San Jose police join Amazon Ring 'Neighbors' app

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Police in the capital of Silicon Valley have announced a new partnership with the Amazon Ring Neighbors' app. San Jose now joins more than 400 law enforcement agencies across the country who have signed up.

"It's important for our community to know that their police department is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to helping solve crimes so I think it's something that everyone needs to look at," said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

To help with their investigations, police will now have access to an interactive map that allows officers to request footage from camera owners without knowing their identities.

SJSU justice studies professor Greg Woods says it's a good thing whenever community members are interested in promoting public safety.

"We're going to be able to see eyes and ears in our communities, in our neighborhoods, where we otherwise wouldn't," said Woods. "This is absolutely going to help decrease opportunistic crime, whether it be physical or property damage."

But privacy advocates believe programs like these could threaten civil liberties and also subject innocent people to greater surveillance.

"They do have the possibility of making people less free, and making it so that people don't feel like they can live their lives without being under the eye of a corporation, or the government," said ACLU staff attorney Jacob Snow.

However, others are praising the partnership, including SAFER San Jose, which bills itself as the next generation of Neighborhood Watch. His team is working to equip 300 homes in the southern part of the city with 4-K cameras and license plate readers, over the next six months.

"It's great evidence because we as people cannot be everywhere, every place. Cameras can, and that's what's important," SAFER San Jose president Issa Ajlouny.

Police say surveillance cameras have helped them solve countless cases, including the recent arrest of the SJSU library shooting suspect, who has since been charged with attempted murder.

"It's really just a way to expedite the investigations and get video footage that could bring criminals to justice," said Garcia.

Earlier Thursday, the city of San Jose launched a security camera rebate program, which will be administered through Councilmember Pam Foley's office.

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