Ring doorbell program expands reach to Winnebago County residents

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 12:00 AM CDT
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WINNEBAGO CO., Ill. (WIFR) - A new safety video doorbell initiative is now available to all Winnebago County residents.

“It’s a great way to feel safe and to make other neighbor’s feel safe,” said Burt Gerl, District 15 Winnebago County board member.

The Ring doorbell safety program was expanded to include thousands of residents in Winnebago County in an effort to curb crime.

“I think it’s imperative in high crime areas. Especially, our central city. Pretty much every street inside the city of Rockford,” said Gerl.

Police rely more and more on doorbell video over the years to help them catch suspects and solve cases. In March, Ring video helped Rockford police track down the men allegedly behind the shooting and killing of an 18-year-old man on Sablewood Drive.

“If the county can provide those for free to residents, you know I think it’s a great thing to do with this money,” said Gerl.

Burt Gerl is the mastermind of the program. He decided to combine his distracts share of the American Rescue Plan Funds with three other districts. That way, more residents go home with a Ring doorbell camera.

“A lot of people were asking, why did my board member not sign up, why not? Really a lot of board members already had that money dedicated to something else,” said Gerl.

So far, Gerl says the expansion is successful. It’s helping local law enforcement crack down on crime and it helps residents feel safe in their homes.

“When there’s video there, people might feel safer to just present the video instead of having to think about it,” said Chairman Joseph Chiarelli of Winnebago County.

The program initially was only available to resident in district four, 10, 11 and 15. Gerl says those who are eligible will have until November 25 to sign-up and possibly get their Ring doorbell. Constituents are responsible for Ring subscription fees.

Who is eligible?

- Must live in Winnebago County.

- Must be a homeowner of a single family home/condo (multi-family homes are not eligible).

- Must own a smartphone or tablet.

Go here to sign up for a doorbell.