Sunday, March 3, 2024

Ring cameras: A popular choice for off-campus students

NewsCampus NewsRing cameras: A popular choice for off-campus students

BY
Staff Reporter

Without the security of an RA or scanning a ONEcard to access dorm buildings, the idea of living off-campus can be intimidating for students. Many blue-light safety features do not extend to off-campus housing locations, so students have turned to investing in their own safety mechanisms.

It comes in the form of a small, constantly recording doorbell. 

Sofia Disessa, a junior criminal justice major, said that she and her roommates have had their Ring camera for three months and that she feels safer with its presence. She explained that she and her roommates always check the app to see who is at their front door before opening it in their New London Road residence.

Disessa said that she gets all Ring neighborhood crime alerts straight to her phone through the Ring app and prefers them to UD Alerts. According to Disessa, when emergencies happen in Newark, people comment about them on the neighborhood page within the Ring app while UD Alerts send a text or email about on-campus events after the fact.

“On my street when there’s a lot of stuff going on we can just go back and see the Ring and watch anyone or anything outside our front door,” Disessa said. “There was an accident on New London, and we got an alert for it on the Ring app right away.”

According to data compiled from multiple police agencies in the state, 38% of crimes committed from Sept. 26 to Oct. 26 in Newark were disturbing peace crimes. Larceny was not far behind at 28%.

Ring doorbell cameras became a hit in 2018 when Amazon purchased the company from inventor Jamie Siminoff, for $1 billion, according to CNBC News. According to an SDM Newswire study, Amazon’s Ring sold more than 1.7 million video doorbells in 2021. This number beat out other globally-known video doorbell brands such as SkyBell and Google Nest.

Alex Slavitt, a junior media communication major, said that he does not own a Ring camera and still feels safe off campus due to his home’s location across from the fire station. Slavitt lives at Skid Row on Academy Street and has never questioned his security at this location.

While Slavitt does not own a Ring at his off-campus residence, he does have one back at his family home in Montville, New Jersey. Slavitt said that he catches himself checking his home Ring camera feed even when two hours away at school.

“The camera adds more of a sense of comfort because it can record anyone that comes in the general vicinity of my house and I know who is around at all times,” Slavitt said. 

According to a study conducted by a Northeastern University professor, there was a 12% decrease in crime in residential areas with surveillance as compared to those without. This same study also found a 15% reduction in crime when the surveillance systems were active and noticeably running compared to passive or hidden cameras. 

Aleni Garcia, a sophomore medical diagnostics major, said that she felt much safer in the dorms than in her current off-campus residence at the beginning of this semester. Her parents encouraged her and her roommates to purchase a Ring camera for a sense of comfort, which they did a month ago. 

Garcia has noticed Ring cameras pop up in many homes near her townhouse on Emily Bell Lane. 

She said that while she is aware that her camera is always listening and watching, so is everyone else’s.

“I’ve been walking down East Cleveland, talking on the phone and I’ll side-eye the ring cameras because I always think they are listening to me talk,” Garcia said. 

For many students, the Ring camera provides feelings of safety and comfort. Garcia and her roommates had felt scared when they heard about a man walking down New London and knocking on everyone’s door.

“Right before he knocked on ours, he saw the Ring and walked away,” Garcia said.

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