The police departments in Overland Park, Shawnee, Lenexa and Olathe are all plugging into their local neighborhoods to facilitate real-time communication on public safety alerts and crime reporting.
Those police departments — the first four in the state of Kansas — announced yesterday they have joined the Neighbors mobile application via Ring, an Amazon company that sells security cameras. The app allows police departments and residents to share information on crime or suspicious activity more quickly and even anonymously.
“We have chosen to become a part of the conversation that is already going on with the Neighbors app,” said Shawnee Sgt. Craig Herrmann. “I think of it as a table; all of the neighbors in the neighborhood are sitting around a table; we have pulled up a chair to that table.”
The Prairie Village Police Department launched a similar program of its own last year; that program builds a network of private surveillance footage to aid in solving crimes.
Once residents sign up on the Neighbors app and plug into their neighborhoods, they can share video surveillance and communicate suspicious activity on the app. The police departments can tap into each neighborhood, but they only see information that neighbors choose to share, even if it’s anonymously submitted.
“The Neighbors app by Ring will be a great asset in our mission to prevent, reduce and solve crimes in Lenexa and enhance our existing Community Video Partnership Program and accessibility of information through our social media platforms,” said Lenexa police chief Thomas Hongslo.
When residents join the app, they can use it to monitor neighborhood activity, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts (similar to a social media platform) and receive real-time safety alerts from their neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team, which monitors each platform to ensure information stays relevant to crime and public safety.
“If an incident occurs that we need some help with, we can request the people on the app to check their video systems, and if they have something useful, they can choose to share it,” Herrmann said. “We don’t have access to anyone’s devices. Any video or information that people share with us is their choice.”
Information-sharing on the Neighbors app is not limited to Ring devices; anyone with the app can share information with the police departments.
“The Overland Park Police Department is very excited to partner with Ring to allow us to continue ‘Serving, protecting, and working with our community in a professional manner to prevent, reduce and solve crime,” said John Lacy, public information officer for the OPPD.
Here’s info on how Overland Park, Lenexa and Shawnee residents can get the local versions of the app:
- Overland Park residents can download the Neighbors app for iOS or Android by following the download link at download.ring.com/overlandpark or by texting overlandparkks to 555888 from a smartphone device.
- Lenexa residents can download the Neighbors app on iOS and Android at download.ring.com/lenexa or by texting “lenexaks” to 555888 from a smartphone device.
- Shawnee residents can download the Neighbors app on iOS and Android at download.ring.com/shawnee or by texting “shawneepd” to 555888 from a smartphone device.