The following story caught my eye Thursday, not because of police using social media to communicate with citizens but because newspapers could be doing the same, with relative ease.
Two or three years ago, Madisonville Messenger publisher Rick Welch told me about Nextdoor.com and how his Hopkin County daily was using Nextdoor.com to keep up with news in the area.
So I set up a Nextdoor.com website for the Cherry Blossom subdivision area in Georgetown. And while the news isn’t constant, there are numerous potential leads for stories or stories themselves.
In larger areas, you’d probably have to have staff members set up Nextdoor accounts since you have to live in the area you set up with Nextdoor.com. But as I recall, in setting up the neighborhood, you determine the boundaries by using a map.
In smaller communities, you could probably delineate the entire town, or most of it. You then invite residents to become a member and start sharing news of every kind — break-ins, robberies, plus good news about residents. There are even opportunities for the ad sales staff to contact neighbors about items for sale and neighborhood yard sales.
As you can see from the story below, some 200 neighborhoods in Fayette County have a Nextdoor.com website so the potential is great there to keep up with news or leads for story ideas all across the county.
The Nextdoor Cherry Blossom, which includes the largest voting precinct in Scott County, is approaching 200 resident members so you can imagine news-sharing and such announcements are pretty constant.
I mentioned this in On Second Thought a couple of years ago and have been meaning to mention it recently. But until I saw Morgan Eads’ article in Thursday’s Herald-Leader I had forgotten to bring it up again.
BY MORGAN EADS, Lexington Herald-Leader
The Lexington Police Department has partnered with social networking website Nextdoor in hopes of improving communication between the department and Lexington neighborhoods.
Nextdoor is a website that lets neighborhoods set up private pages for sharing community events, activities and safety concerns. The department will use the website to share neighborhood-specific information including safety tips, crime alerts and notifications about when officers will attend local neighborhood association meetings, police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said.
“The Lexington Police Department is always looking for innovative and resourceful ways we can connect with residents, and joining Nextdoor is just another way to further those efforts,” Police Chief Mark Barnard said.
More than 200 Lexington neighborhoods have active Nextdoor websites, according to police. The department hopes the partnership will increase safety in those areas and create a strengthened neighborhood watch.
“Communication is essential to community policing and building strong relationships across Lexington,” Barnard said in the release. “Nextdoor gives neighbors an easy way to get to know each other and send important information to officers, who can then respond to any issues or problems residents are seeing.”
The police department will not be able to see any information users share on the website unless it is sent or forwarded to them directly, Angel said.
Since the partnership launched Tuesday night, the reception has been positive, Angel said. So far there have been several requests for service made through the website.
To access a Nextdoor page, residents must go to Nextdoor.com and verify they live in the neighborhood they are trying to join.