Helping Neighbors Connect and Build Community

Why ToolzDO Is the Safest Place Online To Connect Neighbors

April 19, 2010 by Carline · 17 Comments

The internet can be a scary place to hang out. But just like the real world, hanging out in the right place and using good old fashion wisdom and common sense, the internet can be quite useful, fun, and safe. Let’s face it; the internet is here to stay.

ToolzDO is not like any other website, social network or web platform.

Foremost, ToolzDO is a replica of your real local neighborhood but online with several key features that discourage and deter criminal intentions and bad behavior.

Some of these features you also find offline in your real neighborhood but best of all, some of them you’ll only find here on ToolzDO.

Privacy

Your personal information (i.e. name, street address, email) are electronically secured and never shared, exposed, published or sold.

Actually, aside from your email address and password, we do not collect any other personal information that is not already publicly available.

In your real neighborhood, your name & full address are on your house, in your mailbox, in your county government public record which everyone have access to.

We care about privacy and have applied multiple approaches to protect your privacy:

  1. Registration required – ToolzDO is a closed system. To access details and participate, you must be registered and signed in. Certain areas, like City Forums, can only be viewed after signing in.
  2. If you want your life to be an open book, hang out on Facebook. ToolzDO does not show when you are online, does not show whose wall you just left a comment for, does not show which group you just joined, does not publish your private posts and profile to Google, Yahoo and Bing (Microsoft search) for the world to see. Facebook (public profile and pages only), Twitter and Ning allow Google and other search engines access to your posts and personal profile – for a hefty fee in the case of Facebook and Twitter (made it profitable).
  3. High server security. Not only are the actual computer servers well secured from online access but also from physical access.
  4. Data encryption of your private information. Where ever personal information is collected, the data is encrypted (not readable). Your password is also stored in encrypted format.
  5. Unlike Craigslist, Freecycle/Yahoo groups, we provide a private messaging tool to carry conversations with every inquiry or request so your email is never exposed. For more details, please read our privacy policy.
  6. While ToolzDO promotes openness, it ensures privacy through various user controlled privacy settings including who gets to request your posted items.

Transparency

Criminal minded people love to hide. They seek the perfect online environment that makes it easy to operate undetected and thrive in.

These environments are usually anonymous and free (Craigslist, Yahoo groups), a bad combination. ToolzDO uses a social networking style member profile that allows you to know your neighbors before meeting them.

See their discussions, offers, wants, business description, and project they are working on. Connect with neighbors you know or with neighbors who have filled their profiles or are active contributors to your community.

Only online and on ToolzDO do you get this neighborhood safety feature.

Geographic proximity and better neighborhood watch – online and offline

ToolzDO is all local, hyperlocal. So local, that you may run into your online neighbors at the grocery store, the park, local deli or community events. And that is the BIG idea! This alone not only deters criminals but also bad behaviors.

Additionally, ToolzDO members look out for each other online and offline.

Online, we have community policing. Look for the report link for every post or member profile. You can report members who are naughty, in violation of the law or ToolzDO Terms of Use as well as broadcast a neighborhood alert about this member in the Forum.

In the Forum, we apply a “3 Strikes You’re Out” policy. If a Discussion is reported 3 times, it will automatically be removed and the member warned. The member’s account may also get suspended or closed. All reporting is confidential and the member reported will not know who did the reporting.

In your real neighborhood, the entire community quickly gets to know of thefts, break-ins, vandalism, or suspicious activities as well as mitigation actions via a broadcast in your Neighborhood Forum.

ToolzDO empowers its members to make their online and offline community safe. Unlike other sites, criminal minded individuals have a hard time hiding on ToolzDO.

Relationship building

Stronger communities where neighbors connect, know each other, help one another and look out for each other have safer neighborhoods. ToolzDO’s main goal is to provide tools that help connect neighbors to build community.

The more we know each other, the more effective is our neighborhood crime watch. Otherwise, we end up watching more of our neighbor’s daily activities rather than watching out for the lawbreakers prowling the neighborhood for opportunities to rob, hurt or destroy.

City Police Department – We are seeking partnership with local cities and city police departments to join the community they serve on ToolzDO. ToolzDO facilitates communication and relationship building between the citizens of the city and their law enforcement officers. It will be like having a police officer next door.

Real Connections Network – Automatic vouching

Real Connections are neighbors you know or have met around town – a similar feature to “friends” on Facebook. Just like your real neighborhood, your neighborhood connections give you credibility, status and trustworthiness.

Get your neighbors to join and send them a request to be part of your Real Connections network (click on link below the photo in the member’s profile).

When deciding who to trade with or join in activities, check out your neighbors’ Real Connections. The more they have in your neighborhood the higher the credibility. You may even discover neighbors you did not know were online or new neighbors you have not met. Sweet!

It’s safe, fun, and very useful to daily life

So as you can see, ToolzDO offers similar security measures as offline and than some. But only when you use them will you rip the benefits.

So join, filling your profile, update your project status, invite neighbors, connect, and use ToolzDO to sell, swap, barter, give free stuff, and keep people in your town informed about crime watch tips, events, lost pets, PTA meeting, etc. Get off the classified sites and be part of your community.

Use wisdom and common sense

Now having said all this, the best way to be safe is applying good old fashion wisdom and common sense. Unfortunately, even if you are not online, it has become more difficult to hide in this new age of information.

Think of the yellow and white pages, your county tax collector, your county or state public records and all the information they already have which are now all online and accessible with a quick search on Google and the hundreds of search services popping up each year. If you receive junk mail, your information is out there.

Here are information that can easily be found online about you (like it or not): Name, current & previous address, telephone number, your relatives, criminal background, and much more.

Here are some things I do not share anywhere online:

Information about my children – pictures that are up close or clearly depict their features, their names, their age, what school they go to, birthdays, life events, etc.

Going out of town – I only share my traveling plans with trusted family, friends and neighbors over the phone or email. This is not something you broadcast in real life. So why do it online. It is mind-boggling to see how many people broadcast their upcoming trips with departure dates and duration or letting people know they are out by uploading pictures while on the trip on sites like Twitter and Facebook! Many online tools facilitate sharing, but it does not mean it is a good idea to share everything.

ToolzDO is not like the other sites. Safety is inherent to the way ToolzDO operates. It is a tool and community on purpose. Join your neighborhood today.

Here are additional links to online safety:
Onguardonline
Wired Safety
Connect Safely

How safe do you feel on online and on social network sites?

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