South Bend neighborhood using social media to help keep streets - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend neighborhood using social media to help keep streets safe

Police activity in the River Park Neighborhood put people there on edge, Monday.  One of the places people turned to immediately is a community Facebook page that alerts people about what's going on in the area.  Fred Greiner is the president of the River Park Neighborhood Association, and an administrator of the Facebook page. "The important thing is we get advanced notice of suspicious behavior. Or an occurrence such as the standoff this morning," says Greiner.

The page has more than 1,700 members and is a closed group. Greiner says people post what they're seeing near their homes, like suspicious behavior, to alert their neighbors. "Car break-ins, things like that. And the social media provides that information much faster than anything else," he says.

People who live in River Park, like Luann Gondocs, say they feel safer knowing the Facebook page is there. "If someone notices something, they post it.  You really stay in touch with your neighbors," she says.

It's not just crime neighbors are keeping an eye out for. They also post about everything from garage sales to lost pets. "I found a cute dog in the middle of winter and we found its owner. It was pretty great," says Gondocs.

Folks in River Park say they love where they live, and the neighborhood Facebook page is helping to keep their streets safe and their residents informed. "People in River Park like to look out for each other," says Greiner.

Just like anything else there are some challenges with running something online. Greiner says you have to keep your eye on some ill-mannered posters from time to time.  "Anything with the web, you have to be careful what you believe and what you don't, but that 'something happened' that's a fact and you get the instant notification through the Facebook page," says Greiner.

Other neighborhoods have Facebook pages, like the Near Northwest Neighborhood in South Bend. That page is not a closed group.

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