Residents in Chino and Chino Hills who use Ring doorbell cameras at their homes can soon share videos and photos directly with law enforcement using the “Neighbors” digital-neighborhood app on iPhones or Android devices.
Videos and photos can already be shared with neighbors on the app, but Chino and Chino Hills police departments announced they will monitor the app to gather information to apprehend criminals stealing packages off front porches, breaking into homes or committing other crimes.
“Participation is completely voluntary,” said Chino Police Sgt. Dustin Tomicic. “Chino Police will not compel any users to provide access to video.”
The Neighbors app alerts residents to crimes and safety events within a five-mile radius of their home.
The purchase of Ring devices is not required to use "Neighbors" because the company also offers a standalone Neighbors app for iOS and Android devices, Sgt. Tomicic said. "Citizens do not need to be a Ring customer and the service is completely free,” he said.
Residents can download the app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. After downloading the app, residents will be asked a few questions, including their address.
Once signed up, residents can view videos and photos posted by residents in their neighborhood. Users can also post comments.
“The Neighbors App connects communities with the goal of creating safe and strong neighborhoods,” according to a statement released by the Chino Hills Police Department on Wednesday. “Station staff are able to receive information and interact with residents through the app. While the Ring system and Neighbors App are great tools for interaction and sharing information, they are not monitored 24/7.”
Sgt. Tomicic said Ring users’ videos cannot be accessed by Ring employees or law enforcement without permission.
He said law enforcement officers must get explicit permission from the camera’s owner to access video from any Ring camera.
“When posts are made to the Neighbors app, the user’s identity and contact information remain anonymous,” the sergeant said.
Residents with questions about the Neighbors App can call the Chino Police Department at 628-1234 or Chino Hills Police Department at 364-2000.