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Neighborhood Watch Groups Going Social

The Neighborhood Watch is not only your local gathering for neighbors, but now is an app, and Nextdoor helps communities get to know each other better. Two apps help people come together using technology.
More sites are figuring out ways to reach out to communities. The Neighborhood Watch is not only your local gathering for neighbors, but now is an app, and Nextdoor helps communities get to know each other better. Two apps help people come together using technology.

Our neighborhood -  it's where we eat, sleep, play and live.  So it's only natural that residents are turning to technology to make them safer, and friendlier.

Local Neighborhood Watch programs now have a new tool -- an app designed to help prevent crime

"You can report suspicious people, abandon vehicles or abandoned property," points out John Matthews, the Executive Director of the Community Safety Institute.
 
The app isn't for emergencies - 9-1-1 remains the best way to report crimes in progress.  But it does provide a direct line to law enforcement.

Technology is also connecting people who may be strangers, but they share an important bond - their neighborhood.

Nextdoor is yet another social network, but it differs from Facebook - it only connects you to your neighbors.

"It's really more about utility not social things," explains Nirav Tolia, the co-founder and CEO of Nextdoor.  "It's not about status updates and photo sharing.  It's about solving problems. Getting together with your neighbors to solve problems."

Most Nextdoor posts fall under recommendations.

Another popular post category -- crimes and safety--  account for about a fifth of all posts.

Bob Grant, a resident in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, is grateful to Nextdoor for a totally different reason - it helped him find his lost dog.
"They allowed me to send an urgent message to all of my immediate neighbors and a longer message with a photo of Tululu to the 19 neighborhoods around us."

A Nextdoor member spotted Tululu in a park two miles from where she went missing.  Nextdoor may be creating online communities, but it's proving to have very real offline benefits.



(Sumi Das,  CNET.com for CBS News)

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