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October 21, 2014

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Increased safety through social media networking? NLV giving it a go

Imagine you're at home and you notice something suspicious going on in your neighborhood. So you get onto your computer and, with a few clicks of the mouse, send out a notice to the police and everyone in your community.

If you live in North Las Vegas, this could be you.

The North Las Vegas Police Department on Wednesday unveiled a partnership with Nextdoor, a social media website similar to Facebook, that allows neighborhood residents to communicate with each other on the fly.

After creating a free account, residents specify where they live and, if a group already exists for their neighborhood, they are automatically added to the network. Members can then share information with other people in their community. These can be friendly tips like recommending a gardener to warning about break-ins and helping police solve crimes in progress.

"It's to get more North Las Vegas residents involved as we move forward and try to make a safer community," said North Las Vegas Police spokesman Aaron Patty.

Nextdoor approached the North Las Vegas Police Department to form the partnership, Patty said. With the department's integration with the service, authorities can communicate with residents and vice-versa to have "more eyes in the neighborhood," he said.

The service features its own tool to organize a Neighborhood Watch, though Patty said the department still would provide the tools and education for residents interested in forming such a group the old-fashioned way. Neither will Nextdoor replace first responders in case of an emergency, he said.

The partnership went into effect Tuesday and, according to Patty, a few North Las Vegas communities already have created their own networks.

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