Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Real crime in real time in 140 characters or less

by Patt Morrison

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Social Networking And Blogging Website Twitter Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Following police activity on radio scanners is a hobby with a long tradition. There are groups around the country devoted to this time-consuming hobby that allows residents of a community learn just what kind of untoward activity is happening in their neighborhoods. But the hobby has entered a new age with the arrival of social media websites like Twitter.

Scanner enthusiasts now don’t just sit and wait for the hiss of the radio to bleat out a robbery or assault – when police activity occurs, they report, tweet and re-tweet what they’ve heard, in essence giving real time, real crime updates.

The Los Angeles area alone has at least three active monitoring organizations on Twitter and a web based group called the Southern California Monitoring Association ties the whole thing together. Their motto: “In God We Trust – All Others We Monitor.”

WEIGH IN:

How can Twitter change the way people learn about crime? How can up-to-the second, crowdsourced crime reporting become a deterrent?

Guest:

Alex Thompson, police scanner enthusiast who started ‘venice311’ - a website and Twitter feed that follows local crime in Venice, CA in real time

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