The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department announced that it is partnering with Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods, to help create stronger and safer communities.

Through Nextdoor, the Sheriff’s Department will be able to communicate online with neighborhoods in the county. Residents and law enforcement officers will be able to work together to improve safety and strengthen neighborhood watch efforts, according to a department news release. Officials said more than 221 Sacramento County neighborhoods already have started Nextdoor websites.

Through the network, residents can join private neighborhood websites to share information, including public safety issues, local services and community events and activities. The Sheriff’s Department also will be able to post information such as safety tips and crime alerts to Nextdoor websites within the county.

Nextdoor is free for residents and the Sheriff’s Department. Each Sacramento County neighborhood has its own private Nextdoor neighborhood website, accessible only to residents who verify that they live in the neighborhood. Neighborhoods can establish and manage their own Nextdoor websites, and the Sheriff’s Department will not be able to access residents’ websites, contact information or content. Information shared on Nextdoor is protected by a password and cannot be accessed by search engines, officials said.

Residents interested in joining their neighborhood’s Nextdoor website can visit www.nextdoor.com and enter their address. Anyone with questions about their Nextdoor website can visit help.nextdoor.com.

©2014 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)