“As the first social network service focusing on forming ties and encouraging interactions based on common interest, it helps people to get to know each other and keeps everyone well informed on what was going on in and around their neighborhood in real time,” says founder Amit Mehta.
I registered with My Virtual Neighbor to see if any of my neighbors are members. It appears that I am the only one right now. The site has instructions on how to procure members, but I have to have their email addresses.
The site is more than a watchdog site. It is also a socializing site. Neighbors can share common interests. For instance, one fellow in Texas is looking for a rowing partner. And, there is a notice about coupons for groceries and group outings to the nearby brewery.
All in all, I can see how getting to know your neighbors even better can help prevent crime in the neighborhood because the neighborhood becomes a tight unit. Neighbors watch out for each other. According to Mehta, My Virtual Neighbor concept is the cornerstone of the highly publicized “National Night Out” program which lets criminals know that neighbors are organized and fighting back. Something policing experts have known and encouraged for a long time – increasing communication between neighbors is a great crime deterrent.
I have seen increasing communication and interaction work in my neighborhood, but the idea of using social media to bolster the interaction amongst neighbors is a smart move.
Case studies conducted on block 3000-3099 Sage road, communities, located in Houston, Texas Galleria area, have shown that after 10 weeks of MVN’s release, crime rates dropped by over 80% in the area. Source: HPD reports block 3000-3099 Sage Road.
My Virtual Neighbor includes enhanced privacy controls and verification mechanisms to build trust with your neighbors, giving people greater sense of security knowing that they can be moderators themselves as opposed to someone else watching over them.