Ring's Neighbors app is a modern take on neighborhood watches

You can use the app without any Ring hardware required.

Smart doorbell company Ring, recently acquired by Amazon, wants to drive a new style of neighborhood watch. Neighbors is a standalone app that takes the quasi-social networking aspect of the Ring app and breaks it out into a standalone application for Android and iOS, no Ring hardware required. It isn't the only app to do so -- there's also Nextdoor -- but that shouldn't make it any less useful.

Starting today, users can leave photos and text responses on a map of their neighborhood as a way to communicate with law enforcement and, well, neighbors, about any suspicious goings-on near their homes. If such a thing happens, you'll get a push notification on your device.

The app store listings boast that this is a great way to track package thieves. Maybe, just maybe, if Richard Guttfield had the app (or a Ring doorbell) last week, he wouldn't have had to email Jeff Bezos to get his puppy back.