RENO, NV - From shopping to dating, everything is going online. Some would say that's causing us to lose a sense of community, but the latest online trend proves the opposite. Internet based crime watch sites are reuniting neighbors.
Statistics show one of the most effective ways to stop crime and find out what's happening around your home is participating in Neighborhood Watch. However, we no longer live in a 9-5 world. For most families the schedule is filled with work, school and other activities. There just isn't time for one more meeting. That's why you're seeing more and more concerned neighbors turn to the internet for help.
There are a number of sites that will let you set up an online. Just like actual Neighborhood Watch meetings participation is key, and in our area www.alertid.com is the most popular site. Signing up is free and easy. Just enter your address, choose a password and you're set. You'll instantly have access to information about crimes in your area. You can choose to receive alerts by text or email. Friends and family may also be added to your account so they will get the alerts too.
Nextdoor.com is a little more secure, requiring verification of your address before your account is activated. This site allows you to chat with neighbors as a group or individually, It also has an index for other information such as lost & found and classifieds.
For security reasons these sites limit the size of your neighborhood, which is a challenge for rural areas. “We have a little bit of a problem with AlertID because they have a 3 mile radius,” says Sandy McGill. “That's the maximum radius. Well out here, that's maybe 10 houses.” McGill lives in Rancho Haven. She checks AlertID for crime statistics, but she also uses an email blast to securely communicate with more than 200 neighbors. She says the virtual Neighborhood Watch effort has helped cut crime. “We’ll have a small spate of break-ins, but as soon as people start getting aware the break-ins usually stop.”
The Washoe County Sheriff’s office is providing even more options for residents. They now have a phone app that allowing you to file a report wherever you are. Their site also offers even more localized advice for keeping your home and family safe.
Find out which watch page works best for your neighborhood by checking out the links below.