The Chicago Police Radio Scanner. My preferred flavor is Zone 11 (Districts 20 and 24). It’s surprisingly relaxing, especially if you just tune into your own geographic area (although then it’s also intermittently alarming).
You’d think that the scanner would just be full of crime and Terrible Things, but actually, it’s full of amazing glimpses of Chicago life and crazy people and hard-working police officers! Also crime. And Terrible Things. In other words, it’s a fascinating way to check the temperature of city life. Sometimes I listen to it while working on my computer at home – if you listen to your own district (vs. the city-wide channel), there are long pauses when nothing’s happening in the neighborhood – and then short bursts of activity. It’s actually the perfect tempo for working – enough space to get something done, but interspersed with distractions that are short enough to offer relief but not long enough to sidetrack you (I’m looking at you, You Tube and Facebook).
Recent examples of what’s come over the scanner:
- “No mental state, he’s just a cross-dresser. Goes by the name of Ashley.”
- “Guy with no shoes sitting on park bench. Caller saw him there last week taking off his pants, doesn’t know what he’s up to today.”
- “Caller reporting drunk teens just laying in the alley”
- “Caller reports person who fell down on the street on Hermitage.”
Sadly, what also came over the scanner this weekend were reports of someone being shot in the head a couple blocks away from our house. This is an unfortunate reminder that reports of shots fired that sometimes hit people are not uncommon in Zone 11. As soon as it happens, people are on Everyblock posting “did you hear what I just heard?!” Life in the RP.
Fear not. My new pasttime does not compare to Timmy‘s (I could never match his dedication), and this is not about to become a crime blog. However, if you’ve got some time at the computer and want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood, check out the scanner!