Beach Police Try Out New Neighborhood Crime App, Encourage Residents to Join

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - Perhaps you've fallen victim to a package thief or worse, a home burglary. Those are the type of crimes Beach police hope will go down thanks to a new technology tool. 

"It's concerning that people will come in the night and take your things," said Panama City Beach Resident Kathy Owrey.

Owrey has owned her Panama City Beach home for about 20 years.

"You know the crime has been more of a concern, we actually just had a bicycle stolen off our car port," said Owrey.

Crimes like that led Beach Police to announce their part in a pilot program with an app called Neighbors, made by the company Ring.

On the app you sign up with your home address and then receive notifications from law enforcement and your neighbors about whats happening in your area.

The app is free but if residents purchase a ring camera they can anonymously help police catch suspects.

"If we have a crime that occurs we contact ring they put out a message for us, saying we had a crime this time this area, do you want to share your video and it's totally up to the owner if they want to share," said Chief Drew Whitman. 

Whitman said it works- and they've already caught a thief using footage a resident submitted.

"I'm not telling everyone to go out an buy this, I'm not endorsing the product that way but I am endorsing the concept of fighting crime. Criminals don't like cameras. If a lot of neighborhoods have cameras and are sharing this information, hopefully they go somewhere else or we catch them and they go to jail where they need to be," said Whitman.

You can track crime and join in neighborhood discussions for free on the app. 

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