The University Park Police Department is always looking for opportunities to boost resident interaction and keep the community safe.
Recently, the department enrolled in the digital program Neighbors to Ring to help monitor crime and provide real-time updates and safety alerts to the community. The program adds to two other efforts used by UPD, posting on Nextdoor and the UPPD Community Camera Program.
“These tools all bolster UPPD’s crime-fighting efforts and strengthen our partnership with residents who continually work with us to keep our neighborhoods safe and our crime rate low,” said Steve Mace, the city’s communications and marketing director. “It just makes sense to use the reach of social media and the popularity of home surveillance video to fight crime and distribute information of interest to the community in a timely way.”
Mace called Ring the third member of the relationship between residents and the police department.
“Two or three sworn officers in our department are now monitoring Ring posts in our neighborhoods,” he added. “If any one of them sees a post or a video, and they want to gain more information, the Department must notify Ring.”
The Neighbors app acts as a digital neighborhood watch to create an efficient flow of communication between a community and the local police department. Residents can use Neighbors to send a notification or video to UPPD in real-time, with their contact information kept private until they allow the app to release it.
“Ring will then reach out to the people who posted,” Mace said. Once those individuals give Ring their OK, Ring will provide contact information to the Department.”
UPPD began using the program on May 3 as part of their efforts to apply social media and current technology systems to monitor crime and boost resident interaction.
Fans of the Ring camera or doorbell may recognize this technology in their homes, but neither is necessary to join, Mace said. Residents can text ‘StaySafe’ to 555888 or download the app on their cellphones by clicking here.
Though the application of new technology does not replace any of UPPD’s current monitoring practices, these tools bolster the department’s crime-fighting efforts and strengthen its relationship to the local community, Mace said. Of course, calling 911 or visiting City Hall are still viable ways to reach out to UPPD or report a crime.
There was no cost for the city to join the program.