Police left out of neighborhood crime reports

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Hampden Township police say they’re fighting to compete with a new neighborhood crime watch.

Police Chief Steve Junkin says people are sharing information about suspicious activity on the Nextdoor.com website and app, but not reporting that information to authorities.

Adam Downing lives in Hampden Township and uses the app. He read us some of the things his neighbors are saying.

“Somebody asked about tax accountants, a yard sale, somebody offering makeovers,” Downing said.

He signed up because a neighbor solicited him with a postcard in his mailbox. He says Nextdoor usually has pretty harmless stuff – usually.

“Someone said, ‘oh, I heard suspicious noises in the neighborhood at night,’ and someone said on the app, ‘well, call the police’,” Downing said.

But police say they’re not always calling.

“That information is not getting out to us,” Junkin said. “There could be very valuable stuff, something that could be a minor detail, a slight piece of information, that they think the police is aware of. Well, I’m telling you we’re not.”

Police have tried to join the conversation, but they don’t have the proper invitation code to join dozens of neighborhood groups in the township, nor do they have the time or resources to monitor those.

“Call us first and then if you want to type about it on Nextdoor.com, go ahead,” Junkin said.

Junkin said he’s heard of other police departments having the same issue.

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