SCOTTSDALE, AZ - It is a website that is meant to provide referrals and contacts within a very specific neighborhood boundary.
It is also starting to become part of a crime fighting tool for some neighborhoods.
Gene Montemore of McCormick Ranch signed up for
NextDoor.com as a way of making contacts within the neighborhood.
Since he launched it about a year ago, the neighborhood network has doubled, and he is finding that it has become an effective tool for preventing crime.
"If there is a car that is broken into I know about it now," he said.
The site has become, in addition to its other services, a "virtual neighborhood watch" of sorts.
Once someone signs up, they are automatically connected to people in the boundaries of their neighborhood.
There is an approval process that prevents people from outside the community from joining.
Montemore recalls a string of petty and not so petty crime over the past year. He had all of his patio furniture stolen and a neighbor a few blocks away was the victim of a violent home invasion.
"We are more aware," he said. "We'll see an alert here and then we'll end up talking about it."
Montemore said he has met many neighbors through the site that he otherwise would not have, and it has created a more social environment in the neighborhood that he feels has helped deter some criminal activities.