Bloomington Police have joined a new online community that it hopes will help the public help them fight crime.
The department has joined the Neighbors app by Ring. The free app enables users to receive safety alerts from neighbors and law enforcement and to share their own crime reports, which could include cell phone video doorbell camera footage.
Bloomington Police Department spokesman John Fermon called the site a virtual neighborhood watch.
“You could post at 2 o’clock in the morning, ‘Did anybody else hear somebody knocking? Did anybody see this guy?'" Fermon said. “Your neighborhood can actually go there, look at it and then communicate it back and forth without actually having to do in in person.”
Fermon said the department will monitor the site for tips and to correct misinformation.
“It’s kind of difficult,” Fermon conceded. “It’s a new thing, anybody can post anything on the internet and it’s our job is to try to inform the public as best we can.”
Fermon said the site will only be effective if the public uses it.
“It’s what the community puts into it,” he said adding the city and police department has tried to maintain a regular presence on social media and through other platforms, including the Nextdoor app.
The Neighbors app is free for iOS and Android devices. Residents can also text 'bloomingtonpd' to 555888 to download the app.
“By bringing security to every neighbor with the free Neighbors app, the Bloomington community can stay on top of crime and safety alerts as they happen,” Ring founder and chief inventor Jamie Siminoff said.
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