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HarrisInteractive.com

Nick McAnulty was fed up with crime in his neighborhood after his fiancee saw someone checking out her car late one night.

“(She) saw someone come onto our property and open her car door, look inside, saw our (security) camera and walk off,” McAnulty said.

That’s when he heard about Nextdoor, a social networking website that connects neighbors.

“My co-worker told me about it after we were talking about all the problems we have been having with the tweakers on our street,” he said.

Nextdoor is a free and private social network where neighbors create private websites for their neighborhoods where they can ask questions, get to know one another, and exchange local advice and recommendations, according to its website.

People across the United States are using Nextdoor to find babysitters, organize neighborhood yard sales, find lost pets and report suspicious activity.

“I was hoping to be able to create a stronger community, and create friendships with our neighbors so we can all work together and make our neighborhood safer,” McAnulty said.

The only concern he has about using Nextdoor is privacy safety, he said, but he feels better knowing everyone has to verify their address before they are allowed access to the neighborhood’s site.

According to a recent Twitter feed on the subject of Nextdoor, some users report the site is a place for their neighbors to complain, but stories on Nextdoor’s blog show that lives and neighborhoods can be changed for the better.

Users in Cleveland, Ohio, raised more than $10,000 in two weeks to buy a new heater for their neighbor, while another community in New Orleans banded together for a neighborhood clean up.

For Lebanon, McAnulty sees the site as a great central point of information for anything going on in a neighborhood, he said. It’s good for garage sales, lost and found, and reporting suspicious activity.

The Lebanon Police Department also got on board with Nextdoor.com as a way to provide alerts, news and other notifications for the community.

“This will provide a partnership that will enable the Lebanon Police Department to communicate with residents and help facilitate virtual neighborhood watch programs,” said Frank Stevenson, chief of police.

Stevenson believes Nextdoor can be beneficial for updating emergency situations, providing public safety tips and addressing specific neighborhood watch issues, he said.

Nextdoor is endorsed by the National Crime Prevention Association and partnered with National Night Out, Stevenson said. It not only gives Lebanon residents a place to share information with each other, but it helps empower them to keep their communities safe.

Contact Lebanon Express news writer Sarah Brown at 541-259-3125, or via email at Sarah.Brown@lee.net.

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