Members have been using Front Porch Forum for neighborhood watch type activities for some time. Here’s something similar. Burlington police use a nationally available service that automatically calls all phone numbers within one or more neighborhoods to alert the community about a missing child… wonderful use of technology. (I can’t imagine how terrible this situation must be for the people caught up in it.)
The downside… after receiving this alarming call from a machine, with few details (you don’t know who the kid is typically… just that a neighbor boy or girl of certain description is gone), you get nothing more… no follow up. No “we found Billy and everything is okay.” The service can’t be used that way, only for emergencies.
So it was interesting to read the minutes from the March 2007 Neighborhood Planning Assembly meeting for Ward 5 today:
Corporal Fabiani informed the NPA of a localized “Child is missing” alert that was activated recently and was successful in finding the child safely. Currently there is no ability to make a similar phone call to cancel the alert. Suggestions were made that the Front Porch Forum could be used to alert neighbors of the status. Local TV and radio stations are already used.
That’s another great use of our neighborhood forums, and, in fact, this has been done at least twice recently, once in the South End and once in the Old North End to good effect. Put the word out on the forum and it spreads across the neighborhood.