GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville police are using innovative ways to reach out to the community through the Nextdoor app.
That app began with neighbors telling each other what was happening in their neighborhoods.
“It’s real time, and it’s relevant, and it’s a great way to be able to share information with your neighbors,” said Yvonne Reeder, who lives in Nicholtown and uses the app.
A few years ago, the app started allowing law enforcement to post updates as well.
Police can’t see what neighbors are discussing on the threads, but they can push out alerts if they know something is going on nearby.
“It’s crime prevention,” Greenville Police Officer Michelle Lentz said. “It’s victim information. It’s stuff to keep people safe.”
Lentz has been using Nextdoor for two years. This month, Lentz was recognized nationally for her community engagement on the app. She was one of 35 law enforcement app users across the country chosen to be honored.
“A result of us engaging and interacting with the communities, and the communities interacting back with us,” Lentz said.
Community members are fond of the app. Yvonne Reeder lives in the Nicholtown neighborhood and says she checks the app daily.
“Keep us abreast of what crimes are being committed, about locking your car doors, if there’s a strange person in the community,” Reeder said.
Lentz says she’ll post things like scam alerts, but she also uses it for education.
“We’ve talked about golf cart laws,” Lentz said. “We’ve talked about bicycle laws. We’ve talked about courtesy for runners and pedestrian.”
Lentz says she believes the app also encourages people to interact with law enforcement.
“It really connects us to the community, and gives people a way to contact the police department for something that they wouldn’t normally call the police about,” Lentz said.
She says she often gets inbox messages with people who have concerns or questions that aren’t necessarily emergencies that she’s able to answer.
She says there have been times when people will discuss crimes that happen but don’t make a report. Lentz says neighbors can make her aware of an issue on the app, but they need to call the police department to report the actual crime because she can’t take reports over the app.