CHESAPEAKE -- A new social networking site is helping to fight crimes in neighborhoods.
Nextdoor.com was created as a private social networking site to connect people who live in the same neighborhood.
A popular feature is the virtual neighborhood watch, which allows families to send crime alert text messages to their neighbors.
Officer Trey Beveridge says he logged on to help prevent more burglaries in Western Branch. He was able to warn families and ask them to report suspicious activity.
To join the site, you must log in with your name and address. You'll need to verify you live in the neighborhood with your credit card, or have the company send you a postcard in the mail that you then verify you have received.
As for security concerns, nothing on nextdoor.com can be indexed through Google. You also have to be part of the neighborhood group to see anything about users. If you don't want others to see your numeric address, you can just write your street name. Additionally, the site has uploaded 50 different sex offender databases - people listed in them won't be able to join.
Chesapeake Police have been using the tool for more than a year. In January 2013, Virginia Beach Police signed up.
"With each neighborhood and citizen that signs on to use nextdoor.com, that community has an extra set of eyes and ears on the lookout for suspicious persons and behavior. Since its beginning, the use of nextdoor.com has grown 400 percent and is still on the rise," officer Tonya Borman said.