Catching Criminals in the Oakland Hills

When the knock came on their door that afternoon in May, Tracy Stevens* and her husband Bob were ready.

Tracy is the Founding Member of Nextdoor Lower Valley, a suburban neighborhood of 400 homes nestled in the hills of Oakland, California. That day in May, Tracy’s Nextdoor website had been abuzz about a pair of teens who had come to various neighbors’ homes asking for donations for college, but who had raised suspicions because of their pushiness and inability to answer simple questions.

One Nextdoor member had posted an urgent alert about her troubling encounter with the teens and other neighbors soon chimed in to say that they had had similar experiences. So when the knock came on Tracy’s door, she and her husband were prepared with questions and ready to take down a detailed description of the visitors.

Tracy called the police with a description immediately after the teenagers left. Days later, the description helped lead to the teens’ arrest, where they were caught in possession of items stolen during a burglary in the neighborhood earlier in the week!

Today on Nextdoor Lower Valley, the discussions have returned to more typical Nextdoor topics: a request to borrow tools, someone asking for a plumber recommendation, and a discussion of how best to rid one’s lawn of gophers.

But if trouble arises, Tracy finds comfort in knowing that she can immediately reach out to her neighbors for help and support. “I definitely wouldn’t have known about these kids if not for Nextdoor,” Tracy said, “and I really appreciate the way people in the neighborhood are now able to look out for one another.”

Or, as we like to say here at Nextdoor, “When neighbors start talking, good things happen.”

Have a story you want to share from your neighborhood? Let us know.

* Note: The names of the users and neighborhood have been changed.

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