Waterloo neighbors use app as neighborhood watch after string of - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo neighbors use app as neighborhood watch after string of break-ins

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Neighbors in one Waterloo neighborhood are taking matters into their own hands, after a string of recent car break-ins. Using the app Nextdoor, neighbors are sharing anything suspicious they see to help police catch the suspects. 

Over the weekend, Waterloo police received several reports of neighbors along Monticello avenue who had either spotted the thieves breaking into their cars, or later came to realize something was missing. The string of break-ins has what they describe as a rather "quiet" neighborhood on high alert. 

Azra Rizvic, who lives along Monticello Avenue, says her friend's car, which was parked outside her home, was broken into Saturday night. 

"They had taken one of our brick pavers and thrown it into their car window," said Rizvic. "Broke that all up, got into their vehicle and stole some personal items like a purse, wallet, possibly some cash."

Rizvic, who moved into the neighborhood less than a month ago, was surprised to see the crime in the area. 

"It's unfortunate that something like this happened, but we'll definitely be investing in some security system surveillance.  So, hopefully, something like this doesn't happen again, but you definitely want to be prepared," said Rizvic. 

Another neighbor says she caught the thieves inside her car late Saturday night. Now she and others are using the app Nextdoor to help keep each other in the loop of any suspicious activity they see. Renee Strottman, who lives across the street from Rizvic, says she checks the app about ten times a day.

"You just never knew all these little things were happening until I went to this app and saw all these different crimes that were being committed," said Strottman.

The app, among other things, has a crime and safety section, which allows neighbors to connect with each other, sharing any suspicious activity they see. 

"Somebody said they took a whole bunch of other stuff, like a laptop, but then left the cash in the vehicle," said Strottman. 

Neighbors along Monticello Avenue are hoping this new form of neighborhood watch will help police catch the thieves. 

"I mean, I always lock mine religiously, but still, it's really scary," said Strottman. 

Police say there have been a number of break-ins and thefts reported the past few weeks in the Pinehurst neighborhood, and nearby neighborhoods like Kingsley, Church Row and Liberty Park, just to name a few.  Hundreds of residents of multiple Waterloo neighborhoods use the Nextdoor app regularly.

Waterloo police are still investigating and are not certain if this string is connected with a recent rash of kids on bikes committing crimes around the city.

If you'd like to connect with your neighbors to stay up-to-date on what's happening in your neighborhood, you can download the free Nextdoor app and search for your neighborhood.  

If you have any information as to who is responsible for these thefts and break-ins, please call Waterloo police. 

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