People living in the Scioto Run subdivision of Hilliard are wasting no time setting up their own cyber blockwatch, as CrimeTracker 10's Angela An reports.
In March 2014, Hilliard Police reported five break-ins along Hickory Hill Drive, Darby Glen Blvd., Shinestone Way, and Scioto Run Blvd., which had two burglaries on the same day.
"They knocked and when no one answered, they went around the back and kicked in the back door," said Carrie, a mother of two who lives along Scioto Run Blvd.
She says the burglaries raised concern for her after living in the community for eight years.
"We've all encouraged each other to become nosy neighbors again and not to be afraid to be that nosy neighbor," says Carrie. "When something just doesn't quite look right, it's important for us to communicate with each other."
Barely a week after Hilliard Police issued a crime alert for the burglaries, Carrie started a neighborhood page on the website called NextDoor.com. It's a free service for people who want to build stronger and safer neighborhoods through more private communication.
"We have 267 houses in the neighborhood and we're not all going to know each other. However, with everyone in the neighborhood, we almost have 300 members for the website," says Carrie, who explained that some households will register more than one member. But she says very few homes have yet to sign on.
As members of NextDoor, residents can post about everything from crime alerts to strangers in the area. Some post about job openings, babysitting opportunities and yard sales.
Carrie says what she likes best about next door versus other social media sites is that outsiders can't peek in on what they're posting.
According to NextDoor representatives, every neighbor must verify home address to ensure that they do in fact live in that neighborhood.
This can be done using one of three methods of the new member's choosing:
1. Postcard with unique code sent to home address
2. Phone call to a listed number registered to home address
3. Credit card billing address which matches the home address.
And because crime knows no boundaries, members can send alerts to nearby neighborhoods that are also registered in NextDoor's database.
"We've gotten to know each other better, promote neighborhood activities, and really the web has become a cyber blockwatch for us," said Carrie