30 New Neighborhoods, 1,000 Residents Sign on Since the City Joined 10 days ago!
The Boise Police Department has partnered with Nextdoor.com, a new social media tool to help share information and educate residents to improve public safety. Boise is the first city in the Northwest to join Nextdoor.com, the 137th city in the nation to do so.
“Neighbors who know each other, who communicate with each other and who communicate with their local police department make for safer neighborhoods,” said Deputy Chief William Bones.
“About 100 Boise neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor.com. We’re hearing from folks it’s time we joined in.”
The effort was launched January 16 with a visit by Nextdoor co-founder Sarah Leary. As of Jan 16, 2013, 101 Boise City neighborhoods had joined Nextdoor.com with approximately 3,824 members. Less than two weeks later, as of January 27, 130 neighborhoods have signed on including more than 4,800 members.
“With information and education, we see people taking an active role in working with us to ensure their safety. Almost daily, officers make arrests thanks to citizens who are alert to suspicious activity. We often hear people are taking steps to prevent crime thanks to advice they heard from an officer, learned through Neighborhood Watch or heard from the department through various media communications. Nextdoor will allow us to expand that communication to people who are interested and who value public safety,” said Deputy Chief Bones.
What is Nextdoor.com: Nextdoor.com is a private social media platform that neighbors use to communicate with each other. Nextdoor.com offers free, private neighborhood websites. By signing into Nextdoor, the Boise Police Department can send messages and alerts to targeted neighborhoods with information specific to their area. Members of Nextdoor opt in to receive department messages.
Virtual Neighborhood Watch: Boise has had a Neighborhood Watch program for 35 years, now totaling some 250 groups. The department hopes Nextdoor will allow neighbors to expand Neighborhood Watch through online communication between residents and the police department.
“Officers attend Neighborhood Watch meetings, we talk on the phone, we email, and now we’re providing very focused, neighborhood specific information via social media like Nextdoor,” said Deputy Chief Bones.
First Neighborhood Message: The Boise Police Department used outreach via Nextdoor.com for the first time January 22, 2014 just minutes after a man robbed a bank on West Franklin Road and North Orchard Street. The post went out directly to five neighborhoods with nearly 200 homes surrounding the Franklin and Orchard intersection and included a photo of the robbery suspect who was last seen riding away on a bicycle. A citizen tip called into police a short time later led to the suspect’s arrest that night.
"Getting the suspect identified so quickly was key in locating him and making this arrest," said Sgt. Mark Barnett of the Boise Police Violent Crimes Unit.
It’s unknown if the citizen who phoned in the tip saw the Nextdoor post or saw the photo released through other media, but it’s this type of citizen interaction that officers hope will increase through direct outreach via social media like Nextdoor.com.
About Nextdoor: Boise residents can create private neighborhood websites to share information, including neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, local services, and even lost pets. The City will be able to post information, such as important news, services, programs, free events, and emergency notifications to Nextdoor websites within the city.
Nextdoor is free for residents and the City. Each Boise neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website and the City will not be able to access residents’ websites, contact information, or content. All members must verify that they live within the neighborhood before joining Nextdoor. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by Google or other search engines.
Those interested in learning more or joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.com/boise and enter their address. If residents have questions about their Nextdoor website, please visit help.nextdoor.com.