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Neighbors app will help Marlboro police share updates, safety alerts

MARLBORO — Mayor Jonathan Hornik and Police Chief Peter Pezzullo have announced Marlboro’s participation in the Neighbors Public Safety Service (NPSS).

The NPSS allows public safety officials to connect, communicate and share hyper-local updates with residents, according to a press release from the township.

This new program and collaboration is a continuation and further expansion of Hornik’s “See Something. Say Something. We Will Do Something.” initiative that was launched in 2018, according to the press release.

The Neighbors app is a “hyperlocal social networking app owned by Ring, LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. The app allows users to anonymously discuss crime and public safety issues in their local community,” according to ring.com

In Marlboro, the Neighbors app will help police share updates and safety alerts, and ask residents for assistance with video surveillance and information when there is an ongoing investigation.

“There is nothing more important to me than keeping Marlboro safe for all residents. The Neighbors app gives our police a tool to help them better engage and inform the community and is a perfect expansion of the ‘See Something. Say Something. We Will Do Something.’ initiative,” Hornik said.

“I originally announced that initiative in 2018 following a rash of school shootings across the country. Early this year I expanded that program to include home and vehicle security to address the uptick in vehicle thefts here and in many suburban communities,” the mayor said.

Residents do not need to own a Ring device or any other home security system to participate in the Neighbors App or the new initiative, according to the press release.

To join the Neighbors app, residents can download the free app on most iOS, Android or FireOS devices. Police do not have access to the user’s Ring devices or to any personal information when using the Ring or Neighbors apps.

In commenting on the program, Pezzullo said, “Partnership with our residents has successfully prevented crime and resulted in 18 arrests. Investing in technology that allows us to quickly share information and, when necessary, to ask for help from our residents in an ongoing investigation will become a valuable tool.

“In addition to the police being able to share timely information with the community, we will be able to directly request videos from residents who have the Ring doorbell or any other video security system. Community policing has been the cornerstone of our department and I am looking forward to adding this tool to our arsenal,” Pezzullo said.

The Neighbors app is not intended for reporting crimes that are already in progress, according to the press release.

“The Neighbors app is a perfect addition to our ‘Take the Pledge’ initiative. In May, we asked residents to pledge to take basic steps to keep their home and vehicles safe,” Hornik said.

“In return, an officer delivered a lawn sign that serves both as a reminder to your neighbors and sends a message to potential thieves to stay out of Marlboro, and with residents’ help, it is working.

“Successful vehicle thefts have decreased by 40%. The Neighbors app is the next step in expanding our community-police partnership,” the mayor said.

Police do not monitor the Neighbors app 24 hours a day. Residents should continue to call the Marlboro Police Department at 732-536-0100 in a non-emergency situation and dial 911 in an emergency.

Pezzullo reminded residents all successful vehicle thefts have involved the key fob being left in the vehicle and he reminded residents to lock their vehicle, take the key fob and to keep valuables out of sight.

Hornik and Pezzullo announced the Neighbors app initiative in a video that was posted to the Marlboro Township Government Facebook page and @marlborotownshipofficial

A fact sheet is posted on the website homepage. “Take the Pledge” lawn signs are still available and may be requested using the links at the top of the Marlboro website homepage. Marlboro’s municipal website is https://www.marlboro-nj.gov/

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