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Neighborhood Watch going high-tech in St. Johns County

Sheriff's Office touts addition of Neighbors app to community safety strategy

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is introducing a new initiative to help keep neighborhoods safe using a digital platform to connect with the community.

The Sheriff’s Office is bringing Community Watch Partners to the area with help from an app called Neighbors developed by the home surveillance company Ring.

The app allows users to share photos, videos, safety alerts and other messages with neighbors and local law enforcement agencies in real-time through a live feed.

“You can upload a video on this portal and then share it again with your neighborhood, other neighborhoods, countywide, or with law-enforcement directly," said SJCSO Public Information Officer Chuck Mulligan. "What we are doing is really more of adding a tool to the toolbox of Neighborhood Watch."

Users can upload videos directly from a Ring doorbell camera, but it’s not required.

The app is free and available to everyone. All you have to do is opt-in to join your neighborhood and select the geographic region you would like to receive alerts from. 

Mulligan said home surveillance technology is a huge advantage when it comes to solving crimes.

“Neighborhood Watch has always been the eyes and ears of the community looking out for one another," Mulligan said. "Today, even when the human element dissipates and goes to work, there are still thousands upon thousands of eyes and ears out there in video cameras and surveillance technology. So this incorporates a platform that the Ring Corporation has created and it allows all the video cameras to come together and to be able to communicate with the Sheriff's Office or within their communities about things going on in their neighborhood through video."

The Sheriff’s Office is encouraging neighborhoods countywide to get involved. It is holding four informational meetings over the next month. Attendees will learn how the app works and how to get updated signage for their neighborhood:

  • April 10 at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • April 16 at Fruit Cove Baptist Church from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • April 23 at Turning Point Church from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • May 1 at Riverview Club at The Shores from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

About the Author:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.