Amazon's smart doorbell company wants to help stop neighborhood crime

Amazon's newest business is trying to prevent neighborhood crime.Ring, the Amazon-owned doorbell-with-a-camera...

Posted: May 8, 2018 4:41 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 4:41 PM

Amazon's newest business is trying to prevent neighborhood crime.

Ring, the Amazon-owned doorbell-with-a-camera company, is launching a social network called Neighbors for sharing photos and videos of package thieves, burglars and other suspicious activity.

The free standalone iOS and Android app is a spinoff from the existing Ring app, which has a similar section called Neighbors. The new app lets anyone -- not just people with Ring devices -- share and view text and photo or video posts.

"People are in their neighborhood less than they were 50 years ago," says Ring founder Jamie Siminoff. "The Neighbors app brings presence back into the neighborhood."

Related: Amazon buys Ring to get into the home security business

Users must confirm their addresses and can only join networks for the neighborhoods in which they live. The platform is not intended to serve as an emergency response system -- anyone who is a victim of or witness to a crime should contact 911 or their local police department first, according to Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione.

Amazon bought Ring earlier this year for about $1 billion. The company makes connected security devices, but its signature product is a doorbell with a Wi-Fi connected camera instead of a peephole. You can watch video of your street or stoop live from a smartphone and talk back over a speaker.

The device is part of an explosion of low-cost home security cameras over the past ten years, which has created a wealth of potential evidence for local police departments. Law enforcement agencies will be able to join Neighbors to send out crime and safety alerts and view shared videos.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is one of the network's first partners. Maglione says Neighbors could help officers solve burglaries faster, because the department can use the app instead of going door-to-door.

"It's an increase in the eyes and ears, and I think it's welcome," says Maglione. "Everybody nationwide is pushing the 'if you see something, say something' way of thinking."

Neighbors is not the first app for sharing reports of local crimes. Citizen is an app for tracking local crime, but focuses on events happening in real time. Users can get a notification of a call to 911 immediately after it happens. Some people rush to the scene to live stream the commotion or, occasionally, get involved themselves.

Meanwhile, Nextdoor launched seven years ago as a neighborhood-watch social network with a much broader scope. People post about everything from lost dogs to furniture for sale.

Related: Hyperlocal apps help residents fight crime

But Nextdoor has been criticized for allowing racial profiling to exist on its site. Users can report people they see in their neighborhood as "suspicious" based only on their race. The company has tried to address the issue with features, including a form that requires non-racial descriptors for posts to the "crime and safety" category, and automatic detection of racially charged language.

Siminoff doesn't think Ring will run into similar issues in part because the posts are based on actual footage or photos. The company has moderators on staff to review any flagged posts.

"Video makes what's happening much clearer, so you don't have to describe the scene. Describing the scene ... can create those biases," said Siminoff.

Lafayette
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 42°
Kokomo
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 34°
Rensselaer
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 34°
Lafayette
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 42°
Danville
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 39°
Frankfort
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Frankfort
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Monticello
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 38°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 34°
Windy, But Warmer For Thursday
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 598313

Reported Deaths: 9529
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion826311317
Lake44778676
Allen32331543
Hamilton28818314
St. Joseph27014378
Elkhart24244343
Vanderburgh19012243
Tippecanoe17701128
Johnson14748289
Porter14574166
Hendricks14074244
Madison10768217
Vigo10584177
Clark10428136
Monroe9222109
Delaware8982134
LaPorte8925159
Howard8061141
Kosciusko796782
Warrick657997
Hancock653599
Bartholomew634097
Floyd6270108
Wayne6037159
Grant5893112
Dubois549477
Boone542267
Morgan526294
Henry500764
Marshall497784
Cass477062
Dearborn467645
Noble466157
Jackson419146
Shelby408180
Lawrence385777
Clinton368240
Gibson362659
DeKalb341364
Montgomery338953
Harrison335343
Knox331339
Miami315744
Steuben309844
Whitley299825
Adams297835
Wabash297747
Ripley294945
Putnam290347
Huntington287559
Jasper286234
White269839
Daviess264773
Jefferson255838
Decatur244382
Fayette243948
Greene237062
Posey235227
Wells232247
LaGrange226061
Clay219932
Scott219538
Randolph210445
Jennings195335
Sullivan190033
Spencer185819
Fountain180827
Washington180222
Starke173943
Jay164822
Owen161737
Fulton161430
Carroll154515
Orange153433
Rush152318
Perry149727
Vermillion146733
Franklin145533
Parke12988
Tipton129532
Pike114626
Blackford109522
Pulaski95637
Newton89921
Brown86533
Benton85410
Crawford7769
Martin71013
Warren6637
Switzerland6325
Union6166
Ohio4747
Unassigned0375

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events