Smart Home Device Calls Police During an Alleged Domestic Assault

Google Home or Amazon Echo devices can be annoying if the device inadvertently turns on. In fact, earlier this year San Diego station CW6 aired a broadcast about a child ordering a doll house through her family’s Amazon Echo. However, CW6 reported many people complained that their Alexa device ordered dollhouses following the news report. Despite the potential for accidental orders, a smart home device can also save lives.

ABC News reports on Friday that a reported violently domestic dispute between a man and his girlfriend was stopped after the device called 911. According to the news report, Eduardo Barros got into a fight with his girlfriend last Sunday at a home in Tijeras, New Mexico. He allegedly had a firearm, physically attacked her and threatened to kill her. At one point in the argument, Barros asked, “did you call the sheriffs,” which a smart home device, connected to the home stereo, understood as a command to call the police.

According to the sheriff’s department, deputies took the call seriously and arrived on the scene saving the woman and her daughter who was also present during the argument. Also, a SWAT team and crisis negotiation team arrived to take Barros into custody.

Barros is facing charges of possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon, aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault against a household member and false imprisonment, ABC News reports.

“The unexpected use of this new technology to contact emergency services has possibly helped save a life,” Manuel Gonzales III, Bernalillo County Sheriff, said in a statement to ABC News.

It was first reported that the device was a Google Home device, but this was later changed. The device is currently unidentified at the time of writing this news report. However, the report still says it was a “smart speaker.”

Regardless of who made the smart device, it is conceivable that a home device performed this action. But, it is clear that as more consumers purchase these smart devices, they are being more frequently in one way or another in the justice system. For example, last year the same type of device was thrown in the middle of a murder case, however, it is unclear whether or not the Echo actually recorded any relevant data.