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Old 04-10-2010, 01:43 PM
Lumpy Lumpy is offline
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota US
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How to check on criminal activity in my neighborhood?

Last night I had a small scare. I was in bed winding down to go to sleep when I hear a report that could be a gunshot. Or a firecracker, or someone with a badly tuned engine, or maybe someone has a screen door with a really strong spring? Who knows? So I'm not unduly worried but I am now alert enough to not go to sleep. Five or ten minutes later I hear a siren. A police siren? I realize I don't know for sure the sound of a squad car from an ambulance or a fire engine. And for that matter sound carries enough that I can hear police sirens twelve blocks away at night. Still, I'm wondering if maybe something's going on. THEN I hear strange unaccounted for noises in the living room. Now I'm worried enough to open my lock box and make sure my gun has a round chambered. An investigation of the house reveals nothing amiss; the noises were probably our damn cats having one of their nocturnal cat parties.

I do wonder however if there was a report of a shot fired somewhere nearby last night. Not every incident makes the news, so I was wondering the best way to check on what's going on in my neighborhood. Are police incident reports usually publically available?
Old 04-10-2010, 05:42 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Gumi, S. Korea
Posts: 9,200
Best bet is your local newspaper's local news page. It's not comprehensive, though; you could call the local police station with more specific questions.
Old 04-10-2010, 09:11 PM
AmbushBug AmbushBug is offline
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Location: Neon Desert
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Some cities' police departments publish crime maps online with varying degrees of accuracy and searchability. You could see if yours is one of them; looks like it is, done on a weekly basis:
Old 04-10-2010, 09:27 PM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Location: Majikal Land O' Cheeze!
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
Are police incident reports usually publically available?
Yes, though YMMV depending on location (city, county, state, country, continent, planet, solar system, etc.).

it's usually called the Public Information Computer. You can have them run police contacts by name or address (including address ranges to encompass an entire neighborhood) and it can be specified by date if you wish. Some departments you have to nudge a little bit to get this info. Others, like Milwaukee, have a specific office at police district headquarters that deal with this. It's free unless you want a print out of the activity. Then it's a nominal fee.
Old 04-10-2010, 09:39 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Location: Upstate NY
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Companies like EveryBlock have built tools around public data to produce sites like this one, which are pretty detailed. Similar sites are available in many cities (EveryBlock does 15 others).

The data reporting is not real time, and you're not going to get full-fledged police reports. You're going to get a single entry like so: "Attempted theft from grocery store." Also keep in mind you're going to see something when a crime is recorded, and a lot of calls don't generate a report.

Pkbites is right that you can visit your local preceinct and ask, but if you really want to know what's going on in your neighborhood, get a scanner.
Old 04-11-2010, 01:47 AM
astro astro is offline
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
Handy tool to check out crime in your neighborhood
Old 04-11-2010, 03:33 AM
gladtobeblazed gladtobeblazed is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 900
My city's police department website has monthly statistics freely available for each neighborhood.

Last edited by gladtobeblazed; 04-11-2010 at 03:33 AM.
Old 04-11-2010, 06:37 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
Police keep a thing called a "police blotter" which is a matter of public record. Sometimes it's online but often you have to go in and look. I've never seen any information given out over the phone, but they tell you, you can come in and look it over.

Keep in mind the "gunshot" and the "siren" may not be related, therefore the police may have no record of it


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