Every day, we hear inspiring stories about how our police partners have collaborated with community members to make a positive impact and create happier and healthier neighborhoods. This year, Nextdoor is recognizing seven departments for the unique and inspiring ways they’ve used Nextdoor to improve their local communities.
Durham, NC Police Department
Just last week, the Durham Police Department used Nextdoor to locate an elderly man with dementia who had wandered from his assisted living facility. The police department used Nextdoor’s mapping tool to draw a radius around where the man could potentially be and posted an Urgent Alert to those neighborhoods. Within just 8 hours of the post, an observant neighbor who had seen the Durham Police Department’s post on Nextdoor recognized the man, who was walking near his house in the woods. The elderly man had a few bug bites after having spent the night in the woods, but was otherwise unharmed. The neighbor called the Durham Police Department and the man was safely returned home.
Edgewater, CO Police Department
In a great show of innovation, the Edgewater Police Department combined what they described as their “old” system, covering “Beats,”and their “new” system, Nextdoor, to create the Nextdoor Beat Cop System. The police department divided the city into beats and asked citizens to help name their Beats using the polling feature on Nextdoor. Residents chose “Colorado Mountain Animals” as their theme, resulting in the following beat names: Antelope, Bison, Coyote, Deer, Elk, Fox, Grizzly, and Hawk. The department then worked with Nextdoor’s Public Agencies team to match the neighborhoods to the new beat system, and officers were assigned to the different areas. Now, rather than physically walking the beat, officers are becoming well known and creating a positive relationship by communicating with their neighborhoods on Nextdoor.
Fairfax County, VA Police Department
The Fairfax County Police Department has used Nextdoor in a number of ways to improve safety in Fairfax County. Through sharing neighborhood watch training sessions via Nextdoor, they have seen the Neighborhood Watch participation increase exponentially, and crime decrease to an exceptionally low level. In fact, the Fairfax County Police Department recently arrested a serial burglar after an attentive neighbor, who had seen the police department’s warning about the burglar on Nextdoor, called in a report of a man lurking around his neighbor’s home. When the police arrived on scene, they arrested the man who they found to be connected to more than 7 home burglaries. The department has also used Nextdoor to promote the Exchange Zone, an area outside the Sully District Police Station that residents can use to make safe exchanges of goods found on sites like Craigslist.
Manatee County, FL Sheriff’s Office
One of the main focuses for Manatee County Sheriff’s Office this year was the development of public safety classes that sought to inform residents about topics such as what to do in the case of an active shooter, how to protect against identity theft, and tips on how to improve one’s personal safety. Traditional means of marketing had proven ineffective, so the department decided to try advertising the events on Nextdoor. Since then, the Sheriff’s Office has seen a large spike in attendance and now have a running waitlist for classes that are filled to capacity.
Montgomery, AL Police Department
After seeing several reports of vehicle thefts, the Montgomery Police Department initiated a new campaign called Remove it, Lock it, or Lose it, encouraging citizens to remove valuables from their vehicles to deter thefts. Corporal David Hicks promoted the campaign on Nextdoor, where he could easily reach neighbors affected by these crimes. As of April 22, 2017, vehicle theft occurrences were down 30.98% from last year’s numbers. The department has also seen success in promoting their Citizen’s Police Academy on Nextdoor, and received a record number of applications this year. This reflects the large increase in community participation that the police department has seen for community events.
Plano, TX Police Department
When a 7-year-old boy went missing late one evening, the Plano Police Department knew they needed the community’s help to locate the boy quickly. They posted an alert to seven Nextdoor neighborhoods within the vicinity of where the boy went missing to get the word out. The post mobilized the community, as dozen of neighbors took to the streets to help in the search. Miraculously, one neighbor – a mother herself – soon found the boy about half a mile from her house, hiding behind a building, scared and cold. The neighbor called 911, reported her location, and kept the child calm until officers arrived. She was later recognized at a special event hosted by the Police Chief and honored as a Citizen Hero. The Plano Police Department has continued to use Nextdoor to engage the community in the search for other missing persons with great success.
Renton, WA Police Department
The Renton Police Department is using Nextdoor in a way that humanizes the police department and fosters community engagement. One of the police department’s Community Program Coordinators dedicated time to discovering the best way to communicate with residents, and found that she received higher engagement on posts that were written as if she were communicating with friends. Her posts consistently get the most ‘Thanks’, and usually create an educational moment for residents. Her ability to personalize the situation compels residents to reach out and respond back, even with a simple ‘thank you’.
Do you have a story about how you’ve used Nextdoor in your neighborhood? Let us know.