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June 13, 2012

Neighborhood Social Network with Police Involvement

This is new to me:

Press Release: Rancho Mirage Police Department Introduces Nextdoor, a Private Social Network for Neighborhoods
Agency: Rancho Mirage Police
Station Area: Palm Desert
Incident Date: June 13, 2012 Time: 10:00 AM
Incident Location: Citywide

Details:

In an effort to help facilitate a virtual Neighborhood Watch program and better communication with residents as well as help foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications, the Rancho Mirage Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com), a free and private social network now available for Rancho Mirage neighborhoods.

Nextdoor is free for the residents and the city. Each Rancho Mirage neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Residents can use their Nextdoor website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions, exchange local advice and recommendations, advertise local events and school activities and much more. The Rancho Mirage Police Department will be able to directly communicate with Nextdoor neighborhoods and residents to share information about neighborhood watch, safety issues and crime prevention.

Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website. Information shared on Nextdoor is only visible to members who live in the neighborhood and who have verified their address. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by those outside the neighborhood or found on Google or other search engines. The Rancho Mirage Police Department will be able to post useful and important information to Nextdoor sites within the city, but will not be able to access the resident's websites, contact information or content.

The Rancho Mirage Police Department is facilitating this program because we believe more engaged neighborhoods can create stronger communities and a stronger city. Nextdoor is one way to help create a stronger and safer community for those that live and work here. Nextdoor is also another tool for us to effectively share crime prevention and safety information, such as alerts of property crimes in their area or suspicious activity. The Nextdoor program can be expanded to incorporate other city departments as well.

The neighborhood areas in Rancho Mirage have already been mapped into the Nextdoor website and two of them, Magnesia Falls Cove and The Springs are already up and running on Nextdoor. We encourage residents in these and in other Rancho Mirage neighborhoods to go to www.nextdoor.com to learn more and to sign up. If you have questions about Nextdoor, please contact Lt. Pete Ortiz at (760) 836-1600, or Community Service Officer Codi Mix at (760) 770-3200, ext. 192.

So, it's like a Facebook thing, but just for your neighborhood. The only police involvement is that the police can broadcast a message to your neighborhood network, but the police can't access the contents of your neighborhood network to find out who the people are or what they're talking about. Also, the police are not involved in any kind of screening of those people who join the neighborhood network, so all the usual rules of being careful on the internet apply.

I took a brief look at NextDoor.com and it said that I could set up a neighborhood network for my neighborhood, but I didn't start anything. I imagine some close-knit neighborhoods in DHS could benefit from this. I don't know what it would take to permit our police to broadcast notices to these networks.

Filed under Coachella Valley,Web/Tech | permalink | June 13, 2012 at 02:07 PM

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