HomeBusinessPolice-Amazon Surveillance Cities: Will Your City Be Next?
October 16, 2019
Police-Amazon Surveillance Cities: Will Your City Be Next?
How far would you go to protect your home and neighboring
community? For some homeowners, the answer lays in home security systems,
products such as Ring by Amazon that offer cameras, outdoor motion sensors, and
smart doorbells. In some communities, police have even teamed up with Amazon’s
Ring surveillance systems, getting cities and Amazon to collaborate and provide
discounts on these products. With 40 confirmed police-Ring partnership cities,
the question arises: where will future police corporation surveillance cities
The map above shows the places where police have partnered
So, what do these chosen cities have in common? The Lowe
looked at household medium income, race, property crimes per capita, and crime
per capita to see if the cities had any distinguishing factors. The cities with
Ring partnerships did not stand out in any of these categories. Ultimately,
these cities had nothing in common in these areas. Rather than select high
crime areas where the Ring products may be of most value, Amazon is seemingly
partnering with any willing city to further sell and market its product.
Source: U.S. Census
The market for home security systems is heating up,
reportedly worth $45.6 billion in 2018, and expected to grow to $74.7 billion
by 2023 – a 63.8% increase – according to a Press Release by Markets and
Markets. Amazon latching on to take control of the market for home security
systems through local partnerships is undoubtedly a smart move. In addition to gaining
customers, Amazon contractually gains city promotions by requiring cities to
make reasonable efforts to “promote the program
provided in this Agreement on the City’s website, social media platforms”.
Ring states that these partnerships benefit communities, claiming
in a 2017 Ring Home Security Study that “one Los Angeles neighborhood
saw a 55 percent decrease in home break-ins after Ring Doorbells were installed
on just ten percent of homes”. On the other hand, critics of the surveillance
system say that Amazon is helping to create a police-surveillance city.
Contractually required fear-based marketing for Ring by the city officials and
police promotes the idea that crime is a rising problem in cities. In fact, a
survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 68% of people said that
there is more crime in the U.S. than a year ago. FBI data shows that the truth
is far from the promoted fear-based, rising crime idea.
How do you know if your city will become a police-Ring
surveillance city? Ultimately, no obvious predictors stand out that might make
your city a target for an Amazon partnership. While Amazon is willing to
partner with any city to promote its product, city officials and police are
equally willing to accept these partnerships in any attempt to reduce crime.
Property crime is decreasing in the United States, and products that rely on
fear-based advertising to create a constantly surveillance area promote
unrealistically high public perceptions of crime while profiting Amazon.