Smartphone app connects communities, deters crime in your neighb - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Smartphone app connects communities, deters crime in your neighborhood

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A smart phone app is helping homeowners deliver important information to the neighbors instantly. It's also become a slick crime fighting tool.

It's called Nextdoor.

Subdivisions are popping up everywhere. The environments create a sense of community, but homeowners aren't connecting the way they used to.

"In the old days it used to be you just walk down the street," David Barrow said.

Barrow is the president of the Morgan Place West Homeowners Association. He has found a new way to meet his neighbors and stay on top of what goes on in the subdivision. He does it from the palm of his hand, through a smart phone app called Nextdoor. 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.

"My next door neighbor caught someone breaking into vehicles a couple of weeks ago, late one night. It's good to be able to communicate and let people know something happened in the neighborhood. So you can check around your property to see if anything is missing from your property," Barrow said.

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

"Our most important priority was to create a safe environment for neighbors to connect. Every person on Nextdoor has to verify their address. So you know people you are talking to actually live in your neighborhood," Tolia said.

The app features a map that shows users who is navigating the site.

Firefighter, Derek Glover, said he has used the app to get important information to homeowners who would otherwise rely on a knock at the door.

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

Barrow said nearly half of his subdivision has tapped into Nextdoor. Not only are they more aware of their surroundings but, he said, they have made a few new friends too.

Nextdoor is free and available on most smart phones.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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