CLEVELAND - In light of the Ariel Castro case, many are asking, "How well do you know your neighbors?" Well, there’s a new app that may help you get one step closer.
The app is called Nextdoor and has been out on the market for some time now. Wednesday, I caught up with two Nextdoor app users who live near the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland.
How many neighbors does Bohdan Chrobak know? “Mainly, a few houses this way and this way, and a couple across the street," he answered.
But Chrobak is actually connected to even more neighbors on the Nextdoor app. “It’s providing a tool for neighbors to get together to meet, to bring up topics that they may not ordinarily. You know, unless you’re going door-to-door to meet all your neighbors – it’s one: you’re introducing yourself to neighbors; two: you can bring up relevant issues.”
Nextdoor allows you to register your home address and sign-up to your neighborhood network, which then allows you to share things about your neighborhood or street with those also in your network. Those things include alerts about pot holes or any suspicious activity.
“I especially appreciate when there’s safety concerns and they put it on there,” said Marla Caserta after her street saw a rash of break-ins. Caserta is another Nextdoor app user who lives two houses down from Chrobak.
Caserta said she signed on after receiving an email invite from another. She doesn’t have an iPhone, but still logs on using the computer site while at work.
“I’m aware of more activity going on I think, is what I use it for,” said Caserta.
Even while we were speaking, Chrobak said he received a new alert, “Someone posted some information about some teenagers that were breaking into homes so that’s good, I haven’t checked that yet.”
He laughed when I asked him if Nextdoor.com was paying him to talk about the app and he said, “No,” telling NewsChannel5 he discovered the app while checking out a different website.
Nexdoor’s developers, based out of San Francisco, California, said Wednesday nearly 40 Cleveland-area neighborhoods are now using the app.
I signed-on myself to check it out. Interestingly, you do have to confirm your address to become a part of a neighborhood network, but you can change your privacy settings to not reveal your address.
When we asked Raymond Lucas, and older Cleveland resident, about his neighbors, he said he knows most of the folks who have been there for a while. For the newer families, though, he said, “Well, you've got to remember that they’re younger, so they’re of a different generation… I don’t think they’re quite as friendly as the older people were.”
Right now, the app is only available for the iPhone. Developers said they're working on an Android app, but in the mean time, you can try it for yourselves using a computer at Nextdoor.com .
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