Olathe police use mobile app to alert neighborhoods about crimes

Olathe is first city in metro to use Nextdoor

OLATHE, Kan. - The Olathe Police Department has launched a new way to virtually connect with the 152 neighborhoods around the city.

The department is the first in the Kansas City metro area to join the Nextdoor mobile app, allowing them to privately communicate with specific neighborhoods about crimes or other matters.

"Let's say we have some sort operation going on where there's a large police presence,” Sgt. Bryan Hill said.

“We can certainly directly send information to that neighborhood saying ‘Hey, this is what's going on in your neighborhood if you could please stay inside well let you know when the situation’s resolved.’”

Hill thinks the app will be a good way to alert neighbors of vandals or suspects they need help finding.

Police can’t see a neighborhood’s post, but can only see the messages sent directly to them.

Tanya Fortman lives in a Kansas City neighborhood that’s been using the app for the past year.

“These days, neighbors don't talk to neighbors and I think that this kind of opens that portal up to that,” she said.

Recently, she received a text alerting her neighborhood about a car theft that occurred Thursday morning. She says those kinds of alerts serve as a good warning.

"You know, a lot of times my husband travels, you know, now that I know that something like this is happening in the neighborhood next to me I'm going to start locking both back gates which I have not been,” she said.

That’s the kind of convenience the Olathe Police Department hope will encourage their neighbors to join the online community.

“Our hope is that it will bring that neighborhood together and those neighborhoods will watch out for each other,” Hill said. 

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