BREAKING NEWS Huntsville Hospital cancels some elective procedures as coronavirus hospitalizations surge Full Story

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 3:41 PM
Updated: May 8, 2018 3:41 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.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 91°
Florence
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 93°
Fayetteville
Clear
84° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 91°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 92°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 44375

Reported Deaths: 984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5221152
Montgomery4127103
Mobile4080134
Tuscaloosa228842
Marshall171110
Madison14307
Lee138437
Shelby128423
Morgan11025
Walker93924
Elmore92514
Franklin89514
Dallas8809
Baldwin8649
Etowah73913
DeKalb7195
Butler63328
Chambers62927
Autauga60712
Tallapoosa59169
Russell5520
Unassigned50323
Houston4964
Limestone4950
Lauderdale4906
Lowndes47221
Cullman4524
Pike4295
Colbert3956
St. Clair3822
Coffee3772
Bullock36910
Covington3587
Calhoun3545
Escambia3506
Barbour3492
Hale31121
Talladega3097
Marengo30211
Wilcox2918
Dale2880
Sumter28512
Clarke2746
Jackson2732
Winston2583
Chilton2462
Blount2351
Monroe2352
Pickens2356
Marion22413
Conecuh2097
Randolph2069
Choctaw19512
Macon1949
Bibb1901
Greene1868
Perry1771
Henry1343
Crenshaw1253
Washington1097
Lawrence1080
Cherokee977
Geneva800
Lamar771
Fayette701
Clay652
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 51316

Reported Deaths: 645
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11793200
Davidson11089122
Rutherford298735
Hamilton278135
Sumner161052
Trousdale14985
Williamson131315
Out of TN11857
Knox11717
Wilson94117
Putnam8837
Robertson83411
Sevier8043
Bradley7073
Lake6920
Tipton6455
Unassigned6351
Bledsoe6201
Bedford5705
Montgomery5547
Macon4654
Maury3543
Hardeman3434
Hamblen3404
Fayette3172
Madison2992
Loudon2871
Rhea2860
Dyer2511
McMinn23718
Cheatham2301
Blount2273
Dickson2090
Cumberland1814
Washington1650
Lawrence1636
Lauderdale1453
Anderson1422
Monroe1406
Jefferson1360
Gibson1291
Smith1201
Coffee1190
Sullivan1172
Obion1122
Hardin1087
Greene1032
Cocke940
Haywood922
Marshall911
Franklin873
Wayne860
Hickman800
Warren760
Marion734
McNairy730
White703
DeKalb670
Lincoln640
Weakley641
Grundy621
Overton621
Roane620
Giles601
Carter591
Hawkins572
Unicoi550
Campbell481
Carroll471
Henderson460
Claiborne450
Polk450
Henry440
Johnson440
Grainger420
Sequatchie420
Crockett383
Cannon370
Chester340
Perry340
Meigs320
Humphreys281
Jackson270
Morgan271
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Union180
Clay170
Scott170
Houston150
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Hancock60
Lewis60
Pickett60

 

 

Community Events