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Neighborhood Crimebusters – Communicate

[This post is part of a series for the article: Neighborhood Crimebusters’ Web Based Community. Previous post in the series: Know Thy Neighbors.]

The rest of this article describes how you could set up a Yahoo Group as a web portal for your neighborhood. Please note you could also use other such applications like Google or MSN groups and set up something very similar. This example is based on a real neighborhood portal that was set up using Yahoo Groups. This is intended to illustrate one possible way of using such an application to facilitate communication between people in a neighborhood. Depending on the needs of your NCW and other constraints that you may have, you may need to choose another way to implement this.

[This section is detailed and is only required for those who intend to setup the group and act as moderators. Others can skip this post and click here to go to the next part of the article.]

Continue reading “Neighborhood Crimebusters – Create A Group” »

[This post is the first of a series for the article: Neighborhood Crimebusters’ Web Based Community.]

Start a Neighborhood Crime Watch group
One of the best ways to improve the level of security around your home and your neighborhood is by getting to know your neighbors. A lot of community Neighborhood Crime Watch (NCW) groups have been formed and they have gone a long way in preventing crimes and also in helping the police identify and track down criminals. If the security around your home has been something on your mind, it is very likely that your neighbors are thinking the same too.

You can get started by meeting some of your neighbors and talking about it. You can also seek help from your local law enforcement. You should be able to start an NCW group by holding a meeting with your neighbors. Having some representatives from the police department would add a lot of weight to the effort.

Continue reading “Know Thy Neighbors – Set Up A Web Group” »

[This post is part of the article: Neighborhood Crimebusters’ Web Based Community. Previous post: Neighborhood Crimebusters- Create A Group]

Group Message Board
This post explains how you can use the group’s Message Board feature. This is by far the most popular feature of a group. The message board provides a quick and easy way to send a message to all members. Messages are also archived in the group, so that there is a record of all the communication.

Sending Group Messages
There are two ways to send a message to the group:

  • Go to the group home page, and click on “Post” under the Messages button. It opens up an message composition window. You can type a suitable subject heading and compose your message. Click “Send” to post your message.
  • You can also send messages to the from the email account with which you are registered in the group. Simply compose an email and send it to your group email adddess. In our example, it it would be CherryLaneNcw@yahoogroups.com.

Reading Group Messages
Every member of the group can choose how they want to read the messages posted in the group:

  • Individual emails
    With this option, every message posted in the group is emailed to the members immediately. This option is highly recommended for a group like this. Many of the messages posted in a group like this would be of an urgent nature (e.g suspicious car seen this morning), and so it is desirable that the messages are delivered as quickly as possible. Note that sometimes messages can be delayed due to reasons like the servers being slow, etc., but that is fairly rare.
  • Daily digests
    Choosing this option will result in the member getting a daily email digest of all messages posted on that day.
  • Only on the group page
    With this option, messages are not emailed to the member. The member has to login to the group and read messages in the group message board.

Setting Up Alerts
Many email accounts such as Yahoo also have a feature by which you can receive SMS alerts when you receive certain messages. For example, you could set up an alert that says something like, “if I receive an email from CherryLaneNcw@yahoogroups.com, send me an SMS to myName@cellPhoneCompany.com.” If someone posted an email to the group, you would be alerted within minutes most of the time (depending on how busy the networks are, etc).

[Next part of the article: Neighborhood Crimebusters – Collaborate]

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