In an effort to help facilitate a virtual Neighborhood Watch program and foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications, the Oakdale Police Department’s Neighborhood Watch groups have partnered with Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods.
Nextdoor is free for the residents and the city.
According to Mike Hancock of the Burchell Hill Neighborhood Watch, there are over 900 residents now using the system in about 13 groups.
“The city just decided to join so we now can get notices from the city to all 900-plus neighbors immediately,” Hancock said. “It is getting to be a big thing nationally and our city just joined.”
Each Oakdale Neighborhood Watch group has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Residents can use their website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions and exchange local advice and recommendations.
For example, neighbors use Nextdoor to share information about Neighborhood Watch and safety issues, local events, school activities, upcoming garage sales, lost pets and more.
Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website. Information shared on Nextdoor is only visible to verified members. The Oakdale Police Department will be able to post important information, such as crime updates to Nextdoor sites within the city. The police department will not be able to access the residents’ websites, contact information or content.
According to the organization, more than 81,000 U.S. communities rely on Nextdoor to use the power of technology to build stronger and safer neighborhoods.
Nextdoor was specifically designed to make neighbors feel comfortable sharing information with one another in order to build stronger communities. All members must verify that they live within the neighborhood.
Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by those outside the neighborhood or found on Google or other search engines. In addition, Nextdoor never shares personal information with any third parties. Unlike some other online groups, neighbor posts are organized and archived for future reference.
Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address. If Nextdoor is available in their area, they can immediately sign up. If a Nextdoor website has not yet been established for their area, active and engaged neighbors are invited to apply to bring Nextdoor to their neighborhood.