Neighborhood watch moving into digital age in Dubuque
Written by Lauren DeWitt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -
Neighborhood watch groups have virtually disappeared in Dubuque, according to officials with the Dubuque Police Department.
But members of the police department are hopeful a website will help neighbors connect and have each other's backs.
The website is called Nextdoor.com. It is a site that allows neighbors to connect with each other and share information.
"If someone loses a pet or has another issue, they can post it on the website -- only your own neighbors can see," said Katie Lydon, a member of the website.
Lt. Scott Baxter with the Dubuque Police Department said the police department has been encouraging members of the Dubuque community to join the website for a couple of years.
"We still like to see that interaction between neighbors face-to-face when they are out talking while they are doing yard work," Lt. Baxter said. "But we realize in today's day and age, everyone at least thinks they are very busy and don't have time for that type of communication.
"This is something a little bit more modern and technologically advanced, which hopefully will help people communicate with one another --even if it is just electronically," he added.
Kate Lydon recently joined Nextdoor.com. On Thursday afternoon, she passed out flyers in her neighborhood encouraging others to join the website.
"I think it just offers a great safety net," Lydon said. "It's a way for us to watch each other's backs."
Baxter said the website could lower the crime rate in neighborhoods.
"There is no doubt that sites like this prevent crime," he said. "Any time that we can increase vigilance in neighborhoods, communications in the neighborhood, it's going to prevent crime."
Baxter said the Dubuque Police Department does have an account on the site. He said he hopes in the future the police department will be able to send messages to neighborhoods through the website.
"We want to be able to send a message city-wide to all the neighborhoods, but also reserve an option to single out specific neighborhoods if there is a problem in a specific neighborhood that maybe doesn't pertain to the other neighborhoods," Baxter said. "We would like to effectively communicate both ways."
Although the website is an effective tool in keeping in contact with neighbors, Baxter said he still encourages neighbors to have face-to-face conversations.
"I realize that is probably old-fashioned to some, but there is a lot that can be learned by talking to your neighbors," he said.
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