Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

Learning about the underbelly of Los Angeles through eavesdropping on police scanners

by AirTalk®

70531 full
Do you use follow police scanners? Are they useful for finding out what is happening in your area?

There’s a lot that listening to the police scanner can tell you about your city. In Los Angeles, the scanner has been monitored by the anonymous Twitter feed “@LA Scanner” since 1988, and he recently published a list of observations that give an interesting perspective on L.A.

They include:

  1. Nothing good ever happens at a pay phone. (Fact: There are still pay phones.)
  2. Not everyone who goes shirtless after dark is a criminal, but it's pretty close to everyone.
  3. If you happen to find yourself being pursued by the cops, until the LAPD helicopter arrives overhead, you have a slim fighting chance. Once it arrives, game over.
  4. In Beverly Hills, no crime is too small.
  5. Place after dark you feel most likely to be killed and buried in some gruesome fashion but you are probably actually perfectly safe: Griffith Park.
  6. Place after dark you feel most likely to be killed and buried in some gruesome fashion and you probably will be: Angeles National Forest.
  7. LAX baggage claims and ticketing counters are magnets for medical emergencies.

Airtalk hosts a conversation with Alex Thompson of @Venice311 and Andrew Blankstein of NBC News about their years of listening to police scanners, what they’ve learned and the insight that comes when you listen in on the cops. 

Are you a scanner junkie?

Alex Thompson, publisher and editor of

Andrew Blankstein, Investigative Reporter for NBC News

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy AirTalk®? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC