BENTON, AR – The Benton Police Department (BNPD) wants to open the doors of communication with the city’s residents.
That’s why it’s teaming up with Nextdoor, a social network consisting of more than 50,000 neighborhoods across the United States. The network helps introduce neighbors to each other and fight crime.
Through the partnership, the BNPD can use private and secure neighborhood websites to reach out to citizens.
By signing up at www.nextdoor.com, or via the free app, neighbors can also get to know one another and exchange advice and information.
The Nextdoor app gives neighborhoods the ability to communicate with each other about happenings in their individual subdivisions-including neighborhood break-ins or events. In a sense, it basically functions as a virtual neighborhood watch program for the digital age. It’s sometimes difficult in our technological and busy world to get people out for meetings, so this allows for people to still communicate and reach out to their neighbors.
On top of being free, each neighborhood can develop its own community and boundaries they setup. It allows the individual neighborhoods to communicate only among themselves for some things, but they can also correspond with other neighborhoods throughout the city when they desire.
Each person who joins Nextdoor has to verify his or her address prior to setting up or joining a neighborhood. Every user signs in with their real name and they choose where their information is shared. People cannot invite friends to join their neighborhood, unless they happen to live nearby, because it’s just for neighbors to share information.
Unlike other social media platforms, Facebook for one, it only requires just a few pieces of information to setup an account and get started. The neighborhood websites are encrypted using a secure web address and information shared will never show up in Google or other search engines.
In addition to sharing crime and safety information, neighbors can answer fellow members’ questions, recommend local businesses and services, discuss community issues, spread the word about local events, and even find a dentist or babysitter.
The BNPD also plans to use the app to notify residents of big events, weather-related incidents or emergencies, or upcoming ‘real’ neighborhood watch meetings.
Although not exactly a replacement for an actual face to face neighborhood watch meeting, it does allow for near instantaneous communication between neighbors to help thwart criminal activity. BNPD still encourages groups to gather together to network with each other and hopefully Nextdoor will help facilitate the growth of neighborhood watches in the community by making it easier to setup meetings.
Click the box below to watch an informative video about the Nextdoor program.