Ring’s Neighbors app is growing in popularity as a way for neighbors to alert others of safety concerns or crime alerts. Whether you’re a Ring customer or not, Neighbors is a free app that sends mobile alerts if someone reports suspicious activity to keep you and your family safe. The app sends anonymous crime reports based on your area, and Ring customers can share video footage with other users within 5 miles.
Nowadays, many police departments are using the Neighbors app to solve crimes and catch thieves. Southington, Connecticut, police department installed a monitor that connects to the Neighbors app for its dispatchers to see and respond to posts and surveillance videos. Other police departments find the app especially helpful when connecting photos and videos to unsolved crimes. Police will request video footage from users if they believe it could help.
Southington police hope that using the Neighbors app will build a closer relationship between the department and the community. Police still encourage residents to call the police if they notice suspicious activity before posting it online. Southington’s public service agencies are one of the many departments using the app across the country.
Curious if your local police department uses the Neighbors app? Here’s how to find out:
- Go to the “Control Center” in the app.
- Scroll down to the “Community Control” and tap “Public Safety.”
- You’ll see all participating police departments under “Local Agencies in Your Area.”
The app also includes the Active Agency Map to show all public safety departments that joined Neighbors in your area.
What does this mean for ring customers?
Fortunately, Neighbors doesn’t allow public safety agencies to see your home or camera location. However, some information will be shared if a video is shared with your local authorities. If your local safety agency joins Neighbors, you’ll receive a mobile alert with more information. The agency will also be added to the Agent Activity Map, where a list of local safety agencies in your area can be found. Otherwise, Ring users can use the app to share concerns, post videos, and get instant safety alerts.
Neighbors privacy concerns with public safety agencies
- Public safety agencies don’t have access to any Neighbors user information unless they post their information in the app. In short, your address and other personal data are kept private unless you share it in a post.
- Police departments and other agencies can’t access your video footage unless you post it in the app or share it as a post response. Authorities won’t have access to your Ring camera’s live footage or be able to control it. Users can choose whether or not they wish to share videos and can unsubscribe from video requests from public safety agencies.
- However, if you choose to share your video with the police, Ring will send the department a copy of your video that it can access for up to 30 days. Police can view and download the footage.
If you share your videos, some information will be shared, including the address used for your Ring camera and email address.
Our take on public safety agencies using neighbors
All in all, Neighbors is a great way to stay connected to crime and safety concerns in your area. We love that the app is accessible by anyone, not just Ring customers. The app is also a great way for police to help keep neighborhoods safe and solve crimes. Public safety agencies using the app also give residents a better sense of safety by knowing they’re aware of neighborhood safety concerns and taking additional measures to protect the community.
If you’re a Ring customer and hesitant to use Neighbors or share video, don’t hesitate to review Ring’s policy and reach out to customer service for any questions. For peace of mind, you can also disable video requests in the app. If you choose to keep the feature enabled and receive a video request, you can reach out to your local public safety agency for any questions before sending footage.
The new “Request for Assistance”
Before Ring’s most recent Neighbors update, police departments could request camera footage from users privately. But now, local authorities are required to use the “Request for Assistance” feature to publicly request video footage from users, and the posts can’t be deleted. App users can see the posts, including the history of requests for each police department. The new feature comes after Ring employees have tried to access camera footage and police departments continue to use security camera clips to solve crimes.
A reminder about other neighborhood safety apps
Neighbors is one of the many mobile neighborhood watch apps. CrimeReports, NeighborhoodScout, and AreaVibes are just a few. No matter which one you choose, remember to keep these safety tips in mind:
- Be careful of the information or footage you share to protect your privacy and location.
- Pay attention to any urgent messages from other users or the app provider.
- Remember to use the latest version of the app and your smartphone for the most up-to-date settings.
- Follow common internet safety tips, including setting strong passwords and using two-factor authentication when possible.