Killeen: Doorbell cameras helping police solve crimes

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) With the increased popularity of doorbell cameras in neighborhoods, they are also serving as another viable tool to fight crime: helping police solve cases.

Last week, Bell County Crime Stoppers and Killeen Police Department shared a Facebook post with still images from a Ring doorbell cameras of a burglary suspect. The suspect was caught red-handed peeking through car windows. Police say he was checking for unlocked doors.

The video recorded in real-time now available to Killeen police through a special Ring portal. These videos, Lt. Frank Plowick says, helping in dozens of cases.

“It allows us a different level of access that allows us to seek video assistance from people that may have videos beneficial to solving a crime that they are not even aware they have,” he said.

Killeen Police Department was one of the first agencies in the state of Texas to partnership with Ring.

“We have the unique ability when there is a crime to able to input an address where a crime took place and ask for a radius surrounding that,” Plowick said.

From there, you’ll get a request for your video.

“It’s a very specific date and time range that we will ask for. Then, the camera owner will have the option to approve all the videos during that time or just a certain number of videos during that time they think is beneficial if they review them themselves,” he said.

These videos helping police solve crimes.

“Our detectives frequently go through their cases looking for cases where a doorbell or other onsite camera can be beneficial and send out those requests almost on a daily basis,” Plowick added.

From burglaries to shootings, the doorbell cameras are catching criminals in the act.

“When you find a successful video that helps identify perhaps a suspect vehicle passing a house, burglary suspect approaching a neighboring residence, that type of thing. It puts faces in vehicles with criminals that allow us to make successful cases,” he said.

The Ring doorbell camera also has a mobile app, called “Neighbors,” you can download. The app allows you and your neighbors to talk about and post suspicious activity that you have caught on video.