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Sheriff’s Office Uses Neighborhood Apps to Help Fight Crime

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While many San Antonians celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has added another tool to fight local crime. It has joined the Neighbors app to provide the community with real-time, local crime and safety information.

The Neighbors network already has millions of users and has been instrumental in catching package thieves, stopping burglaries, and keeping neighborhoods safe.

Bexar County residents can download the free Neighbors app to their smartphone (via iOS or Android here: https://download.ring.com/bexar) in order to join their digital neighborhood and use the app to: monitor neighborhood activity; share crime and safety-related videos, photos and text-based posts; and receive real-time safety alerts from your neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team.

“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is embracing the innovative technology of the Neighbors App,” said Bexar County Sheriff, Javier Salazar. “We are affiliating with the Neighbors by Ring program in our efforts to further strengthen our community and bring another tool to fight crime. I hope the public will join us in making our communities a more connected, safe, and more resilient place.”

How It Works:

  • Download the Neighbors app (via iOS/Android here: https://download.ring.com/bexar)
  • Opt-in to join your neighborhood.
  • Customize the geographic area you want to receive notifications for (users must verify where they are located and cannot participate in other neighborhoods).
  • Receive real-time alerts from your neighbors, local law enforcement and the Ring team that inform of crime and safety alerts as they happen.
  • View local crime and safety posts via a live feed or interactive map.
  • Share text updates, photos and videos taken on any device, including Ring’s home security devices.
  • Work with your community to make neighborhoods safer.

Last year, the Sheriff’s Office also announced it partnered with the other popular neighborhood app, Nextdoor.

SAPD community SAFFE officer Scott Boehm told Texas Public Radio last year that Nextdoor “was instrumental in helping SAPD capture burglars a couple years ago in Fossil Springs on the city’s northwest side.”

He said in the story, “after posting a warning about the break-ins, a Nextdoor user sent them the description of a suspicious car with a license plate number.”

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Councilman Shaw Resigns from City Council

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SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 13, 2018) —
Effective January 7, 2019, Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw is resigning from his position on City Council as he has accepted an offer to become associate judge of the 436th Judicial District Court.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of District 2 and collaborate with the staff at the City of San Antonio,” said Councilman Shaw. “I am grateful for this opportunity to work with the youth in San Antonio who have found their way into the criminal justice system. I want to make clear to the people in District 2 that there will be no interruption in services and council staff will continue to address all constituent concerns.”

The City will release the details for filling the District 2 vacancy in the coming days.

 

View resignation letter

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The Discussion w The Writer Fred Blacks in the Media: Have We Made Good Progress?

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Get Emergency Utility Bill Help Now Through Your Smartphone

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San Antonio’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the availability of a new, Emergency Utility Bill Assistance online application, which is at www.sanantonio.gov/DHSutility.

The online application simplifies the previous paper-based process by eliminating the need for residents to print and photocopy supporting documentation (photo ID, proof of income, CPS Energy or SAWS bill), and mail documents or visit the Willie Velasquez Center to obtain assistance. Now, residents can complete the application online and upload required documents using their smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera.

“We have found that most of our clients today have a smartphone, even if they don’t have a computer,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said. “We wanted to make it easy for residents to use that phone to apply for the assistance they need.”

The new online application is the culmination of the inaugural CivTechSA residency program, collaboration between the City’s Office of Innovation and Geekdom. CivTechSA coordinated a 16-week residency in which city departments pitched their challenges to be solved by local technology firms. Kinetech Cloud, a Geekdom-based custom software-as-a-service provider, was one of two businesses selected for the CivTechSA residency.

The emergency utility assistance program helps the city’s most vulnerable residents during times of need to avoid power and water service shut-offs whenever possible. The average annual income of applicants for assistance is approximately $14,000. The program processes over 10,000 applications annually, administering approximately $2.4 million in CPS Energy bill assistance and $400,000 in San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) credits. Human Services works closely with CPS Energy and SAWS to apply the assistance credits to the bills of eligible residents in need.

“The new online application system allows our staff to provide real-time updates to clients. When a family faces utility disconnection, time is of the essence. This application allows for faster communication with clients, to help complete their application and keep utilities connected,” Woosley said.

Additional benefits of the application include a self-service portal where applicants can check the status of their application, view the average processing time for the past thirty days, and receive automated notifications each time the status of their application changes.

“Virtually every industry is being impacted by technology and local government is no different,” said Michael Guido, CEO of Kinetech. “The majority of population growth over the next fifty years will occur in urban areas. Cities must invest in infrastructure and digital services to address this growth in a sustainable way.”

The DHS solution aligns with San Antonio’s Smart City Initiative – to have San Antonio be connected, inclusive, and resilient. Interested citizens can find out more at www.sanantonio.gov/humanservices/FinanceEmergency.

 

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