Ring app alerts homeowners to nearby crime in real time; connects residents

Updated: Feb. 15, 2019 at 3:12 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Wilmington resident Kylie Sheaffer was getting ready to drift off for a Thursday morning nap when she heard her phone bing.

“A notification came up from Ring, and it said there is a robbery in your area, so I yelled over to my roommate and I was like ‘did you just get that alert?’" Sheaffer recalled.

The alert was for a bank robbery that occurred at the Wells Fargo on South College Road — less than two miles from Sheaffer’s apartment.

She was surprised that her new Ring video doorbell alert system would notify her of a nearby crime.

“It was really unexpected. I didn’t know that would even be a feature. I’ve only had this for two weeks,” said Sheaffer.

Sheaffer said her dad bought her the surveillance camera for Christmas but she finally got around to setting it up two weeks ago. According to Ring, their smart doorbell aims to allow users to answer the door and check in on what’s going on at home, anytime and anywhere.

She said the alert came in at 11:37 a.m.

The Ring alert read, “Sources indicate a robbery occurred at the 600 block of South College Road, information about the suspect is not immediately available, please stay alert and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

Ring’s website states that the company monitors risk reporting agencies, public safety systems, and verified social media accounts as the basis for its alert system. Wilmington police alerted the public about the bank robbery via social media Thursday morning.

“After I got the alert, I noticed on the ‘Neighbor’s’ part of this Ring app there is even a neighborhood crime report. So I can even see reports from neighbors. Like here is one two weeks ago about someone stealing water off of porches, and here is one about power loss,” said Shaeffer.

She said the app has really opened her eyes and that home security can really be a social thing.

“It has really drawn my attention to what is going on right around me, stuff I didn’t know what was happening. It’s really giving me an added sense of security,” Sheaffer said.

The app also has the ability to view past crime alerts for your neighborhood.

“I just got this two weeks ago, but I am now able to see notifications from two years that people posted,” Shaeffer said. “And if someone comes to my door that looks suspicious, I can immediately send it out to neighbors to help alert them.”

Shaeffer says she wishes she had this technology in college as she was living in high-crime area.

“One night, there was someone sitting at my doorstep and scratching at my door. He was there for a couple of hours and we had to call police,” said Shaeffer.

Wilmington Police spokeswoman Jennifer Dandron said detectives have solved a number of crimes using video doorbell systems like Ring.

“Camera systems, such as Ring, are a very valuable tool for residents. The camera systems act as a deterrent to criminals, as well as helps investigations,” Dandron explained. “The WPD is able to solve more cases, more efficiently and more quickly when we have video evidence that clearly captures the suspect. We highly encourage residents to invest in a camera system.”

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