How Well Do You Know Your Neighbors? There’s An App For That

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DES MOINES, Iowa — How well do you know your neighbors? It’s no surprise the approach to get to know them is changing among generations.

Zearing residents, Jack and Darlene Roberts, have lived on the same street in the same house since June of 1969. Darlene says the two made friends with their neighbors the only way they knew how, the old-fashioned way.

“At Christmas time we used to have a party and we would invite them in to come over and bring cookies or whatever. That was a good way to get to know everybody,” she said.

Naturally the Roberts’ have aged along with everyone on the street and as new neighbors move in they are noticing a new trend.

“Everyone is just pent-up in their house when they get home from work. They make their supper and take care of the kids,” Darlene said.

But in a generation where people are too busy to introduce themselves face-to-face, there is alternative method.

There is an app for that.

An app called “Nextdoor” is designed to help connect and build safer and stronger communities. The tech-savvy approach allows neighbors to help keep an eye out for criminal activity, find a babysitter, plan garage sales or anything in between.

Des Moines Waterbury neighborhood resident, Melinda Berte said, “It makes you feel safe because you feel like people are looking out for one another and I think that’s the best tool that it is.”

The app works by people entering in their address and it connects them with others who live on or near the same street. Users receive notifications when a request or alert is made.

“In terms of communicating things you noticed in the area, it’s just so easy to just hop onto this site. The response time on this site is just crazy,” Melissa Stalvey said.

More than 100 Des Moines neighborhoods use the app. City leaders and law enforcement appreciate how the app promotes community growth and allows residents to become the eyes and ears of their area.


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