Police team up with social network for virtual neighborhood watch

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) – In this world of technology, there’s more than just neighborhood watch groups.

Many neighborhoods, more than 320 in the greater Indianapolis area, have started a group on the social network site called Nextdoor.

In Westfield, the city and the police department are now getting on board. The city is just the third in Indiana to partner with the site, thus allowing the police department to send information directly to neighborhood residents in the form of an alert.

Lafayette and Cedar Lake in Lake County are the only other cities in Indiana to do so.

Sherrick started using Nextdoor in his Countryside neighborhood in Westfield a little more than a year ago. He says adding not just neighbors’ voices, but the police department to the conversation, is important.

“We’ll know right away if something important needs to be shared with the neighborhoods,” said Aaron Sherrick of Westfield. “A couple months ago, when the homicide happened in Westfield, I think having Nextdoor at that time would have been a pretty important tool to share what was going on.”

Sherrick says of 1,200 homes in his neighborhood, about 50 percent use the social network. It’s like a Facebook group, but it’s secure. You have to live in the neighborhood to log in. Sherrick says neighbors use it to talk not only about crime and safety, but also about anything that’s going on.

“Recently, it’s been about the coyotes,” Sherrick explained. “They’re saying, ‘hey, the coyotes are out, be aware of your small pets – or even bigger pets.’”

Right now, 24 neighborhoods in Westfield use Nextdoor, and the police department expects more to join.

If you would like to see if your neighborhood is on the site or to start a group, click here.

 

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