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Indy Library Promotes Free Band of Neighbors Forum

September 04, 2013

The Indianapolis Public Library is joining Angie's List and the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety to help keep Marion County residents informed of criminal activity and safety advisories in their neighborhoods.

News alerts will be made through the Angie's List Band of Neighbors forum, which is a free, secure forum tailored to the city's 840 neighborhoods. Residents use the forum to share news, ask questions and learn about things particular to their neighborhood, such as lost pets or street closings.

"When neighbors know each other, they look out for each other and share important information that heightens the level of safety and security," said Mayor Greg Ballard during announcement ceremonies on Wednesday, September 4 at the Irvington Branch. "Unfortunately, too many of us don't know our neighbors so even if one person on the street has useful news, the next-door neighbors may not."

The Angie's List Band of Neighbors forum is designed to help bridge that communication gap neighborhood by neighborhood. Launched earlier this year, the service is already being used in 20,000 neighborhoods across the country.

"It can be like having a Neighborhood Watch alert on your phone or home computer," said Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks. "Lots of us get statewide or city wide news alerts, but news that's really important for the Southside might not affect Broad Ripple or Crooked Creek or Irvington at all. Band of Neighbors brings you news that's literally close to home."

The Band of Neighbors forum is open to anyone, not just Angie's List members. Discussions within it are limited to residents of a particular neighborhood. Within the forum, neighbors can chat, ask about local news and share information. The public safety messages from local police and fire departments will appear in the neighborhoods only where the actions or warnings are effective.

"As a public safety department we are seeking to be proactive in our crime prevention. Neighbors knowing their neighbors and their neighborhoods can only increase the safety of our great city," Public Safety Director Troy Riggs stated. "We have chosen to partner with Angie's List, Band of Neighbors and our citizens in the community to enhance the quality of life for citizens and visitors of Indianapolis alike."

Responding to a recent Angie's List survey, Americans across the country said they know only about 25 percent of their neighbors. An overwhelming majority of those respondents said they would feel safer in their home if they knew more of the people around them.