YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The Yonkers Police Department is taking advantage of a popular neighborhood app to keep residents safe.

From the sidewalks on your street to the palm of your hand, Nextdoor is taking everyday neighborhoods online, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.

“Nextdoor is a private website which allows verified neighbors to connect and share information free of charge, including quality of life and public safety concerns,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said Thursday.

The Yonkers Police Department announced its official partnerships with the website and app.

Think of the Nextdoor app as your online neighborhood – a place where you can sell items you don’t want anymore, look for recommendations, and even raise awareness about public safety issues.

Yonkers police started trying out the website last summer to send information to specific neighborhoods, rather than citywide.

“Since the police department put a toe in the water, it has turned into so much more,” lifelong Yonkers resident and user Anna Pierdiluca said.

Pierdiluca said it’s become a way to not only get information but also share information with police.

“While we can’t have an officer on every corner, we can certainly be their eyes and ears using Nextdoor,” she said.

The site has faced criticism in the past that it can lead to identity theft or violate privacy. But Nextdoor strategist Joseph Porcelli says each resident is vetted.

“Every Nextdoor member has to verify that they live in their community before they can gain access,” he said. “That’s done by having a postcard sent to their house, or our system can call their cellphone and their home phone and if the billing address matches, we allow them in.”

Though the site spreads valuable public safety information, Yonkers police say you should always call 911 first in an emergency.

Nextdoor says the Yonkers Police Department has had the most engagement from residents of any law enforcement agency in the Tri-State Area.

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