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Website is key for neighborhood's connection

DECATUR -- One man says it's not often something on his street goes wrong.
DECATUR -- One man says it's not often something on his street goes wrong. However, when it did, he knew, thanks to a community website.

"You get the word around very quickly that there's something wrong in the neighborhood," says Joe Darflinger.

The site is called www.nextdoor.com. It's a way for people in one community to connect through the web and it's a growing trend in town.

Facebook is a place to reach out to anybody, but while www.nextdoor.com is available all over the country, the only people you reach are in your neighborhood. Sometimes that's just enough.

"Word that you guys two suspicious characters were in the neighborhood got out very, very quickly," says Joe Darflinger about a news crews trolling around for interviews.

However, that isn't all he and his neighbors talk about. Now, they have the chance to talk about everything.

"I don't know everybody in the neighborhood, but I know quite a few people. We've come a little bit closer recently," says Darflinger.

The reason is a website where people can log in and talk to one another based on where they live. It's bringing one side of this large subdivision closer to the other.

"Already people are planning festivities for this summer in addition to a yard or rummage sale. In addition to that, they're all planning some kind of picnic," says Darflinger.

Even though it looks like paradise, life on Sims or Woodridge Drive isn't always a picnic. Last year they had a rash of car break-ins and just recently a domestic violence situation.

"You would see things on the street like crime tape, and you didn't understand what that was for, but by using the website, people got the word out of what that is and that we didn't have to worry," says Darflinger.

That's the whole point, making people aware. Studies show only 28% of people across the country even know who lives next door.

"I think its going to bring the neighbors closer together," says Darflinger.

The website started in 2011 and since then, 8,000 neighborhoods around the country are using it. It's completely free. All you need to log in is an address, credit card to match and phone number.
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