Nextdoor app deters crime, helps neighbors stay in touch

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's the latest in neighborhood watch technology, and now the Columbus police department is suggesting that everyone should download it to their phones.

Rashmi Hudson found was the first to introduce the Nextdoor app to river crest. It's a new way to meet her neighbors and stay on top of what goes on in the subdivision.

It allows people who live in the neighborhood to post anything from requests for child care to information on community events and even crime alerts.

"If you're missing a pet- your dog or cat has run away, you can post that. You can post items for sale. But more importantly, if a crime happens, you can quickly post something, everyone's on alert, and they can be on the lookout," said Hudson.

Right now 23 neighborhoods in Columbus are using Nextdoor, and it has the endorsement of Columbus police chief, Ricky Boren.

So how do you make sure the people in your group actually do live near you?

Co-founder and CEO of Nextdoor, Nirav Tolia, said the app is equipped with tools and strict guidelines to keep unwanted visitors away.

"Every person on next door has to verify their address. So you know people you are talking to actually live in your neighborhood."

Addresses are verified either with a call to a landline, a post card sent to the address, or your local Nextdoor administrator vouching for knowing you personally.

The app features a map that shows users who is navigating the site. Firefighter, Derek Glover, said he's used the app to get important information to homeowners who would otherwise rely on the old knock at the door.

"It's another avenue we use to reach the people who don't have Facebook and twitter accounts," said glover.

Hudson says over half of the people in river crest have tapped into Nextdoor. Not only are they more aware of their surroundings but they say they've made a few new friends too.

The Nextdoor app has been around since 2011 and it's currently being used in 42,000 neighborhoods across the country. You can sign up on a computer or a phone and the app is free to download. Right now, there isn't any advertising and Nextdoor says it will never sell personal information.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.