Thomasville, N.C., Police Embrace Use of Info-Sharing App

A smartphone app that allows residents to share real-time information and content, "Neighbors by Ring" will facilitate the exchange of videos, photos and text-based photos by Thomasville residents.

by Daniel Kennedy, The High Point Enterprise / November 5, 2019

(TNS) — A safer community is the aim behind Thomasville, N.C., Police Department's participation in the use of a popular smartphone app, according to TPD Chief Mark Kattner.

An app that allows residents to share real-time information and content, "Neighbors by Ring" will facilitate the exchange of videos, photos and text-based photos by Thomasville residents.

First suggested by Assistant City Manager Michael Brandt, Kattner said he hopes using this technology will help TPD stay a step ahead of would-be criminals. "Video doorbells" are the prominent players in this effort, as camera footage can be viewed remotely on a smartphone.

Since the materials used by police would come directly from residents willing to participate, Kattner said he believes it gives the city's law-abiding individuals a convenient opportunity to chip in to ensure their community's safety.

"Your camera is already there, so it's recording the information," Kattner said. "We can't access the video unless residents (voluntarily) send us the videos. It's not like 'Big Brother' is out there watching you."

If interested in sharing video footage with each other and law enforcement, residents can install and use the Neighbors app, which is a free download on iOS or Android at Neighbors by Ring. Once the app is downloaded, it can be used to monitor events in the neighborhood and receive real-time safety alerts from other users, including the police department.

One can also customize the geographic area in use by verifying his or her location.

Kattner said officers have already taken proactive measures to obtain video footage when conducting investigations, and this is the next step. Most affected, he believes, will be the investigations related to car and home break-ins, as well as package theft.

"We've made it a habit to find out if there are any cameras that might have recorded footage," Kattner said. "It really makes our life easier knowing video might be available relating to criminal activity."

The app is already in use in other communities, which have reported effective use of community monitoring. For more information about the Neighbors app, visit www.ring.com/neighbors.

©2019 The High Point Enterprise (High Point, N.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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