CINCINNATI - When Cincinnati police Capt. Doug Wiesman learned about Nextdoor.com, he thought it was a great tool to foster better communication between the city and its residents.
“I was very vocal about trying to make sure we did this,” Wiesman said following a press conference announcing the city’s integration into Nextdoor.com . “I thought it would be great to coordinate and organize so the police department can be inside the conversation.”
Nextdoor is a free social media network created to help neighbors connect about what’s going on where they live. Each of the city’s 52 neighborhoods will have its own private Nextdoor website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Residents can post about anything related to their neighborhood, from upcoming events to information about lost pets.
But now, the city and the police are getting involved.
Police district commanders and neighborhood liaison officers will now be able to post neighborhood-specific public safety information, and as Wiesman and Interim Chief Paul Humphries said, the new tool helps make the police department more efficient.
“Occasionally, the police department might post, ‘If you live on Stratford (Avenue in University Heights), we’ve been having a series of car break-ins over there, mostly between 1 and 3 a.m.’” said Wiesman, who is commander of the human resources section, which oversees training and tactical coordination units.
Police will not be able to monitor posts individual residents publish on neighborhood websites. The police Nextdoor page is separate from neighborhood pages.
"This is not a tool that replaces 911, but what residents could do is alert us on our page,” Wiesman said.
An iPhone app for the service launched last month, and an Android version is in the works, said Robbie Turner, Nextdoor.com’s senior city strategist.
Approximately 2,000 residents have signed up for Nextdoor.com. The Clifton neighborhood site was launched in September and more 750 people have signed up.
“Nextdoor has helped our community alert each other about crime, lost pets, upcoming events and festivities,” said Mindi Rich, a Clifton resident. “Most importantly, Nextdoor has enabled neighbors to actually meet each other."
Learn more about Nextdoor.com by reading WCPO Digital Community Manager Libby Cunningham's report at http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_news/Nextdoorcom-New-social-media-platform-letsTri-State-neighbors-connect-online-and-in-real-life