SANDY, Utah – Police in Sandy have launched a new, secure service via a website that allows residents to share information with their neighbors, and the topics cover everything from details about a barbecue to information regarding a crime.
Sgt. Dean Carriger of the Sandy City Police Department said the goal is to foster communication among neighbors.
'It’s like a scaled down Facebook, neighborhood Facebook type page, that is a secured site that has a little bit of oversight that just helps foster communication within neighborhoods,” he said.
The service is offered through nextdoor.com, and police officials said they hope it will open up new lines of communication between their department and residents as well as between neighbors.
“They say we have been drifting away from the face-to-face, hand-in-hand type thing with the newer generations to where this opens up a new avenue of communication,” Carriger said.
There are about 20 Sandy neighborhoods up and running so far, and there are another 13 in the start-up phase. Each neighborhood requires at least 10 participants in order to be active on the website. Users most go through a verification process before they can join a neighborhood on the website, and once online they can only see the information for that verified neighborhood.
Lee Stoddard, a neighborhood leader for Sego Lily, said they are glad to have the tool at their disposal.
“With the police department being able to post and receive messages from NextDoor.com, you can instantly access the police,” he said.
Stoddard has been an area leader with neighborhood watch for several years, and he said he thinks utilizing social media tools is a great idea since people are already using their phones regularly.
The tool increases safety and social opportunity, Stoddard said.
“The best part about it is you get to know your neighbors better,” Stoddard said. “You can get together and talk and walk around the neighborhood and feel safer because you know the people that live around you.”
The platform can be used by police to send messages like crime prevention tips or by neighbors to coordinate things like block parties and yard sales.
Police said nextdoor.com is not intended for emergencies, and Carriger said people should still call 911 in situations where immediate action is necessary.
To see if your neighborhood is among those where the service is offered, click here.