(TNS) —  Residents in Manatee County, Fla., now have a new way to keep up to date and prevent crime in their communities.

On Tuesday, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office announced it is expanding its social media presence to smart doorbell maker Ring's Neighbors application, aiming to "provide the community with real-time, local crime and safety information," a news release stated.

"It's just another crime prevention tool that we hope will help deter crime in neighborhoods," said Dave Bristow, spokesman for the sheriff's office. "It can help in so many ways. Sharing information in a neighborhood is huge and that information gets shared with us."

The app, can be downloaded for iOS or Android devices for free. Once an account in the app is created, users can "share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts," as well as receive alerts on crime in the area, according to the sheriff's office.

"The Neighbors App is the new neighborhood watch that brings your community together to help create safer neighborhoods," according to the app's website.

Bristow said the surveillance video aspect of the app has and will continue to help the sheriff's office.

Posting to the app, however, is not a substitute for filing a report with the sheriff's office. Bristow said if a crime occurs, residents still need to file a formal report and allow law enforcement to view any surveillance video.

The sheriff's office has a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor, a neighborhood-specific social media website, but is now expanding that online presence to include the Neighbors app. Bristow said this app is another way for the sheriff's office and community members to interact with each other.

"Also it’s a two-way street. We can share any information we have, we do that on Nextdoor, but this is another way to do it. If we're having problems with a certain area, we can target that area," Bristow said.

For more information visit www.manateesheriff.com or www.ring.com/neighbors.

©2018 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.