One of the most recognizable police forces joins the Ring’s Neighbors app. The New York Police Department has announced that it will participate in Ring’s Neighborhood Watch tool. Officers will not search for “around the clock” posts, but will respond to users’ crime and safety concerns, post advisories, and request assistance with “active police matters.”
The move potentially gives the NYPD another way to interact with the community. It can also get footage of criminal activity it wouldn’t otherwise have, with maps and timelines that could help identify crime sprees and trends.
However, there is already opposition to the NYPD’s involvement. The New York-based Surveillance Technology Watch (STOP) project fears support for neighbors could lead to more police violence, racial profiling and vigilantes. The technology “doesn’t protect people” and even puts people at risk, says executive director Albert Fox Cahn. He cites an incident in October where a father and son shot a woman in response to a Ring doorbell notification. The woman delivered a package sent to the wrong address.
Ring has previously emphasized that device users are not required to share images, and it responded to some concerns about activating police surveillance by requiring public and targeted requests within 12 hours of incidents. However, there are still concerns that Ring cameras and doorbells collect images of innocent bystanders and that Neighbors users face racial bias when reporting suspicious behavior. The company also faced a number of security vulnerabilities, including a bug that exposed specific locations.