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NCCo. Police partner with social network Nextdoor

Kelsey Grady


Fighting crime in the digital age means taking police work online, and the New Castle County Police Department has found a new way to do that.


The department has teamed up with the social network Nextdoor to help curb crime and build relationships.

If you’re unfamiliar with Nextdoor, here's how the company’s senior city strategist, Joseph Porcelli, describes it:


“Nextdoor is the free and private social network for neighborhoods that’s used in 118,000 neighborhoods across the United States. That’s about 70 percent of neighborhoods,” Porcelli said. 


There are 300 neighborhoods in New Castle County alone using Nextdoor. Each of these communities is a private group that’s only accessible to verified neighbors.


With this new partnership, the New Castle County Police will have permission to post in any of these groups, so they can warn you if a neighbor’s house has been broken into or if a nearby car has been stolen.


“So they’re able to specifically target and share information with neighbors that matter to them in their neighborhood," Porcelli said. 


There’s no data to show that using Nextdoor decreases crime, but Porcelli said communities that use the network are more likely to catch criminals.


“There’s lots of different stories of neighbors working together and working with the police that have led to arrests.”


If you're worried about police presence on Nextdoor, Porcelli said you have nothing to fear. Law enforcement can only post to the site. They won’t be able to view conversations among members.


"But they can see if you thank them or if you start a conversation with them," Porcelli said. 


And the police department is hoping that will help people get to know their neighborhood officer, almost like a friend on Facebook … or in real life.  



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