Brentwood Police partners with Ring to create virtual neighborhood watch

Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 19:29:41-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — The Brentwood Police Department recently joined the free Neighbors app by Ring to help reduce crime in the community.

The app allows Brentwood Police to inform the community of real-time crime and safety events and allows the user to share images and video directly with police.

“We see this kind of as an expanding our neighborhood watch," assistant chief of police Tommy Walsh said. "We have over 47 divisions in the city of Brentwood currently that are using neighborhood watch, and this is kind of a virtual neighborhood watch, so to speak.”

You do not need Ring devices to participate, but Ring estimates there are about 3,000 Ring doorbell users in Brentwood.

“That’s 3,000 sets of eyes that are in addition to what we have with both our residents and our officers on the street," Walsh said. “If they see something that looks suspicious, there’s probably something to it, so we would want those people to share that information.”

Information, pictures, and video shared on the app are accessible to police, but police can't access the cameras of the video stored on it unless the owner of the camera chooses to share it.

In addition to receiving information from residents and Ring users, police can also send information and messages to people with the Neighbors app by Ring.

“Maybe there was a crime that occurred in a neighborhood and we know that there are Ring cameras in that area. We could target that specific area, send out a message to all the folks that have Ring and say that we had this incident on whatever street, we’re looking for a suspect that’s wearing this type of clothing, maybe this type of vehicle, did you see anyone like that? If so, could you contact us?” Walsh explained.

So far the Neighbors app by Ring hasn't been used to solve a crime in Brentwood, but police said the more resources they have to help them keep the community safe, the better.

“It’s a win-win for the community," Walsh explained. "Obviously it’s a benefit to us because we know as police officers and law enforcement that information that comes from the public is vital to what we do, we know that we are in a partnership not only with Ring but with the community that we serve.”

The Neighbors app by Ring is free to all users and can be accessed through app stores.

Security advocates had previously raised concerns about the app, but the Ring CEO said no video will be shared from a user unless that user chooses to share it themselves.