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Police in Georgia offering free Ring video doorbells to residents, with a catch

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Police in Georgia’s DeKalb County are teaming up with home security company Ring to combat crime- by giving out free Ring doorbell cams to local residents and allowing police to monitor the video.

In what seems like a cross between voluntary community watch and a terrifying invasion of privacy, the practice is nothing new, as Ring has already partnered with police departments in Texas, Florida and California.

The current resolution to allow the program to move forward has overwhelming support by the DeKalb public safety committee, despite some concerns regarding “unintended consequences.”

Commissioners are expected to vote on the issue tomorrow and, if approved, will be Georgia’s first jurisdiction to partner with Ring, according to WSBTV.

Some concern was raised by Committee chair and Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, who liked the idea but believed the program may lead to racial profiling of young black men who may be in town visiting relatives and unknown by their relatives’ neighbors.

“Just like with neighborhood watch, it’s a good tool to assist police,” Johnson said, “but we want to make sure we’re mindful of the safety of our residents and their families.”

Ring spokeswoman Morgan Culbertson dismissed the notion, adding that there are procedures in place to mitigate such matters.

“If (a video) is not legit and someone complains, they can flag it and we can review it,” she said. “If it doesn’t meet our standards we can take it down.”

DeKalb Police Chief James Conroy assured the committee that the department will always access the validity of alleged crime caught by ring cameras

“Any video that will be downloaded can only be downloaded by the officer if it is reasonably considered as part of an investigation,” Conroy said at the meeting.

70 Ring cameras will be given to residents in the county, with more donated based on the number of apps downloaded.

Ring doorbell cameras have been used to combat crime, but have also proven to be susceptible to abuse by hackers and other malevolent entities.

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