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The rise of social media has affected society at every level. Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. The utility and purpose of social networking is constantly evolving.
A new social network called Nextdoor is taking the neighborhood watch associations to a new level by connecting neighbors for the purpose of fighting crime, in addition to sharing other relevant information.
According to the Nextdoor site, it is a free, private social networking site that strives to protect you and your neighbors by sharing useful information. Think of it as having the usability of Craigslist, but only for sharing police tips, local messages within your neighborhood and pertinent safety information.
Approximately 20% of current Nextdoor posts focus on crime and safety. However, there will be a continued emphasis on combating crime and preserving safety thanks to $21.6 million in funding raised by Greylock partners.
A recent research report from the Pew Data Institute indicates that 30% of people in America don’t know any of their neighbors.
Founder and CEO Nirav Tolia explained that the purpose of Nextdoor is to bring people together, and to create safer neighborhoods. “We are helping neighbors help themselves when it comes to crime and safety.”
Police departments across the country are also partnering with Nextdoor to better ensure neighborhood safety. In Denver, Colorado, the Denver Police Department partnered with site for the purpose of delivering crime and safety information to residents.
The Nextdoor site is enabling cops to make highly targeted informational disclosures, essentially turning the tables on criminals who have been privy to sophisticated technologies that have aided in meticulously planning crimes such as residential home break-ins.
WIRED magazine further indicates that the service could potentially help police departments reduce crime rates, through fostering deeper relationships amongst law enforcement and neighborhood communities.
Although police will be able to publish announcements and information on the site, they will not be able to access residents’ contact information or neighborhood message postings.
While the service aims to connect neighbors and enhance safety, privacy is also part of its primary mission. Before you can view or post messages on the site, you have to prove that you actually live in the neighborhood by answering a phone call or receiving a special code through the mail.
Additionally, no information on the site can be indexed by Google.
The site has the potential to unify and inform neighborhood residents of helpful information, if enough people become users.
However, in light of privacy concerns, perhaps it runs the risk of being a new tool for sophisticated criminals to use in harmful ways – or for current users to start crime by utilizing information they’ve learned from the site.
What do you think – a useful new tool to keep neighborhoods safe or a potential risk that might door more harm than good?