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VEGAS LOST: A neighborhood watch group for the digital age

VEGAS LOST: A neighborhood watch group for the digital age

They do a lot in Mikey Slyman's office.

At his desk, he takes calls as a bail bondsman.

The table we sit at happens to be where he records his podcast.

Across the lobby, you'll find the tattoo shop.

"When it comes to the bail-bonds, it feeds the podcasts," Slyman says. "There's so many stories to tell, that's kind of how we got into the emergency page too."

That page he's talking about is why News 3 is here. Of all the hats he wears, a Facebook page consumes most of his time.

Slyman created and runs the Las Vegas Emergency Incidents Facebook page, an ever evolving stream of information, and a community of 58,000 people.

"I said 'let's just pit it in a group and see what happens,'" Slyman said, remembering starting the page three years ago. "Two-hundred people, 500 people, 1,000. Now it's just under 58,000."

He and his friends started this group out of boredom, just a few guys listening to scanners.

They would post what they heard and take photos of crime scenes and accidents when they were close to them.

It is usually full of car accidents, traffic alerts, the kind of 'why are the police here' questions you might have if you saw one in front of your neighbor's house.

That changed on October 1, 2017.

Thousands of people turned to the page during the confusion and chaos of the Route 91 shooting.

"We had people from the venue posting while shots were going on," Slyman said. "That was the moment where we realized people are comfortable here and are coming her for comfort as well."

The page is a "see something, say something" machine, which can be a problem. How do you make sure what people are posting is legitimate? How do you monitor what nearly 60,000 people are saying, and separate fact from fiction?

"We owe people what they're coming here for, information, and we have to make sure it's accurate," he said.

Accuracy is important, but Slyman didn't tell us how he vets information, only that he relies on a handful of dedicated volunteers to serve as administrators to the page.

The rules are simple: If you contribute anything to the page, make sure the facts are correct.

If you comment, be helpful. Do not insult posters or add anything useless.

Break a rule, and you're cut off.

"We just don't need that," Slyman said. "That's not what we're there for."

It's a neighborhood watch group gone digital, a free service for first alerts, policed by the same community members who are asking and answering the questions.

One that is growing by dozens of people each day. To follow the page, visit facebook.com/groups/lasvegasemergencyincidents.

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