Much has already been written about the problems inherent in neighborhood watches: in short, that they convince paranoid white people to become “protectors of the neighborhood,” patrolling their neighborhood for “suspicious” people (re: people of color) to harass. But the convenience of the internet has given that prejudice new life. People of color already fear being profiled by law enforcement; now they have to worry about Ring cameras videotaping them and sending the footage straight to the cops. Police officials claim that they’ll only look into videos that “meet their standards” for investigation, but when you consider how often police have harassed people of color simply for existing, it makes sense to take that claim with a grain of salt.
I was on my neighborhood’s NextDoor group a few years ago. It is hard to think of a web-based platform that better exemplifies the gulf between the promise of bringing people together and the reality of people being horrible to one another without the modicum of decorum required by face-to-face contact.
These apps are terrible.