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1,000 Ring cameras donated to St. Louis organization to empower domestic violence survivors

In St. Louis County, domestic violence calls escalated in the pandemic. In 2019, there were 1,657. In 2020, there were 2,094.

ST. LOUIS — One of St. Louis' oldest organizations working to prevent domestic and sexual violence was handed a major tool to empower clients.

Ring is donating 1,000 devices to Safe Connections clients. The security company is donating the Ring video doorbells and security cameras, including a free lifetime Ring Protect Plan subscription for each device.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones was able to connect Safe Connections and Ring, creating a partnership needed during a difficult time.

Credit: KSDK

THE NUMBERS

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many families indoors for months.

But behind closed doors in some households, people still weren't safe.

"COVID-19 played a major part in keeping people in their homes for a good portion of the year," Mayor Jones said. "The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received more disturbance calls than the previous five years."

St. Louis Police responded to nearly 5% more domestic disturbances in 2020 than the previous years:

  • 1/1/2019 through 12/6/2019 - 17,751 calls for service
  • 1/1/2020 through 12/6/2020 - 18,541 calls for service

SLMPD NOTE: It is worth noting this could miss some incidents and it could also erroneously include some, based on the way we conducted our search (our search consisted of all calls for service with the final call code as a “Domestic Disturbance”). This may or may not include other incidents that were later determined to be domestic related (for example, a shooting that turned out to be domestic related may have come in as a call for a "Shooting" and not a "Domestic Disturbance"). 

For a full breakdown of the city's trend analysis, click here

In St. Louis County, domestic violence calls also escalated during the pandemic:

  • 2017 - 1,408
  • 2018 - 1,328
  • 2019 - 1,657
  • 2020 - 2,094
  • 2021 (thru Oct 31) - 2025

In Jefferson County, the sheriff's office shared these numbers:

  • 2019 - 914
  • 2020 - 969

RING PARTNERSHIP

Safe Connections interim CEO Cynthia Danley says these ring door devices will help with safety planning and make clients feel a bit safer. 

"They can see who's at the door. If it's the abuser, they can contact law enforcement," she said.

This ring door initiative builds on another recent effort by Safe Connections crisis text line.

"We know that our youth they want to text. Schools were out, so they couldn't lay eyes on the students. That textline added more opportunities for our interactions. A survivor may not make a call, but they may be able to get a text," Danley explained.

These may be new tools, but the impact is already being felt.

"One of our therapists shared this anecdote. 'The sheer relief of my clients face when I explained the ring doorbell initiative is indescribable. These intense feelings were taking a toll on her. Knowing she would be safer and more secure filled her with hope and drastically improved her mental well-being,'" Danley said.

The Ring door devices will be on-site at Safe Connections later this week and handed out to clients.

CLIENTELE

Safe Connections serves nearly 20,000 individuals each year, inclusive of all genders and sexual orientations.

In order to qualify for a Ring device:

  • Individuals need to have access to stable, internet service and secured connection
  • A hot spot can't be an option
  • The client must have a smartphone
  • They can’t reside in the same home as the abuser
  • They must be a current or new Safe Connections client

SUPPORT

If you know someone who needs help or support, they can call Safe Connections' 24-hour hotline at 314-531-2003. 

You can also text that number. The textline services operate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, free of charge. Safe Connections is in the process of ramping it to a 24/7 option as well.