The City of Daytona Beach is giving away ring doorbell cameras to residents who are 65 and older living in Zones 2, 3 and 5.
A Community Collaboration Through Cameras is an initiative of Daytona Beach City Commissioners Ken Strickland (Zone 2), Quanita May (Zone 3) and Dannette Henry (Zone 5).
“We got behind it basically because it was demanded by the public after the murders of the couple on the beachside during Bike Week,” said Strickland.
The program launched last week. “Applications are coming in and they’ll be reviewed. Then they will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The application process is pretty simple,” stated Dru Driscoll, Daytona Beach fire chief and deputy city manager.
As deputy city manager, Driscoll was tasked with writing the program.
The Daytona Beach Police Department will oversee and implement the program as part of one of their prevention programs.
“The overall philosophy of the company that created these door-bell cameras was to basically help prevent potential crime from happening. They also give people the ability to see crimes and report them to authorities,” commented Captain Byron B.K. Williams of the Daytona Beach Police Department.
“We are just expanding the reach of these cameras in our community in the zones where the commissioners have decided to allocate them.”
Requirements for residents
Eligible residents must meet the following requirements:
Once approved, residents will be notified.
They will then attend a training class at the police station. The details of that training are still being hammered out.
“It’s very simple. It will show them how to use the ring camera through a computer, smart phone or device as well as how to look at the live feed, set up notifications, open notifications and access the camera,” noted Williams.
Helps solve crimes
Cameras will be installed once they come in. They are already on order.
Ring doorbell cameras are well-known for identifying criminals in the act, including burglary, theft, vandalism and other crimes.
The devices also allow users to scare away unwelcome visitors by talking to them through the device after getting a smartphone alert about activity at their front door.
Williams commented, “Yes, we have been able to solve crimes in the past by reaching out to those residents who had these cameras. One of the first thing investigators do is try to find any cameras in the area where crimes are reported even doorbell cameras. We ask to look at the video but in those cases it’s up to the residents to cooperate.”
Law enforcement is always looking for ways to reduce and prevent crime and technology helps.
Williams explained, “We are always looking to prevent crime. The use of technology helps. We are always looking for the most advance technology we can put out there to help us reduce and prevent crime.”
Around the city, some crimes are up while others are down.
“During the pandemic, crime went down in many areas but domestic violence went up because people were indoors more,” Williams said.
“Now that things are open back up and more people are out, we are slowly seeing crimes increase in some areas like property crimes but we haven’t seen super spikes.”
Funding for initiative
Funding for cameras come from city commissioners through their allocation of funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act ) ARPA). ARPA is part of the federal COVID-19 relief initiative.
Both elected and public safety officials think the program is a good idea and beneficial.
“I believe it’s a good program and will help some people. I do think we need to lower the age limit and look at people’s income. We may have people who are not 65 but have issues in their neighborhoods. They may have internet, etc.,” Strickland said.
Driscoll added, “I think it’s a great opportunity for some of residents in that age group who may not feel safe and are scared about crime. It is a way for them to keep safe in their homes and assist law enforcement with stopping criminal activity in their neighborhoods.”
Those wishing to apply for the program can do so online on the city’s website www.codb.us.