Hoping to stem the vandalism, burglaries and vehicle break-ins occurring in their area, several businesses along U.S. 40 in southwest Independence have signed up to participate in a neighborhood social network.

Eileen Weir, the council member for District 4, told the Independence City Council at the end of Monday’s meeting that the idea for utilizing the website nextdoor.com for quick notification among businesses of unlawful activity in that area stemmed from a meeting she recently helped organize.

Besides the business owners – whom Weir said were seeking a way to communicate with each other about crimes against their establishments and customers, and hopefully help prosecute those who commit them – a couple officers from the Independence Police Department and representatives from the Jackson County prosecutor’s office and Independence Economic Development Council also attended.

Weir said Tom Lesnak, president of the EDC, found that nextdoor.com has been used so far by residential neighborhoods to provide electronic alerts – and that Independence would represent the first set of businesses to use the site.

“I think this will go a long way to building a sense of community,” Weir said, adding that if this venture proves helpful she will encourage its use for other business areas in the city.

Also Monday, Council Member Curt Dougherty said that, as tends to happen after a snow event or two, he has been receiving complaints from citizens about streets skipped or delayed during snow removal – several of the calls coming from those residing on cul-de-sacs.

Dougherty said he was curious how many trucks the city currently uses for snow removal and how many had been used in the past.

Deputy city manager John Pinch said “there is a rhyme and reason” to the city’s snow removal procedures and that city staff would provide the information in question.