NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk Police Department is taking its fight against crime virtual.
Earlier this week, it announced that it was the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to join the Neighbors app by Ring.
Ring is a company that makes home security systems, including video doorbells.
The app allows users to monitor neighborhood activity, share crime and safety-related videos, photos, and text-based posts.
Norfolk Police Corporal Will Pickering says thousands already use the app in our area and this will allow the department to monitor crime and trends in communities.
“In law enforcement, we have to be willing to adapt. We have to see what is going to help us today that wasn’t available several years ago in working our cases, and right now, that is technology,” Pickering said.
Pickering says that the app will allow them to actively investigate and have officers out on the scene quicker.
It also can help with community interaction fighting crime.
Officers have trained on the app and can reach out to users, who are anonymous, to learn more about what exactly is going on in their neighborhoods.
“We now can engage those neighbors in that neighborhood. We can send out alerts, [be on the lookouts] in real time so when we put it out there. Those members in that area are getting it right then. What better way to engage a community and let them know we are looking into leads, looking into individuals in regards to crimes occurring in neighborhoods,” he said.
The app is free and everything users post is anonymous.
Pickering believes this will help with getting more information and also believes it will unify communities together to help residents stay safe inside their own homes.
“Everyone can see what is going on within the city of Norfolk, what is going on in particular neighborhoods and they can see community involvement and engagement. That’s what we want to strive for, build that online community let the public know that we share their concerns, value their concerns, and that we’re going to keep them updated with posts, sharing of information, and we’re encouraging them to share more with us,” he said.
The department is working on an incentive program where every couple of downloads, they will receive a free video doorbell. Pickering says that doorbell will be given to victims of intimidation crimes such as domestic violence, stalking, and harassment.
To download the app, visit https://download.ring.com/norfolk or text ‘Norfolkva’ to 555888 from your smartphone.