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Indianapolis Launches New Neighborhood-Based Information Sharing Initiative

By Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard
October 7, 2013


Every time a couple of mayors or more get together it doesn’t usually take long for the conversation to drift toward reaching people in their neighborhoods with information that is important to them. Last month, our city teamed up with a local company to announce a partnership that holds great promise for our city and hopefully other cities as well.

Many of us know Angie’s List as the go-to source for reviews and references on things such as electricians, plumbers and more, but the company is also rolling out a new initiative called “Band of Neighbors.” The idea behind the program is to help people share information in their neighborhoods and allow our public safety agencies to post real-time, geographically-targeted updates. And best of all, it doesn’t cost users or taxpayers a dime.

All news alerts will be made through the Band of Neighbors forum, a secure social network tailored to Indy’s 840 neighborhoods. Discussions within the Band of Neighbors forum are limited to residents of a specific neighborhood. Within the forum, neighbors can chat, ask about local news and share information. Public safety messages from local police and fire departments will only appear in the neighborhoods where the actions or warnings are relevant. The Mayor’s Neighborhood Liaisons’ will also use the forum to communicate with the people in their geographic area of assignment.

The use of the technology to unite our citizens and to help them become aware of and take action within their own communities is an important component that highlights the ingenuity of the city’s partnership with Band of Neighbors.

“When I arrived I mentioned that two of our goals for the Department of Public Safety would be to utilize technology and strengthen partnerships within the community,” said Indianapolis’ Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs. “Band of Neighbors makes both a possibility. Technology is being used to draw people together to take charge of their neighborhoods. I truly believe that when the police and community work together, that’s a hard combination for any criminal to beat.”

It can be like having a Neighborhood Watch alert on your phone or home computer. Lots of us get statewide or citywide news alerts, but there is no place to turn for news that’s really important for one specific neighborhood or another. Band of Neighbors brings you news that’s literally close to home.

At a time when municipal budgets are strapped and the need to provide targeted and tailored messages directly to our citizens is critically important, this program is a win-win for the city and its nearly one million residents.

For more information about this project, contact Indianapolis Department of Public Safety Project Manager Laura White at laura.white@indy.gov.