The Houston Police Department is kicking off a new partnership with a social media website designed to strengthen neighborhoods.
Nextdoor is a free, private social network for neighborhoods, and Houston police will participate in order to strengthen neighbor-to-neighbor communications.
Nextdoor allows people to communicate with their neighbors, and hopefully, fight crime in the process.
Nearly 400 Houston neighborhoods are already on the social media site, including Houston's Woodland Heights. The president of the Woodland Heights Civic Association, David Jordan, said about 750 of the neighborhoods households are represented on Nextdoor.
Jordan believes the participation is partly behind a decrease in crime over the last several months.
“People are able to share information and get to know each other in ways they never have before. We've reduced crime. We feel like we're safer and we share info now and we share info in a way we normally wouldn't be able to do," said Jordan.
Residents of Woodland Heights have been using the website for 18 months. Dona Gambrel said the website has allowed her to meet neighbors she otherwise wouldn't have.
"I wouldn't know someone three streets down. I just wouldn't have the opportunity to meet them," said Gambrel.
Through the new partnership with the Houston Police Department, community service officers and the department's social media coordinator will be able to share news and information that pertains specifically to individual neighborhoods.
HPD Chief Charles McClelland called the website an electronic neighborhood watch.
"We know we have to use technology to be more efficient and more effective when it comes to public safety and combating crime," said McClelland.
The creators of Nextdoor said they are working with other law enforcement agencies to create new partnerships.
Even if your community isn't participating, you can still log on to NextDoor.com to register your neighborhood.