When a longtime resident started stealing her neighbors’ Amazon packages, she entered a vortex of smart cameras, Nextdoor rants, and cellphone surveillance.
"In some cities, the relationship between the police and companies has gone beyond marketing. Amazon is helping police departments run “bait box” operations, in which police place decoy boxes on porches—often with GPS trackers inside—to capture anyone who tries to steal them. Gearing up for one such operation in December 2018, police in Jersey City, New Jersey, exchanged emails, which I obtained through a public-records request, with loss-prevention employees from Amazon and a public-relations staffer from its Ring division. Amazon sent police free branded boxes, and even heat maps of areas where the company’s customers suffer the most thefts. Ring donated doorbells that police officers installed on their own stoops to film thieves, and offered to coordinate a PR campaign. At one point, the police department asked Ring if it could extend a discount on Ring devices to all police staff, and Ring obliged, offering $50 off."