The Frisco Police Department announced a partnership Tuesday with an app they hope will enable police to gather more evidence to solve crimes. The app, Neighbors, was launched by Ring, which is Amazon's wireless video doorbell brand.
Users of the app aren't required to have a Ring device, but can use it to share video and information about crime or safety in their area. Starting Tuesday, Frisco police can officially chime in on threads, or use the app to send out crime alerts and requests for video or tips.
"I think one of the things that was a struggle in the past, prior to us being involved in the Neighbors portal, was that we would hear about videos and things that were being shared online and not to us directly," Frisco police officer Ryan Chandler said.
"It really will streamline that process of solving a crime or getting more evidence in a crime," he said.
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A Ring spokesperson said people who use the Neighbors app are sharing information like they would on other social networks. Users can decide if they want to respond to information requests from police.
"This does not give us access to view cameras live," Chandler said. "This gives everyone the opportunity to share footage if they want to, to the police department."
Frisco resident Rodrigo Martineli downloaded the app when he saw a tweet from Frisco Police on Tuesday.
"If police can monitor that and have better access to what’s going on in the areas and the neighborhood, I think that's better," Martineli said. "I think if we get this easy access to the police, they'll be more proactive and that's how innovation happens."
Ring said other North Texas agencies have partnered with the Neighbors app since it launched last May, including the Fort Worth Police Department, Carrollton Police Department, Flower Mound Police Department and the Denton County Sheriff's Office.
Frisco Police already run another voluntary program that allows homes and businesses with surveillance cameras to register with the city. Once registered, officers can see where surveillance cameras are located and contact the owners to view videos that may be helpful in investigations. Last year, one of the SafeCam program particpants showed NBC 5 how officers used his video to help identify a suspect in a home break-in.