Laguna Broadens its Online Services

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Laguna Beach hopes to improve customer service as well as fight crime with two new technology initiatives announced this week.

To foster neighbor-to-neighbor communications as well as disaster preparedness, Laguna Beach’s police department has partnered with Nextdoor, a San Francisco-based online social network for neighborhoods established in 2010.

Laguna Beach’s 15 neighborhood sites will go live on Monday Sept. 16, said a statement from Jordan Villwock, a police dispatcher and the city’s emergency management coordinator.

In another citizen-oriented online push from City Hall, starting this week Laguna Beach invited citizens to submit questions, comments and requests using “City Hall Connect,” an online customer relations management system.

The online suggestion box is available from the city’s homepage: Submissions will be automatically routed to the appropriate city department and staff member and residents will also have the ability to track and review their current and previous submissions.

With Nextdoor, free to residents as well as the city, police hope residents can use their website to exchange local advice and recommendations.

During the 2010 flooding, for instance, the websites would have helped disseminate specific disaster information, Villwock said. In neighborhoods experiencing a rash of thefts, the site will permit police to post a reminder to residents to lock their doors and report suspicious individuals, he said.

Neighborhoods establish and self-manage their own Nextdoor website, Villwock’s statement said. Information shared on Nextdoor is only visible to verified members. Police will be able to post important information, such as crime updates or disaster preparedness tips, but not be able to access the resident’s websites, contact information, or content, Villwock said. “The city can only post information in these neighborhoods and cannot view the neighborhood discussions,” he said.

Members must verify that they live within the neighborhood. Information shared on Nextdoor is password protected and cannot be accessed by those outside the neighborhood or on search engines, says a statement.

Those interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit and enter their address.

Questions should be directed to community services officer Nikie Hernandez, [email protected], or 949-497-0382.


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