GURNEE, Ill. (CBS) — Instead of talking over the backyard fence, neighbors in Gurnee can talk online through a private social networking website specific to their area.

WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports hyperlocal social media site has partnered with the village of Gurnee, with the goal of promoting a sense of community.

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“We really hope that people will take the chance to meet their neighbors, and discuss things amongst one another, just like we used to back in the old days,” said Gurnee Village Management Analyst Eric Jensen.

Gurnee is the first municipality in Illinois to partner with Nextdoor. Jensen said the village also will be able to use the site to reach out to residents about targeted issues.

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“Let’s say I have a water main break, and I have to shut down water service for a little while, this is another way we could communicate to them, in addition to what we already have,” Jensen said.

While the village has begun encouraging residents to sign up for and use the free site, Jensen said the phone still works best for some things, like reporting crimes.

“If you see something suspicious, don’t worry about Nextdoor. Come to us, and tell us right away,” he said.

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Gurnee already has a system to communicate with residents about crime issues or utility problems in specific neighborhoods. Jensen said Nextdoor will help improve on those communications.