Neighborhood watch still active 36 years later

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln Police Department started neighborhood watch in 1981, and it changed over the years.

With 425 active group coordinators across Lincoln, the program empower people to watch out for each other.

"We have some people who've been doing this for years and years and years," said Officer Cassie Nissen with LPD's community services unit.

She added, "we have people that will move to a different neighborhood and after doing it for a while in a different neighborhood and think oh we need to get this started here."

According to LPD, although they can not prevent all crimes, the neighborhood watch groups learned to deter criminals by being organized, observant, and reporting crime to police.

"We talk about reducing opportunities for somebody to commit a crime.That's what our common theme is. This is what you can do to prevent crimes happening in your area," she continued.

LPD expanded the neighborhood watch initiative to the internet by using Nextdoor, a community-specific website where you can chat with your neighbors about what is happening in your community.

When LPD first got started on Nextdoor, there were only about 10,000 users in Lincoln. That number more than doubled to about 22,000 users.

People like Nate Blum, who started a neighborhood watch group for his block in 2011, wanted to know his neighbors.

"Just scheduled a meeting and invited neighbors to come to it," said Nate Blum.

"From there, it was just really about talking to the neighbors, seeing if there was interest and building an organization around that," he added.

Within a few years, Blum's group eventually grew into a neighborhood association with more than 1000 members.

"Really just communicating with each other. Once you get to know your neighbors you know what's normal for them, and when you know that you can spot what's out of place," he said.