Fighting Crime via Neighborhood Social Networking

Marlborough Mesa in Mesa, Arizona was recently able to utilize their discussion forum as a social networking tool to fight crime in their neighborhood.

Evidently there was an ice cream man in the neighborhood who was consistently "short-changing" the neighborhood kids. The information was posted on the Marlborough Mesa Discussion Forum which alerted the rest of the neighborhood. Other neighbors related similar stories about the same ice cream man. They called the police who in turn tracked down the ice cream man, questioned him, and he is no longer "short-changing" the neighborhood kids.

The Marlborough Mesa group are no strangers to using the Neighborhood Link Discussion forums as a social networking tool. Back in October they used their discussion forum to help identify an elderly neighbor who had been seriously injured in an auto accident.

Congrats to Alma Jones (their tireless webmaster) and the Marlborough Mesa Neighborhood on a job well done!

New Discussion Forums

Neighborhood Link recently completely redesigned the Discussion Forum areas for its neighborhood sites. Besides a completely redesigned modern look, there are many new features.

Below are highlights of some of the new features:
  • Format: The new format was designed to be easier to read and to provide for more efficient use. For example previously in the old format, only one reply to a post could be viewed per page. Now four replies per page can be viewed at a time. Also, now when viewing the topics page, the topic with the most recent reply is at the top of the page.

  • Tags: Each Topic is now automatically tagged with its geographic location. Also, when starting a topic, you can tag it with appropriate key words that help describe the subject of the topic. Examples of a tag might be: crime, code violations, dues, security, etc. Eventually, tags will help Neighborhood Link provide for a much better systemwide searching mechanism.

  • Navigation: At the top of each page in the discussion area, there is now a series of navigation links which depict your current location. Thus, you could see at the top of the page: “US > Arizona > Phoenix AZ metro > Scottsdale AZ > Highlands West Discussions”. This would mean you were in the Highlands West Discussions area in Scottsdale, Arizona. Clicking on any of the links to left of “ >Highlands West Discussions” such as Phoenix AZ metro would show you all of the discussions in the Phoenix AZ metro area.

  • Respect-o-Meter: Each Neighborhood link user is now assigned a rank. Our Respect-o-Meter automatically assigns each user a rank based on the quality of that users participation in all areas of Neighborhood Link. Users who are helpful, promote community and are respectful of others will receive the highest rankings.

  • Avatars: Users now have the ability to upload avatars. Avatars are small graphics or images which are a graphical representation of the user. The avatar will appear above a username when someone posts in the discussion forums area. An avatar can be easily uploaded by going to the users profile area.

  • Neighborhood Mediation

    Neighborhood disputes can be particularly contentious and sometimes it might seem like there is no way to resolve them. It could be a dispute between an HOA and a member or it could be just between two neighbors.

    Typical examples might be:
  • An HOA is trying to collect late fees from a homeowner, but the homeowner feels he is being charged unjustly.
  • A landlord and tenant disagree over cleaning and damage charges deducted from a security deposit.
  • A neighbor's dog barks all night long and has also caused damage to a neighbors fence.

    In the last 20 years, mediation has been used more and more to settle neighborhood disputes like the ones described above.

    Mediation is a structured and organized process that can help people who are having a dispute come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator is usually a trained neutral third party who helps the parties to clarify their issues, understand each other's perspective, and guide them to a final agreement of their own making.

    One of the distinct advantages of mediation is that the effected parties retain control over the outcome of the matter. Instead of a judge, hearing examiner, or other third-party decide the matter, in mediation, it is the parties who decide.

    Finally, mediation can resolve the matter faster and at significantly less costs than would litigation in the courts or an administrative proceeding

    Many cities around the country offer free mediation services. Also for more information on solving neighborhood disputes, take a look at these two articles in our Neighborhood Resource Guide. The first one is about Neighborhood Mediation and the second one is about Neighborhood Dispute Resolution.

  • Featured Community: Marlborough Mesa, Mesa AZ

    Marlborough Mesa in Mesa, Arizona has done a great job of using all the tools that Neighborhood Link provides.

    They recently created a separate page so that Neighbors could report violations of city code. The Mesa City manager in turn has pledged to monitor the site and investigate all of the reported code violations.

    They also have created numerous custom pages such as: The Baby Sitter Connection, Classifieds, Business Directory, Neighborhood History, and Tips for new Homeowner/Residents.

    Read More About: Marlborough Mesa in Mesa, AZ

    Neighborhood Link Gets Google Maps

    Neighborhood Link has enabled Google maps on all Neighborhood Link websites. On websites that we have corresponding boundaries we have drawn the shape of the boundaries on the map. If we don't have corresponding data or if you think what we have drawn is incorrect, it is simple to correct or redraw your boundaries. Below is a very short help video that will show you how to draw boundaries on your neighborhood map.

    Drawing your neighborhood boundary is simple - click on each corner of your neighborhood. You'll have a chance to preview before you save the new map and you can always start over. Just watch the video.....