Public safety dept. joins forces with social network app to keep neighborhoods safe

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – The Ohio Department of Public Safety is joining forces with a social networking app to help keep you safe.

The app is called Nextdoor, and neighborhoods across the country are using it to get in contact with each other for things such as finding a babysitter or learning about block parties.

But, as with any social network, you have to be careful about when and how you share personal information. Canfield police and residents both say the app has the potential to be great, but it also comes with some security risks.

So, ODPS is interested in how the app also helps keep tabs on communities — like finding out about car break-ins — to make sure its users are safe. ODPS says the partnership will help connect residents to their local law enforcement.

The Canfield Police Department says Nextdoor is a great idea, because programs such as neighborhood watches have always been a tremendous help for police. Through social media, neighborhood watches can become even more effectful.

“It’s a great idea for communities [and] residents alike to have a platform from which to communicate from, and then get the information to law enforcement so we can reply,” said Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci.

Berlin Township Board of Trustees member Denny Furman worries that people may share too much information, especially about their homes or day-to-day habits. He doesn’t see too much harm with the app as long as people don’t share too much of their personal information, like when they are going on vacation.

“It’s social media. It’s like having a fence and talking over the fence, if you can keep it that way,” he said.

Nextdoor is working with over 80 law enforcement and community groups throughout Ohio.

Colucci says using common sense on any social network goes far. Still, he doesn’t want this new program to turn neighbors into vigilantes.

“Allow your local police department to come out and handle the situation. We don’t want you to confront the suspect or you to contaminate a crime scene,” he said.

If you’re interested in finding out more or signing up for the app, visit Nextdoor.com for more information.