- The City of Miami will partner with Neighbors, an app backed by Amazon-owned smart doorbell company Ring, to offer real-time crime and safety information.
- The app, which does not require Ring hardware, allows users to share pictures and updates and to get safety alerts from neighbors and law enforcement. The network touts its success in combating package thieves and stopping burglaries.
- "Like the City of Miami, Ring exercises a forward-thinking approach to safety by offering a modern, effective, and accessible way to protect your home," said Mayor Francis Suarez.
After decades of an unsafe reputation, Miami has been curbing its crime problem; the Miami Herald wrote last year about historic lows in homicides and gun deaths. According to Miami Police Department statistics, compared to the first six months of 2017, the beginning of 2018 has seen double-digit declines in both violent and non-violent crimes, including a nearly 20% decline in burglaries and a 21% drop in aggravated assaults.
The partnership with Neighbors is meant to continue that trend. It’s reminiscent of the work other police departments have done with the social network Nextdoor. After police departments started using the app to send targeted crime information, Nextdoor redesigned to give public officials easier access, as reported by Fortune. The Neighbors app integrates video and photos, allowing users to post multimedia or text posts on a map, and send alerts to users if there is an incident near their house. Having more eyes sending out safety alerts means more complete — and faster — crime information and warnings.
Working with Neighbors will give the police department and residents more information and increased community cooperation, but it comes at a cost. The Miami New Times writes that the app has been criticized for incidents of racial profiling, with some users posting pictures or minorities and flagging them as dangerous. Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff told WLRN that the app "works in a way that [profiling] does not happen," but the concern shows there could be some growing pains to integrate the app with official police business.