This is the blog for Robert Vincent, Chief of Police for the Gulfport (Florida) Police Department. Please feel free to leave comments, but keep in mind that anything appearing on this page may be subject to retention and disclosure in accordance with Florida public records law.

Please keep your posts clean and respectful. Comments are subject to review, and I do not permit lewdness, obscenity, or personal attacks.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ring App May be Misleading--Be Careful

I was recently made aware of the crime reporting feature on the Ring.com neighborhood app, and I wanted to share some concerns.

It’s great when people have access to information quickly and easily, but that only helps when the information is accurate. What is being shared on this app is simply not.

When I compared the Ring weekly crime report to our own records, I found several examples of incidents that were misreported. The app was also showing reports of crimes of which we had no record. Curiously, the app does not reveal its source for the information it is reporting.

There was also a recent alert about what the app called a burglary in progress. It published this alert in the form of a news release stating that Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was responding to a burglary in progress in Gulfport. The facts: Gulfport Police Officers responded to a call where a person reported hearing his car alarm going off. When he went outside to check it out, he saw someone walking away. Officers investigated and found no evidence that the car had been burglarized, so they reclassified the call as a suspicious person. 

It is clear that the source for this alert was the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office “active calls” website. GPD uses PCSO for dispatch, so our calls also appear on this website. If you go directly to the source and follow it, you can see as calls are updated to reflect the most recent and accurate information. Apparently the Ring app does not do this, which means a lot of people are not getting the full story.

If you use this app, which I agree has a lot of great potential, please don’t share or rely on the information without verifying the most up to date data directly from the source.

Thank you.