Sheriff’s office, social network join forces to work with neighborhoods

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 07:11 PM

Twenty-eight percent of people don’t know their neighbors by name, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. The Durham County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the private online social network Nextdoor, is hoping to change that.
“Close-knit neighborhoods where people know and recognize each other are often safer and more community-oriented than their isolated counterparts,” Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews said. “It’s important that neighbors look out for one another, share information, and take a group approach to community safety. I believe Nextdoor is making it easier for Durham’s communities to do that.”
Nextdoor is free for residents and the Sheriff’s Office. Once established, each neighborhood in Durham County has its own private Nextdoor website, accessible only to verified residents of that neighborhood. Residents can use their website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions, and exchange advice and recommendations. For example, neighbors can use Nextdoor to share information about neighborhood watch and safety issues, local events, school activities, upcoming garage sales, lost pets, and more.
The Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency and government entity in North Carolina to partner with Nextdoor. The partnership will give the Sheriff’s Office the ability to deliver public safety information, crime prevention tips, and other important messages to specific Nextdoor neighborhoods or to larger areas within Durham County. The Sheriff’s Office cannot access member profiles, messages between members, or view information that neighbors have shared with each other. The Sheriff’s Office can only see its own posts and replies to those posts.
“Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for us to communicate with one another,” Deputy Paul Sherwin, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said. “However, sometimes we get lost in the world of status updates, tweets, and text messages and we forget the value of face-to-face interaction with our neighbors. Nextdoor blends those two worlds and I hope it will become a valuable tool in improving safety and community collaboration in Durham County.”
Sixty-five neighborhoods with nearly 3,400 members are currently active in Durham County. Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website should visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address to see if a Nextdoor website is already established where they live.
If a Nextdoor neighborhood has not been created in their area, residents are encouraged to start one. For information or questions about creating a Nextdoor website, visit http://help.nextdoor.com. To watch a short video demonstration of Nextdoor, go to http://youtu.be/9V1tlhGjSMc.