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Initiative giving free Ring doorbells to residents to combat crime

Using technology to prevent crime, one Winnebago County Board Member is giving free ring doorbells to his district.
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 12:02 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Winnebago County Public Safety Chairman Burt Gerl says he’s pledging $40,000 dollars from his American Rescue Plan fund (ARPA) to give free Ring doorbell cameras to the community members in his district. His goal is to prevent crime and give residents a sense of safety.

“I thought this would be a great way to actually get out in front of crime, and prevent it...instead of always just following it up,” said Gerl. “Ring has a great public safety app out there that can let neighbors communicate, share video, it allows the sheriff to communicate with neighbors, so in case something happens they can get out there.”

Gerl hopes to expand this initiative even more, specifically targeting areas where there’s a higher crime rate, and several board members agree.

“It might not be able to prevent every crime and stop crime,” said Gerl. “But eventually criminals are going to know that these neighborhoods are being watched.”

Director Marlana Dokken of the Chairman’s Office of Criminal Justice Initiatives says this will also help to identify individuals who commit the crimes.

“A sense of security for our residents,” said Dokken “And to get the evidence that we need to prosecute crimes that need to be prosecuted.”

Some community members voiced concerns about privacy, but many believe that cracking down on crime takes precedent.

“If you don’t got nothing to hide, than why be afraid,” said community member Tyler Krieter.

Krieter believes that using this technology can make a difference in saving lives.

“We’ve got to look out for our kids, we’ve got to look out for us, we’ve got to look out for our community,” said Krieter.

Gerl says if they are able to put around 2000 cameras throughout the county, it will have a major affect on crime. Their goal is to start the program in about 90 days, and he says he expects to see great results, specifically in stopping crime on the more vulnerable residents of the community.

Correction: This article has been updated to include the name American Rescue Plan instead of art fund. The money comes from a relief fund allocated by Congress.

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