doorbell misses. Additional cameras on the back corners can give a full view of the yard, the deck, the pool area, etc.

Video doorbells and surveillance cameras keep homeowners safe. They also make for better policing by helping crack cases and obtain convictions. And now you know.