MISSOULA, Mont. — Thanks to recent technology, homeowners don't have to be home to keep an eye on their doorstep.
Travis Spinder recently installed a doorbell camera just outside his front door. No matter where he is, he can see any and all activity.
"My wife and I have the app on our phone, and it will send us a ring, kind of like a different ring than my normal phone so I know that it's the doorbell,” Spinder said. “So we can either answer it or not answer it, and then go in and look at the video of who came to the door or what set the motion off."
As soon as someone presses the doorbell or the motion detector senses movement, the camera starts recording.
At any time, both parties can talk through the device.
"They can hear me too,” Spinder said. “Like I can answer and say, like, 'Hello,’ and we can talk back and forth."
Whether it’s a thief or just a friendly neighbor, Spinder enjoys having a second set of eyes.
"It kind of gives you a piece of mind of who is coming and going at your house when you're not there," Spinder said.
He isn’t alone. In fact, having the camera makes him a part of an online community crime watch.
People all across Missoula can post to the app it connects you to. Neighbors can share videos, comment on them and see exact locations of where incidents happen.
In Missoula alone, neighbors posted videos of a ladder ripped off and multiple packages stolen right off of porches.
But should Montanans be worried? Shorr Packaging Corporation identified the cities with the most package thefts per capita. On that map, no city in Montana even made the cut.
No matter where you are, those thefts increase during the holidays.
Data from Ring in 2017 found that 68 percent more packages are delivered during the holiday season. Naturally, package thefts also increase during that time.
In December of last year, Ring recorded porch thefts going up 35 percent.
Besides being home when a package is delivered, Ring found that installing a security camera is the second most common way homeowners avoid package theft.
For $100, you can get the most basic Ring device, which is similar to the one Spinder has.
Although doorbell cameras in Montana may see more wildlife than thieves, neighbors have the comfort of their local crime watch right in the palm of their hand.