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Salt Lake City Hopes Social App "Nextdoor" Will Make Neighborhoods Safer, Neighbors More Involved


Social media is getting civic in Salt Lake City. Nextdoor is a free private social network that gets neighbors communicating with each other about local issues. Now, Salt Lake City is partnering with the company to join the conversation.

You may have seen ads on Facebook to join Nextdoor. In fact, you may be living in one of 72 Salt Lake City neighborhoods already using the social network to find lost pets, alert neighbors of a string of break-ins or chat about a community garden. Clayton Scrivner is Salt Lake City’s Civic Engagement manager. He says Salt Lake City will now use the tool to promote community engagement and increase public safety.

“You can drill down and convey a message that you just want to get people on a specific block to get involved on an issue,” Scrivner says. “We have the capability of sending messages city wide, or on a single side of the street.”

The city already has Open City Hall,  which allows residents to weigh in on relevant topics, like recycling, golf courses and the city budget.  The SLC Mobile app also allows residents to report things like potholes and burned out streetlights directly to the correct city department.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown says Nextdoor will help residents participate in what is essentially a virtual neighborhood watch.

“Nextdoor gives us a direct line of communication to residents about important updates,” Brown says. “We see this as a great opportunity to put out seasonal public service announcements, to talk about hot spots, crime trends and issues, things that we’re looking for. We also believe that neighbors who know each other look out for each other.”

Nextdoor will remain private to only verified residents. The city will not be able to access any information shared among neighbors. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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