A woman and her teenage son lay dead inside a home in Gary's Miller section, but video from her Ring doorbell security system revealed the faces of two possible suspects.
Within hours, police knew the name of one of the suspects, court records show.
Four days later, police secured charges alleging Darren L. "Duke" Taylor Jr. murdered Temia Haywood and her 13-year-old son, Lavell Edmond, during a burglary March 23.
The case is just one example of how police across the Region are using Ring home security systems to solve crimes.
Hobart, Munster and Hammond police have taken their use of Ring, a California-based subsidiary of Amazon, a step further by partnering with the company's Neighbors app.
The free app allows residents and police to share real-time local crime and safety information regardless of whether residents have a Ring security system.
The Neighbors app is free and can be downloaded to Apple and Android smartphones. Users may join a neighborhood-based network where they can share videos, photos and text messages while receiving real-time crime and safety alerts from police.
Police cannot tap into Ring users' video feeds unless the owner gives permission, Hammond police said.
Gary police and other departments are able to monitor Ring videos, but have not yet announced a partnership with the Neighbors app.
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On Wednesday, Hammond will give 500 residents $125 discount codes to purchase a Ring security system during a launch event from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hammond Civic Center, 5825 Sohl Ave.
The discounts will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so city officials recommend residents arrive early and be prepared to present a valid ID and copy of a current utility bill to verify city residency.
The $37,500 discount program is possible because of funds approved by the city and matching funds from Ring, a news release stated.
According to Ring, the Neighbors network includes millions of users across the country and has been instrumental in catching package thieves and preventing burglaries.
Hobart police said the videos can be useful in helping investigators develop timelines and suspects when crime occurs.
Departments that partner with the Neighbors app can request information from residents, Munster police said.
The app is not intended to replace 911. Tips shared through the app are anonymous, unless residents choose to share their names.
Residents still should call 911 immediately to report suspicious activity.