The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced on Monday, May 6 that it has joined “Neighbors,” a free app from the home security products company Ring – best known for its Ring Video Doorbell product line.
According to the press release, the department will now have the ability to use the Neighbors app “to connect with residents at the local level to provide valuable safety information.”
Once someone downloads the app onto their device, they can join their neighborhood group of fellow users and share crime and safety-related messages, photos and videos – often those captured by Ring doorbell cameras. App users will also be able to receive safety alerts and updates from their neighbors, local police and fire departments, as well as from “the Ring team.”
Users – who’ll be able to customize their alerts – will decide what content to share and whether or not they wish to interact with other users, which will include the Sheriff’s Department and local fire departments.
The May 6 press release describes the potential benefits.
“’Neighbors’ is a free app that helps community members stay informed of local incidents and share neighborhood safety updates, while keeping their privacy protected,” it states, adding that the app also “brings residents together to have impactful safety conversations and engage with their local public safety agencies on the app in their area to make their neighborhoods safer.”
Officials with the Sheriff’s Department state that, through the use of the app, the department will be in a better position to notify participating residents whenever there’s a nearby danger or incident and it will also make it easier for the department to offer emergency preparedness advice ahead of time.
When similar moves have been made in other parts of the country, some people have expressed concerns over privacy. However, the sheriff’s department states that privacy will be protected and the department won’t be able to view what’s on a users security camera unless that user posts it or gives it to them.
According to the release, “It’s important to note that local public safety officials do not have access to user cameras, live streams or personal information when using ‘Neighbors.’ When an individual user chooses to post a video or comment on the app, they are identified only as “Neighbor #” and the location of posts are obscured to protect user privacy. Public safety officials are always identified by their last name and agency when using ‘Neighbors’ and can view and comment as well as share posts to the app in their jurisdiction.”
Residents don’t need a Ring product to download the app and take part in their neighborhood group.
To join, people can text ‘Join Today’ to 555888 or visit https://shop.ring.com/pages/neighbors– or they can simply download the app off onto smartphones or tablets if they’re using Apple iOS, Android or FireOS devices.