Community Post

New ways to find out what that siren was last night

One of our more frequent requests are of the form of “what’s the story with those sirens/police/fire trucks on my block last night.” We love those kinds of tips because they’re often the key to big stories that we would otherwise miss.

But the challenge is that it’s sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack. The time of the event is the biggest factor – every 15 minutes of uncertainty quadruples the time it takes to research what happened.

But we’ve recently added some new features to the crime map at (part of our Neighborlogs network of sites). It’s now slurping in police dispatch data, recording every time an officer is sent out to deal with a crime or other event. The events are usually delayed by up to several hours, as the city doesn’t release the data until the event is closed and it will be safe to do so. But it appears to be working well for finding events that happened within the last day.

So please explore the SeattleCrime map, and if you’re interested in a specific event, send us the event name and the time it occurred. Then we can more easily go back and get all of the details about what happened.

And if you’ve got an iPhone, check out the Seattle Crime app – it puts all those same mapping tools in your pocket.

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