Fairfax County Police have started using the Nextdoor.com network as a means of communicating with Reston citizens.
Reston District Station Public Safety officer Katy Defoe said Thursday was the soft launch of Nextdoor for Public Agencies. FCPD will make a more formal announcement on the department-wide launch next month, she added.
Nextdoor is a free social network based on neighborhoods. You log into the app or nextdoor.com, and if there is community near you (there are several for Reston based on cluster, streets or other locators), you are invited to join.
Neighbors use it as a private network to sell things, warn about break-ins, report lost dogs and other hyperlocal goings-on.
Nextdoor.com says it has more than 77,000 communities online.
The network said last spring it was launching Nextdoor for Public Agencies as a way to help connect law enforcement with neighborhoods. With the app, FCPD can share crime updates, organize disaster plans, and coordinate events, among other uses.
Nextdoor says public safety agencies can only see their own posts and replies to these posts and will not be able to able to access or view any information on Nextdoor websites.
Defoe said in a note on some Reston communities that connecting with neighbors on Nextdoor will help “to make Fairfax County ever safer and stronger.”
She reiterated that FCPD will not be able to “access or view any information that neighbors have shared in your neighborhood.”
Defoe also said that Nextdoor is not the appropriate way to request emergency services, police services, report criminal or suspicious activity or file reports.
“If you require emergency services, please call 911. I will not be monitoring Nextdoor 24/7,” she wrote.