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Niagara County residents can now meet, greet and share concerns with their neighbors in a new virtual reality service – www.nextdoor.com.

The free, online social network for neighborhoods is being offered in partnership with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

“In this day and age, it is vital for neighbors to come together and look out for one another. Nextdoor makes it easy for neighbors to establish a virtual neighborhood and combat crime,” said Sheriff James R. Voutour.

“Nextdoor will create a stronger and safer community.”

Nextdoor will be free for all county residents. Each neighborhood will have its own private, password-protected website, accessible only to residents of that neighborhood. Participating residents can use their website to get to know their neighbors, ask questions and exchange local advice and/or recommendations.

Nextdoor can be used to share information about neighborhood safety watches and other safety issues, or for local events, school activities, upcoming garage sales, lost pets and more. Information is managed by neighbors and is visible only to verified members. Posts are organized and archived for future reference.

The Sheriff’s Office will be able to use the site to post important information, such as crime updates, but will not be able to access resident websites or contact information. Residents also are unable to access information about neighborhoods other than their own.

In addition, Nextdoor does not share personal information.

Nextdoor is designed to make neighbors feel comfortable about sharing information with one another in order to build strong communities, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Niagara County has been mapped into different neighborhoods. Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address.

If Nextdoor is available in their area, they can immediately sign up.

If a Nextdoor website has not been established for their area, active and engaged neighbors are invited to apply to bring a Nextdoor website to their neighborhood.

email: nfischer@buffnews.com