GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bev Andrews is a no-nonsense take-charge kind of lady. Andrews heads up her neighborhood watch group, “We have people watching,” said Andrews.
Neighborhood watch programs are certainly not new, but Andrews is taking the concept to the internet. As the Old Starmount community watch coordinator Andrews relies on an App called Nextdoor, “It has all kinds of uses and fighting crime is one,” said Andrews.
As watch commander, you would think Andrews is out walking her neighborhood looking for anything suspicious but most of her “patrol time” is spent on the Nextdoor app keeping neighbors informed, “Communication is the key,” said Andrews.
Greensboro Police Officer Greg Kiser uses the app all the time. The patrol officer will often post information to alert neighbors in the area, “In one swoop it can let neighbors or police know what is going on,” said Officer Kiser.
Police can not only look on Nextdoor and see what neighbors are posting they can alert neighbors to what they see. In just seconds, police can notify everyone in the neighborhood that is connected to Nextdoor, “If we can get neighbors to buy into Nextdoor it is absolutely a game changer,” said Officer Kiser.
More than 700 neighbors in Andrews neighborhood are connected to Nextdoor and it has proven to be an effective tool. Andrews herself has notified police about a suspicious person in the community, “He was eventually caught,” said Andrews.
In one community a neighbor notified police about people living in a house that appeared to be dealing drugs out of the home, “Ultimately a search warrant was issued, four arrests were made, and narcotics were seized,” said Officer Kiser.
While the app has certainly proven effective police would just like to see neighbors communicating as to what’s going on in their neighborhood. Some people may not like the app and feel better with emails, Kiser says that’s fine as long as they are notifying each other and police.
Police can only do so much patrolling and can’t always be everywhere, neighbors have to do their part to keep their neighborhood safe, “They become our eyes and ears, like a force multiplier,” said Officer Kiser.