POLK COUNTY, Iowa — Millions of homeowners have Ring, the video doorbell security system, and now that security is being taken to a whole new level right here in Central Iowa thanks to a new partnership.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency in the state to do something like this. They’ve partnered with Ring, and their free app called Neighbors. It’s a place where residents can receive real-time local crime and safety alerts. But it’s more than just a virtual community watch. Now it can also help the sheriff’s office solve a crime.
After a year of planning the Polk County Sheriff’s Office finalized their partnership with Ring mid-July. They say if your Ring doorbell catches something suspicious or a crime and you upload to the Neighbors App, the agency now has access to that video and can start to investigate.
Sheriff Kevin Schneider says it’s not a 24/7 surveillance, they only have access to what residents choose to upload. Instead, it’s a way for them to not only easily access evidence they need, but also take preventative measures against potential future crimes.
“Somebody in a green car was here looking suspicious, well we may have something where someone in a green car broke into a house five miles away,” Sheriff Scheider said. “So we can put those two things together to gain information and help solve the crime.”
So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive for this partnership. Pleasant Hill’s Alisha Stoutenberg is a mom of four and runs a boutique out of her home. She has Ring on both her front and back doors and already has the Neighbors app, but feels even better now knowing detectives from the sheriff’s office will also be looking into any concerning post or upload.
“I think that’s really awesome that they want to do that. It makes me feel better that they will be watching everything and seeing what’s going on too,” Stoutenberg said.
It’s as simple as a Ring catching motion outside a residence and letting the owner know via phone notification. Then the resident can upload the surveillance video right onto the Neighbors by Ring app and the Sheriff’s office will be notified and can start an investigation if need be.
The best part is you don’t even have to have a Ring to utilize their free app. Any footage from a smartphone or another surveillance camera can be uploaded.
Text polkcountyia to 555888 or click here: download.ring.com/polkcounty from your smartphone to download Neighbors for free on iOS and Android.