Mayor Menino, Police Commissioner Ed Davis and other city officials gathered at the Milky Way this morning to announce a partnership with Neighbors for Neighbors, a social-networking effort setting up online gathering spots for 18 Boston neighborhoods.
Under the partnership, community liaisons at all of the city's police districts have been trained in using the system, according to Joseph Porcelli, the site's founder and himself a former community service officer in District 13. The city is not providing any financial support for the effort, which has a volunteer development director and is applying for a $225,000 Knight News Challenge grant.
Menino said the city will also share other information with the network, such as events information. He said the network is another example of the city providing the information residents need, pointing to recent efforts as police tweets, H1N1 YouTube videos and a system for letting iPhone users upload pothole photos to the city.
Davis said the network will help police reach a community with whom police have traditionally had little contact: Young urban professionals.
"Quite frankly, they have better things to do than hanging out with a bunch of cops, and I understand this," he said, adding, "My kids were absolutely devastated when I got a Facebook account. They would not friend me."
Steve Garfield posted some photos on Flickr as the event was going on, including this panorama of attendees.