High-Tech crime prevention program connects neighborhoods with cops

Get instant crime updates for your neighborhood

By Paul Giorgio - Producer

PALM BAY, Fla. - It's the latest tool in the fight against crime and it may be coming to your neighborhood soon.

It's called Uneighbors and it connects neighbors with each other and to local police.

[SURVEY: UNeighbors home safety checklist]

Imagine getting updates to all the crime events in and around your home sent directly to your phone or e-mail.

Uneighbors provides residents with the ability to alert their neighbors by mobile phone, email or by automated phone calls to any criminal or suspicious activity. The alerts can be sent anonymously from local residents to all participating neighbors, while at the same time immediately notifying their local law enforcement agency.

Most importantly, law enforcement has the ability to respond to each alert, expand the alert to adjacent communities, and include vital information related to the content of the alert.

Here in Brevard County, it has the full support of the Palm Bay Police Department. Police Chief Doug Muldoon says he's promoting it as a free service that helps both his department and it's citizens.

"It helps us because many times people are hesitant to call the police department," he says, "It could be minor stuff. It could be a suspect in a neighborhood and people don't always want to call, but it allows them to put the information out and it alarms the neighbors."

The system also taps into the FDLE sex offender database to alert users of any offenders living within a 1-mile radius of their home.

Uneighbors founder Shawn Andreas says the goal is to increase community involvement. So far it seems to be working.

"We're probably seeing anywhere from seven to twelve alerts a day being generated," Andreas says, "anything from a lost pet to suspicious activity, even break-ins."

Palm Bay homeowner Mary Robertson has been a user for four months. She says she feels safer knowing she has Uneighbors at her fingertips.

"I could be at the grocery store and I could find out through this that somebody's breaking into my home," she said. "So you're aware, even if you aren't at home, by having this. The neighbors simply alert as to what's going on."

The company just surpassed 50,000 users in Brevard and Indian River counties.

The service is free to join. It's paid for by advertising which shows up on their website and printed material only. Local 6 has been told users will never get solicited by text or email.

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