Social networking website is offering Goleta residents a forum to share information, publicize events and alert locals of suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

The online community watchdog requires all users to provide their real name and local address to verify neighborhood residency. Users are encouraged to “bring back a sense of community” and create personal profiles based on their interests for a communal directory.

Valerie Kushnerov, Public Information Officer for the city of Goleta, said the website offers a secure medium for Santa Barbara locals to interact.

“Nextdoor is a social network for neighborhoods, so it is very similar to Facebook and it is interfaced,” Kushnerov said. “You can post information and you can read information but it is a closed or private group because only people that live within a neighborhood can be part of it, so it is very safe and secure for you to share information in this forum.”

According to Kushnerov, the website mapped the city into 21 different neighborhoods and tested Nextdoor on seven of the sectors during a small group trial run earlier this year. Kushnerov said the website will help the city directly contact neighborhoods affected by public works projects like street paving and help with emergency response times.

Goleta resident Clara Van Meeuwen said Nextdoor offers a unique benefit in helping her manage her family.

“In my case, my husband has Alzheimer’s, and most people in the neighborhood know that,” Meeuwen said. “They know who he is, know where he lives and now with this website all the neighbors know about our situation so if they see him wandering somewhere or doing something he is not supposed to be doing, they can actually call me.”

The city of Goleta began using Nextdoor as a model for their “Love your neighbor, know your neighbor” campaign on Valentine’s Day. Kushnerov said it added 32 new people and two new neighborhoods to the network, bringing the total number of users to 237.

Goleta resident and Nextdoor user Arthur Sylvester said the website allows locals to do everything from advertising garage sales and tracking down lost pets to reporting criminal activity.

“It is a way to alert others when there are weird things going on in the neighborhood,” Sylvester said. “We had such an incident here in the neighborhood a week or two ago where somebody went outside and saw their car window bashed in. She posted on that her car window had been bashed in so other people went out and saw that theirs had too, so they were able to establish a neighborhood pattern and alerted the sheriff.”

For more information, visit