Virtual neighborhood watch gains popularity in Fresno

A new tool for families in Fresno is gaining popularity. It's a way to connect with your neighbors to share information about everything from crime trends to babysitter recommendations.
November 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A new tool for families in Fresno is gaining popularity. It's a way to connect with your neighbors to share information about everything from crime trends to babysitter recommendations.

A neighborhood in Southeast Fresno is where Kasie Ferrare formed a neighborhood watch group several years ago. Nowadays, meetings have been replaced by internet postings about what's going on in the neighborhood. The website is available 24 hours a day, for free. By the growing number of neighbors logging on, many are finding it's easy and convenient to be informed.

"If someone is shooting off fireworks at 2 in the morning, which we have an issue with that sometimes, we'll post it. Try to figure out who it is, pinpoint the neighbor," said Ferrare. "If somebody is having a loud party, and it's really good too if you are having a loud party. A lot of people get on their and say hey, I'm going to have a party- if i am too loud, let me know."

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer says nextdoor.com is a great way for officers to also notify neighbors about concerning trends, like car break ins. Officers will also be able to provide pertinent information to one specific area immediately. If the police helicopter is searching for a suspect or there's a ground search, neighbors can be told to stay inside.

Dyer said, "What we can do in advance of that or at the same time- we can send out an alert to all those neighbors within that particular neighborhood and let them know why we are there in the first place and what they can do to be on the lookout."

Last month, Kristine Walter used nextdoor.com when her neighbor died to let other neighbors know what happened and how they could reach out to the family.

"so this program serves a variety of purposes and it is unifying our neighbors," said Walter. "We're currently 110 strong and were looking to add another 50 to our site."

The websites co-founder says the site is also a place to post community events or services, but only neighbors who live near you can join in the conversation or post.

In order to be part of a group you have to be verified as living in that area. And although police can post, they are not able to see what neighbors are discussing.


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