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Fighting local crime is in your hands, literally

Thursday - 12/27/2012, 4:01am  ET

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Those too busy to talk with neighbors or attend community meetings with local police officers can still team up to fight crime where they live.

All it takes is a computer or smartphone.

Nixle is a free service used by thousands of police departments and other agencies to send alerts to residents to crimes, road closings, weather and other events.

With Nixle, users sign up to get the alerts via email or text message.

Another free service called Nextdoor is meant to be a private social network for a specific neighborhood.

Everyone who joins the neighborhood network has to have his address verified to make sure he actually lives in the area.

Wired.com reports Nextdoor is increasingly being used to fight crime.

In one case in Oakland, Calif., a man called police when two suspicious magazine salesmen approached his door after seeing postings about the pair on his neighborhood's network.

When police caught up with the two, they were in the middle of a burglary.

Apparently, the men were using the sales pitch as an excuse to get a peek at the valuables inside people's homes.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)