by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More and more Charlotte neighbors are joining Nextdoor.com. The social network lets them stay connected to each other and police.
Getting to know your neighbor has taken on a new meaning for Diane Prussing and nearly 12,000 Charlotte residents who are members of Nextdoor.com.
"It's important who your neighbors are. You don't have to best friends but to know who they are, it's wonderful it keeps us safer," Prussing said.
The free and private social network lets neighbors create websites where they can get to know each other and exchange information on everything from yard sales and lost pets to suspicious activity and crime trends.
Each Charlotte neighborhood has its own private website that is only accessible to verified residents of that neighborhood.
Prussing is using the site to let her neighbors know about a holiday party and canned food drive.
"I've met so many people because of the activities we've posted on here," she said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police launched its own Nextdoor site in September.
A Nextdoor spokesperson said at that time there were 247 nextdoor sites in Charlotte. Since CMPD joined, there are nearly 400.
Nextdoor stated 83 percent of neighborhoods in Charlotte have started Nextdoor websites, making it one of the more active cities in the country.
In comparison, Seattle is at 94 percent, Dallas is 80 percent and Chicago is around 65 percent.
Officer Ryan Botzenmayer said it's been a convenient and quick way get information to the public since it's also accessible through a mobile app.
Officers are being trained to create pages for their response areas.
"Time is limited for a lot of people and this helps with communicating I'm seeing more people use this than a regular neighborhood meeting in person," Botzenmayer said.
This week, Nextdoor launched a holiday lights map that allows neighbors share their holiday decorations with one another. Neighbors can mark their homes on a map with a holiday light icon and post photos with captions.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police will be using the site to help promote their annual Explorer Christmas Project, which helps to feed more than 700 families and provide gifts for nearly 2,000 kids for the holidays.
If you are interested in joining, sign up here.