There's a new fashion trend sweeping the Far North Side. Lakefront residents are buying police scanners, spurred on by the one-month-old Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter (http://uptowncrimeblotter.blogspot.com/).
"I bought a scanner a couple days before the blog started," said blogmeister PB. He organized last Saturday's "positive loitering" event at the Sunnyside Mall in Uptown. "I was in Radio Shack buying an iPod accessory. It was an impulse buy. I've always been interested in a police scanner."
PB said that once he figured out how to get the scanner tuned into Zone 2 (channel 460.0500) which covers police calls in the 20th and 23rd police districts, he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"I thought, what if I started a blog to tell other people what I was hearing," PB said.
If you're going to spend money on a police scanner, PB recommends one with triple trunking because the radio listens to three channels at a time."It gets pretty crazy. It takes some time to program, but then you can start listening to some wild stuff, like a big cocaine bust," said PB.
Since starting the Chicago Uptown Crime Blotter blog, others have sent e-mails to PB telling him they also purchased scanners and asking which frequency to tune into.
"I think people want to know what's going on in their neighborhood," PB said. "We live in a society when you want to know something right now, you get on the Internet and find out. Otherwise you have to wait two weeks to get the police reports and crime stats. You see police across the street and it may or may not be a reported incident."