Civic News
Apps / Communities / Public safety / Social media

Neighbors take to app to warn about alleged sexual predator

Here's neighborhood-level social media site Nextdoor in action.

RBar's sandwich board. (Photo via Twitter)

Neighbors took to an app this weekend to warn each other about a potential sexual predator in the area.
Under the heading, “Sexual Predator,” Williamsburg bar RBar notified neighbors that there had been an incident had occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning on the corner of Humboldt and Engert Streets. Included in the post were photos of the alleged perpetrator.
But the way the bar got the word out was new. It wasn’t an effort to spread the word, or a group text to friends. The bar uploaded the message and what look like security camera footage to the app Nextdoor, a social network for individual neighborhoods.

Neighbors took to Nextdoor to warn of a potentially dangerous man. (Screenshot)

The rest of the bar’s post gave more detail:

She was alone. Her 2 block walk on Graham usually very quiet, just bad luck I guess. I’ve had to deal with our precinct dozens of times and they rarely do anything. She didn’t want to deal with them after being shaken up, can’t say I blame her. Just be aware, don’t wear headphones, just be careful out there!

Nextdoor appears to represent a new organization of the the types of things people in a neighborhood talk about. Through the app, the bar was able to report to its community the time place and photos of the alleged attacker more or less in real time. The post was uploaded to the North Brooklyn Community Facebook page the next morning, where it received a wider-still audience. What may have been known only in a print police report, or by word of mouth days later, was now a tangible and usable piece of information for people out in that area at that time.
Plenty of others have seen the use for this app as well. In March Nextdoor closed a funding round that brought its total raised to over $200 million and its valuation to over $1 billion. More than 100 people work for it in its headquarters in San Francisco.
“We created this company because we believe that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person’s life,” its website reads. “We hope that neighbors everywhere will use the Nextdoor platform to build stronger and safer neighborhoods around the world.”
The app requires you to use your real name and prove your address, either with a driver’s license or credit card number. You can download it here. Baltimore city government recently signed on to the service to post public works info to the site.

Series: Brooklyn

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