Bentonville Residents Reform Neighborhood Watch Team With App

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- After 65 break-ins were reported in multiple Bentonville subdivisions in just four days, residents knew they had to do something.

Instead of forming a traditional neighborhood watch team to track thefts, the residents turned to their smartphones by using an app called "Next Door."

"It can be very specific to your neighborhood, but then also it's open to hearing what's going on in the surrounding neighborhoods," said Kristy Bailey, a Bentonville mom.

The app sends you real-time alerts and email updates for your area. It even lets users report and view potential threats in the area.

"It puts on extra alert right away to either be looking for a specific car or a specific person, but then also just taking extra precautions," Bailey said.

At risk neighborhoods can expect to see custom-made signs from the Bentonville police department reminding residents to "lock your doors, watch your surroundings, and report suspicious activity." Police say following the three steps could reduce a neighborhood's vulnerability.

"That type of cooperation with a community or even a small neighborhood with us can greatly reduce these crimes," said Gene Page, a Bentonville police officer.

The department also updated their software to help them pinpoint high crime areas using a heat map.

"We stepped our patrols up in those areas and as a result we have made two arrests... and the cases are still open," Page said.

If you live in a neighborhood where theft is a problem, remember to lock, watch and report.