Amarillo Police Department logs on to a virtual ‘neighborhood watch’

Amarillo Police Department logs on to a virtual ‘neighborhood watch’
The Amarillo Police Department is adding a virtual type of neighborhood watch to the city. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo Police Department is adding a virtual type of neighborhood watch to the city by partnering with Neighbors by Ring to give residents another way to find out about crime happening in their community.

“For investigations, say there was a drive-by shooting in a neighborhood and we were looking for suspect information,” said Sgt. Carla Burr of the Amarillo Police Department. “We could contact all the people in the neighborhood that were on that and request video from them and then they could give us the video if they choose to.”

Amarillo Police Department logs on to a virtual ‘neighborhood watch’

The app is anonymous and consent-based.

If the department requests your video, it’s up to you to decide to send it.

If you’re already in contact with the police about a crime, you can reach out through the app.

“If you know the detective on your case and you got video of that happening in your neighborhood, you could provide that directly to them,” said Sgt. Burr. “You don’t have to go through a bunch of hoops to get there.”

Eventually, APD hopes to have all patrol officers logged on.

While social media can be a helpful tool, APD says residents still need to contact them about a crime.

“Even though they put things on there, if it’s something in progress, we want them to call the police line to make sure they can get an officer dispatched out there,” said Sgt. Burr.

The Potter County Sheriff’s Office, which joined Neighbors in September, says this app has been another tool in their tool box.

“We can’t be everywhere, at the most, I may have five or six guys on patrol and that’s a good night,” said Sheriff Brian Thomas of the Potter County Sheriff’s Office. “For the most part, we have four out there. So anyway we can get help from our citizens, we’re going to accept that.”

Sheriff Thomas says apps like this do not replace reporting things to the sheriff’s office and encourages residents to call, even if it turns out to be nothing.

As for online, he says it’s still helpful to post what’s happened so your neighbors are aware.

“It’s just putting more information out there to our customers. I say our customers because the citizens out there are our customers, so the citizens know hey this happened to me, this could happen to ya’ll,” said Sheriff Thomas.

You can sign up directly through APD’s link by texting APD to 555-888.

If you’re in Potter County, you can search for the Sheriff’s Department on the app to link up with them.

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