Neighbors App Partnership

The Wellesley Police Department has recently partnered with the creators of the Neighbors app by Ring to link new home based security technologies, social media, and crime alerts all in one place.

The Neighbors app enables you to monitor your neighborhood activity, share crime and safety related videos and photos, and receive real-time safety alerts from your neighbors and the Wellesley Police Department. The app is being called the “new neighborhood watch,’’ and is being used in communities across the nation.

The app was created by Ring, the makers of security devices, including the Ring doorbells and home security cameras that many Wellesley residents have installed in their home. The app is not limited to only Ring products, however, making it available and accessible to all.

How It Works:

  • Download the Neighbors app for your IOS or Android device  You can also text wellesleypd to 555-888 for a link to be sent to your phone.
  • Opt-in to join your neighborhood.
  • Customize the geographic area you want to receive notifications for (users must verify where they are located and can only participate in their neighborhood).
  • Receive real-time alerts from your neighbors, official news from the Wellesley Police Department, and the Ring Neighbors team that inform of crime and safety alerts as they happen.
  • View local crime and safety posts via a live feed or interactive map.
  • Share text updates, photos and videos taken from any device, including Ring’s home security devices, and security cameras/products from other manufacturers. 

To join, text wellesleypd to 555888 (Yes, that's a legitimate number) from your IOS or Android device.  A link will be sent to automatically join and sign up.

Additional Information and Frequently Asked Questions:

How does Ring Neighbors work with the Wellesley Police Department? 

Neighbors users can choose whether to share their Ring videos publicly with neighbors on the app as well as with law enforcement if they record a crime.  The Wellesley Police can view the publicly available content in the Neighbors app and request the content in a specific area where a crime or other incident may have occurred.  

What is the benefit of joining?  

The Neighbors app lets you easily share and communicate with your neighbors and local law enforcement about crime and safety so you have real-time, local crime data at your fingertips. It enables users to stay on top of crime and safety alerts as they happen.

Is the Wellesley Police Department able to access user data or cameras through the Neighbors app? 

No.   The Wellesley Police can only see posts that users share publicly; Wellesley PD does not have direct access to users’ devices, video or data. However, when users choose to share video or data with Wellesley PD, Neighbors makes it easier and faster.  The Wellesley Police Department can request users in a specific neighborhood check their security video in the event of a crime or package theft.

EXAMPLE 1:  During the overnight hours (2AM to 5AM) a suspect walks through a Wellesley neighborhood, stealing items from multiple unlocked cars parked in driveways.  IPads, credit cards, cash, and GPS devices are taken.  Approximately 15 cars are targeted.  Victims did not hear anything suspicious, and did not start to call the Wellesley Police Department until after 8AM to report the thefts.

Using the Neighbors app (as well as Twitter, Facebook and the WPD website), the Wellesley Police Department notifies the public and subscribers of the incident and ask for the public's help.  Additionally, the Wellesley Police Department are able to send a specific request to the affected area of town, asking users to check their home video security devices (video doorbells, security cameras) for video footage during the hours the incident took place.

After receiving the alert from WPD, several residents discover they have video footage from their doorbells of a suspect walking through their yards, checking their car doors at 3AM.  The video includes the suspect being picked up by a vehicle.  The residents voluntarily share the video with the Wellesley Police Department, and the suspects are identified and located.

EXAMPLE 2:  A suspect drives through a small Wellesley neighborhood just south of Route 9 and takes several packages from doorsteps/porches that had just been delivered to residents.  An alert homeowner, still at work, sees the suspect take the package off of the porch via a video doorbell.  The homeowner calls the Wellesley PD to report the crime. 

As officers search for the suspect in town, Wellesley PD puts out a crime alert on Neighbors, Twitter, and Facebook.  Again, the department also sends out a specific request to the affected area of town, asking the public to review their home security cameras and video doorbells while the search is still ongoing and during a specific time frame.

One resident discovers that they actually have video of a suspect coming on to their property and removing a package.  In this case, the resident did not always check their video doorbell when it sends an alert, because passing cars on the street and even the movement of the sun had sometimes triggered false alerts.  The resident would not have checked the camera without the alert from the department.

The video captured is very clear of the suspect and also provides a description of the vehicle.  The resident notifies Wellesley PD and voluntarily shares the video.  Based on the video provided, officers are able to locate the suspect and the vehicle, recovering the stolen property and charging the suspect.

Finally, anyone who has installed a home security camera or video doorbell knows that the device is not perfect and frequently ‘alerts’ to mostly benign occurrences.  This often results in homeowners ignoring alerts or becoming accustomed to them. 

The Neighbors app can help make better use of home security technology by alerting residents to real time incidents, and then asking those who live close by to check their devices for any useful footage that can help the police in an investigation. 

Why is law enforcement’s participation on the app useful? 

Neighbors enables the Wellesley Police to:

Share important crime and safety updates with local communities in real-time

Request information about a local crime and safety situations from Neighbors who opt-in to sharing for a particular request.

Work together with the Wellesley community to build trust and make neighborhoods safer.

If I post a video on the Neighbors app, is that the same as reporting it to the Wellesley Police? 

NO!  If you have evidence of a crime or suspicious behavior, you should still report it to the Wellesley Police Department at 781-235-1212 or 9-1-1.  Also keep in mind that our other social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook are NOT monitored 24/7.

Does the Neighbors app collaborate with other social media apps like Facebook that are used by neighborhoods? 

Yes, Neighbors posts are shareable with other major social networks. We encourage users to share crime posts through various networks to increase awareness of local incidents and help identify criminals acting in the area.

Can only Ring videos be shared on Neighbors? 

No. All videos, images, and text can be uploaded and posted to Neighbors. Videos from all cameras can be uploaded, such as Nest, Reolink, Wyze, Netgear, YI, and many others can all be posted.