The Dunwoody Police Department is set to become the first agency in the state to implement a neighborhood-watch app that uses the increasingly popular “Ring” doorbell cameras.
The Ring products, created by Amazon, can take live video of a home's porch and have sometimes captured crimes such as package thefts and break-ins. The videos have led to some arrests, including a recent Atlanta case where authorities were able to identify two brothers who allegedly tried to break into a home.
Now, Dunwoody residents can download Ring's "Neighbors" app, which lets users "monitor neighborhood activity; share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and the Ring team," Dunwoody police said in a statement announcing the partnership.
Officers and investigators will have access to the footage users upload, which they say will help reduce crime in the city.
“Leveraging today’s technology to help keep our citizens safe is a key focus of our department,” Dunwoody police Chief Billy Grogan said in the statement. “Our partnership with Ring and use of the Neighbors app will definitely help in our crime-fighting efforts.”
DeKalb County approved a similar police partnership with Ring, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported early this year, but has yet to roll out its program. Its agreement comes with 70 Ring cameras that DeKalb police can distribute among residents and businesses. Ring is also sending Dunwoody police a few cameras to distribute in the community, police department spokesman Sgt. Robert Parsons said.
The Ring devices have also caused privacy concerns, with some worrying the cameras could lead to unnecessary surveillance.
DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, who chairs the Commission’s public safety committee, said she was initially concerned about “unintended consequences” of the Neighbors app. She said she worried about the potential for people to incorrectly interpret what they see and report a crime when there really isn’t one.
She ultimately voted for the DeKalb-Ring partnership, the AJC reported.
“We’re in a place where police can’t be everywhere all the time and live in a world with electronics, video and the internet,” she said previously. “So, we have to move with the times.”
Ring has also partnered with jurisdictions in Florida, Texas and California.