Wednesday, January 29, 2020

‘Stranger Danger’ prompts police, Ring alliance

Inkster police now have a new “eyewitness” available to help them locate those suspected of crimes in the city.
According to Inkster police, a local homeowner captured video of the vehicle involved in a ‘Stranger Danger’ incident earlier this month.
According to a letter sent to parents in the Wayne Westland school district, the incident took place Jan. 13 as the student was walking home from Stevenson Middle School. The student was approached by a man in an SUV near Birchwood and Division streets just off Middlebelt Road in Inkster.

Inkster police said a local homeowner captured video of the vehicle involved in the incident on a home security device.
“We were able to get video footage from a Ring video camera,” Ofc. Andrea Lebo said. The vehicle is described as a dark-colored Dodge Durango. Police say a man inside the SUV approached the Stevenson Middle School student.
Lebo said the Inkster Police Department has entered into an agreement with the Ring Co., based in California. Ring has millions of internet-connected cameras installed across the country, according to the company website.
“I'm excited because this is just one more avenue to fight crime,” Lebo said.
Inkster police can now request video in an area of the city where a crime has been reported.
The request, through the Neighbors app, prompts an email to the user for permission to use the video from the Ring camera.
“We don't get access to their user information,” Lebo stressed. “We don't get access to their location. We don't get access to their cameras. All it does is send an email that says, the Inkster police department is assisting in an active investigation in your area. The user can either choose to ignore the request or share their video with us.”
In response to privacy concerns, the Ring company issued a public statement.
 “Ring's mission is to make neighborhoods safer. We work towards this mission in a number of ways, including allowing local police to share official, important crime and safety updates with their residents through the free Neighbors app. Ring has designed the Neighbors app in a way that upholds our user privacy standards and keeps residents in control. We've seen many positive examples of residents and local police engaging on the Neighbors app and believe open communication is an important step in building safer, stronger communities.”
Inkster police say if users share their video they would not be asked to testify in court or provide a statement.
The letter from the school district described the suspicious person as a young African-American male with light skin and short twists in his hair. He asked the student to get into the vehicle, according to the letter from the district.
The student refused and made it home safety and the district also offered some safety recommendations for students suggesting they always try to walk with one or more other students when going to and from school, the bus stop or other destinations. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Lebo at (313) 400-5387.