Alabaster police tout Nextdoor social media site

Published 10:09 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Alabaster Police Department is encouraging all residents in the city to use the Nextdoor social media site. (Contributed)

The Alabaster Police Department is encouraging all residents in the city to use the Nextdoor social media site. (Contributed)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The Alabaster Police Department is looking to build another way to distribute information to residents while helping the city’s neighborhoods become safer by partnering with a new social media service.

On May 16, the department announced a partnership with the social network website, which is designed to foster interaction between neighbors in cities across the nation.

“We know we are unable to solve crimes solely within law enforcement. It’s always with the help of a key piece of information from the public,” Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said. “This is another tool we hope to be able to use so a citizen can provide us with that critical piece of information.”

Nextdoor is a secure social media website aimed at individual neighborhoods. To access the website, users first must become verified by using one of many methods, such as verifying portions of financial or personal records, using a service called LexusNexis or by entering a code on a postcard mailed to the address.

Registered sex offenders are prohibited from using Nextdoor. Users do not have to list their exact address, and can choose which information they share publicly through the site.

Once a user is registered, they can join an online message board for their neighborhood, and can share information with their neighbors on the site. In addition to the website, Nextdoor is also available as an app on iOS and Android devices.

APD Community Relations Officer John St. Pierre said the department is encouraging all Alabaster residents to use the site because it helps neighbors get to know each other, and it can help enhance safety in the city.

While APD can not view private posts in the neighborhood groups or users’ information, it can send out alerts to a neighborhood or multiple neighborhoods, St. Pierre said.

“APD doesn’t have access to private posts on pages. We can only see posts we make and responses to those posts,” St. Pierre said. “They did that in an effort to maintain privacy.”

Like the APD’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, Rigney said the department will not constantly monitor Nextdoor.

“One thing we really want to emphasize is for people to still call us if they need us. We won’t be able to monitor (Nextdoor) 24/7,” Rigney said, requesting residents to call 911 for emergencies and 663-7401 for non-emergencies.