About eight years ago, we had a rash of car break-ins in our neighborhood. Our community is pretty tight and friendly, and we often chat, neighbor to neighbor, as we take out the trash, work in the garden, get the mail, or walk the dog. We also had started a very informal, community email list to share important neighborhood information. The break-ins quickly circulated on this list. And, I checked one of my “new-fangled” security cameras to see if I had caught anyone. In fact, I did. (*Disclosure below.)
Early in the morning, someone came into our driveway and checked our car doors. I was one of the first people to actually have security cameras at my house. And using the night-vision feature of the cameras, I caught the guy in the act. I contacted our local sheriff and gave them a downloaded copy of the video for their records. And I also uploaded the video to YouTube and sent the link out to our neighborhood mailing list. This was the only way I could think of to share this critical content with my friends and neighbors.
But that was eight years ago. And technology has evolved making this process much easier. And Ring Neighbors seems to be leading the way.
There are now many different types of security cameras available to consumers to easily install and use to monitor their home and its surroundings. Many of these cameras merely hook into your WiFi connection, are powered by batteries, and have easy-to-use smartphone apps to help you always keep an eye on things.
While having a plethora of security cameras around the neighborhood is a good thing, because there are so many choices out there, there is no standard when it comes to letting your neighbors know what had been captured. Yes, you can download videos from most systems pretty easily, but then what? Upload to YouTube? Send via text? You wouldn’t want to email a video because the recipient would be mad – video files are big and clog up email systems.
This is where Ring Neighbors stands out. While yes, it is a service offered by a company that makes security camera devices for in and around the home, it is built around the idea that sharing is critical, regardless of the camera system. It’s focused on the concept of the community and keeping people safe and informed.
What does that mean? Well, the app lets you share any security camera video, regardless of manufacturer. Other systems I have seen allow you to share as well, but only within their closed ecosystem. Not Ring Neighbors. Share any video from any source.
How Does Ring Neighbors Work?
Ring Neighbors is a service that is available as a stand-alone app (or as part of the Ring app if you have Ring products). You don’t need to be a Ring customer to use it or sign up. In fact, you don’t even need to have a security camera at all? You can still benefit from the neighborhood sharing of video content and important information.
As a Ring customer, you can simply opt-in to the Ring Neighbors service within the app. Everybody else can just download either the iOS or Android version of the standalone app. You will need to create an account and provide address information to help define your neighborhood. (If you are a Ring user, just turning on Neighbors is all you really need to do.)
From there, you define what your neighborhood consists of. You set an area to monitor in general and then a smaller radius for alerts. Once you have your settings configured, the Ring Neighbors app just does its magic.
The Neighbors App does what any good neighbor would do. It provides real-time alerts on suspicious activity and crime shared by other neighbors in your area. But, it is not just limited to your local neighbors, updates and alerts are also sent to the app from the Ring Team as well as local law enforcement.
And what if you capture a video or photo of something happening around your own home? You can share it, either using your name or anonymously. And, as I said, you don’t need to have a Ring product to do any of that. Pretty nice, right? Best of all, the service that Ring is providing is free. So you get the benefit of a digital community and neighborhood where everybody is looking out for everybody else.
But what will make the service better for your neighborhood is having more people signing up and sharing those alerts or warnings. The bigger the user base, the more effective the coverage. This is especially important with the rise of online shopping and package deliveries at home. In my neighborhood, we no longer use an old-fashioned email list (we now rely on services like NextDoor), and unfortunately, one over-common thread is always about mail and package theft.
On NextDoor, for example, there are lots of written notices of people having packages stolen from their front porch, or unwanted door-to-door salespeople or solicitors coming to the door. Sometimes, these messages include a picture. But often, the notifications of these “watch out for” messages come at the end of the day or in a summary email.
With the Ring Neighbors app, you get real-time notifications, so you receive “BOLOs” (Be On Look Out) immediately which potentially ensures that people actually ARE looking out in real time.
So I circle back to this. What makes up a neighborhood? Is it merely a collection of houses occupied by people? Or is it a community consisting of homes, families, friends, and acquaintances? More often than not, it is the latter. A neighborhood is a community of relationships, mostly good. But occasionally, a bad character or group disrupts a hopefully normally-peaceful environment. This is nothing new. As a natural evolution of the community, people began to watch out for each other. In 1972, the Neighborhood Watch organization was formed as a way for communities to unite in this watchful activity. More recently, however, people are turning to digital methods of watching over their homes and surrounding areas through the use of security cameras. But these were very individual. There was no way to truly “share” videos with your surrounding neighbors. Ring Neighbors aims to change this.
Take a few minutes to download the Ring Neighbors App and join the digital community watching out for the security and safety of your community.
Disclosure: I have a material connection because I received a gift, sample of a product or service, and/or monetary compensation for consideration in preparing to review the product/service and write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. All opinions within this article are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.
HTD says: The Ring Neighbors app and platform allows for communities to remain digitally connected when it comes to crime and safety around their homes. Get real-time alerts shared by neighbors and law enforcement to ensure your neighborhood remains safe.