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Neighborhood Watch Goes Online: New App Links Austin Neighbors

The days of lost dog posters and last-minute babysitter scrambles may be coming to a close.

Nextdoor is an app that connects neighbors via their smartphone to help organize neighborhood watches and community conversations. Over 200 neighborhoods in Austin have already signed up for the app, which is set to roll out this summer.

Members sign up and provide prove of residence through  a landline number, credit card billing address or by returning a piece of mail sent to your claimed address.

In Austin the site has activity in more than 262 Austin neighborhoods, according to Kelsey Grady of Nextdoor.

“We find that people just don’t roll in the welcome wagon every time someone moves in the neighborhood these days,” she said.

But Grady argued that neighborhood social networking sites like Nextdoor can actually restore lost relations and face-to-face communication in communities.

But at a time when, according to a Pew Research Poll, 28 percent of Americans don’t even know the name of their neighbors, some criticize the need to use technology over an old-fashioned knock on the door.

The Dallas Police Department partnered with neighborhoods using the app to help keep an eye on the city and start conversations about crime prevention and trends. Nextdoor currently also works with the Fort Worth police and 10 other departments in the Dallas/FortWorth area.

And Austin might be next. Although there have been no official announcements yet, Grady confirms that the APD has expressed interest in working with Nextdoor.

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