Police and neighbors join forces using new social network to mon - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Police and neighbors join forces using new social network to monitor crime

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A new social network created just for your neighborhood could help catch criminals and local law enforcement is taking notice.

The Chattanooga Police Department announced a partnership with Nextdoor Tuesday to communicate with residents and facilitate a virtual neighborhood watch.

"I think it helps draw people's eyes to the front of the street and I think that that's very valuable," said Carla Askonas with the Stuart Heights Neighborhood Association. "People post urgent alerts and say: I just arrived home and found my front door had been kicked in and has been burgled.."

Already more than 65 Chattanooga neighborhoods use Nextdoor. Belvoir has 481 members, Missionary Ridge has 268 members and Stuary Heights has 331 members.

GET THE APP | iPhone App Store - Google Play Store - Nextdoor website

"I've been a police officer for a long time and have rarely if ever seen 331 people at a community meeting," said Police Chief Fred Fletcher. "But through a tool like Nextdoor, we can send a message: packages are being stolen, please check between 1 and 4 on your front porch."

Fletcher says Nextdoor shouldn't take the place of calling 911 but thinks it will become another avenue for two-way communication between police and the community with the goal of building long-term relationships.

Police will be able to share information with Nextdoor members, such as crime alerts, emergency notifications, safety precautions and tips, details for events and crime watch meetings.

Users don't just talk about crime. Topics of discussion range from local events to babysitter recommendations to lost pets. Breakdown of conversations on Nextdoor: 7% events, 8% lost & found, 8% free items, 16% crime and safety, 19% classifieds, 26% recommendations, 16% other. 

Nextdoor is free, but members must first verify that they live within the neighborhood they attempt to join online. 

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