Prince William County Police Department joins Neighbors app by Ring

WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) -- The Prince William County Police are the latest law enforcement agency to partner with the Neighbors app and home security system Ring. The partnership will hopefully help police fight crime faster.

Similar programs are already in place in D.C. and Maryland. Now, they're starting to pop up in the Northern Virginia area and the Prince William County Police signed on last week.

In fact, around 17,000 people have signed up in the county for Ring's Neighbors app. It allows police access to surveillance video should resident's cameras catch a criminal.

"I think it's a good idea to have neighbors protect one another," said Manassas resident Eric Felder.

Felder recently moved to a development in Manassas. He and several residents have cameras in place on their doorbells. These systems are compatible with Ring's Neighbors app which allows residents to upload video of crime or suspicious activity.

Now, in Prince William County, police can have access to anything publicly shared on the Neighbors app. Residents can go a step further and register their home security system with police which would allow officers access to video as long as they have the residents' permission.

Even so, Felder says the app may be reactive rather than proactive.

"Some pretty desperate people would take a chance to come up on board... If they want to get in, they'll get in," said Felder.

"Some citizens or residents have already received requests for video information from our detectives so we appreciate all the support the community has already given us," said PWCPD First Sgt. Sarah Rolle.

Police say the app is free and once it's downloaded, residents can opt-in to their digital neighborhood and use the app to monitor neighborhood activity, share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts. Users can also share safety alerts.