5 Practical Ways To Use A Police Scanner Daily
Up to this point, you may be thinking that a police scanner is just a novelty. You may say to yourself, “ah, who needs a scanner. Besides, this is just another hobby, and there is no practicality in owning a police scanner.”
This could not be farther from the truth. I have used my scanner countless times in practical ways. Here I want to present you with 5 practical ways to use a police scanner daily. There are countless other practical uses for a scanner, however, these are ways I use my police scanner on a routine basis.
1.) Before going to the airport, consult your police scanner
My wife sometimes travels for work. One thing I am not fond of is waiting around at the airport. Perhaps you share this very special hatred of wasting your time waiting around, along side of me. Well, stay tuned because I have a solution to the seemingly unavoidable airport wait.
I am sure you have done your duty as a significant other, a friend, or a relative and headed out to the airport only to find out their flight was delayed, or worse, cancelled. You then are faced with the choice of waiting at the airport, or heading back home, only to return once again later.
The good news is that this can be avoided with your police scanner. How you ask? I have used this trick several times in the past. If you live within forty-five minutes or so of the international airport in your area, you have a good chance of hearing the pilot of the flight you intend to monitor, call in to the control tower and report its location. The only thing you need is a scanner that covers the 118 – 136 MHz aircraft band, and the flight number. If you start listening about twenty minutes before the flight is due to arrive, you will likely hear the aircraft call in to the tower. Once you hear this, you know the flight is definitely close, and going to land. Then you can head out to the airport. You may even arrive with time to spare, before the arriving party collects their bags from the baggage claim.
If you are really savvy, you can also listen to the air traffic control center sector maneuvering the aircraft toward the airport, and leave your house for the airport then. Barring any unforeseen traffic issues, this should get you to the airport with some time to kill.
The trick is a simple as that. There will be no more waiting for late or cancelled flights with this trick, as you do not commit to the airport commute until the flight is definitely inbound. So, the next time you have to go to the dreaded airport, break out your scanner, tune to the control tower frequency, and enjoy a beverage until it is time to go. It will save you precious time and your sanity.
2.) Police scanners and your daily commute
Over the years, there have been too many occurrences to count in my area, in which a vehicle accident has created a sig alert (major traffic incident notification), and turned an already bad commute into a dreadful one. You have probably been there before. You have your coffee in hand, and you are in your car, and on your way. You get ten minutes into your commute, and you start thinking you may even get into work early today. This is the exact moment when the freeway comes to a screeching halt. Then, a half hour later, you pass a jack-knifed big rig with a fuel spill that is covering four out of the five lanes on the freeway. Once people are done craning their heads as they pass the accident scene, traffic picks up, and you arrive to work an hour late.
Could you have done anything to avoid this? In my opinion and experience, the answer is yes. I have my scanner running throughout the night, so that when I wake up, the first thing I hear is what is going on around town. Any newly developed accidents become clear, and the dispatchers then rebroadcast any sig alerts so that officers responding to emergency calls can avoid those areas.
My police scanner allows me to keep abreast of any accidents before I even get into the car. With this information in mind, if I happen to hear a traffic accident that affects my particular commute, I can then adjust my route to work. Even if I am late due to having to take surface streets, I still beat the people stuck in freeway traffic near the accident scene in to work.
Simply, turn on your scanner fifteen minutes before you head out to work to see if any major traffic issues have developed. It may just save your day and your mood as you arrive to work.
This is also a good technique to use on weekends and holidays when local events are held. Your local law enforcement agency may have event channels in which they direct traffic and ensure attendee safety associated with events such as marathons, parades, benefit events, and concerts. It is generally a good idea to listen to your scanner before leaving to see where events are being held, so that you can navigate around these and avoid traffic.
3.) Using a police scanner before relocating or buying a home
Before you decide to relocate or sign on the dotted line to purchase a home, I urge you to again, consult a police scanner. You may think this sounds ridiculous, but I assure you that doing this could help save you money, or at the very least from making a time consuming mistake.
Let’s face it, not all communities are created equal. We all know of areas in our cities that were once considered to be nice that are now overrun by poverty, crime, gangs, violence, and drugs. You would never think of moving to one of these areas, right?
Well, what about those areas that have not made a definite and noticeable transition to bad, just yet. Communities are always evolving. Some communities are gems and are on their way to becoming even more coveted. There are also always going to be those areas that are slowly deteriorating. The only way to make this determination before you make a bad choice and buy or move to a deteriorating area, is to monitor that area. Monitoring your police scanner will give you additional insight, based on facts, regarding the true demeanor of an area.
Now I know people always say to go to your new neighborhood and check it out a few times, both day and night, before you relocate or buy. This is good advice, but the truth is it really is not enough. With this method you would have to get lucky enough to happen upon something that changes your mind or view of the neighborhood.
However, to really get a feel for the pulse of a neighborhood or community, you should monitor a police scanner. If you do this for a few weeks or longer at regular intervals before you move, you will get a much clearer picture of your new community. Let’s face it, crime does not necessarily occur at regularly scheduled intervals. Crime happens at varying times, under varying conditions, and in varying degrees of severity. It is best to start monitoring the crime in your prospective new location as early as possible, to get a real feel for the reality of the community.
Sometimes a neighborhood can seem perfect, until you realize that the only problem with your new neighborhood, is your new neighbors. I personally had an experience like this when I moved to a new rental location. It seemed that the only issue with the street that I moved to, was the feuding neighbors across the street from me. The climax of the feud ended with the police showing up for the fourth time, in three days, with guns drawn, and handcuffing one of the feuding neighbors.
Luckily, the feuding between the neighbors has stopped, and it was only minor incidents that occurred. However, this could have ended up a lot worse. Do yourself a favor, and monitor your police scanner before moving or buying that dream home. Your scanner may just save you from a costly and time-consuming mistake. I have always used this method myself in the past before relocating to a new area. I can honestly say that listening to my police scanner has been a practical way to keep me from relocating my family to questionable areas.
4.) Police scanners and school districts
I cannot tell you how many times that I have monitored major fights over my police scanner that have occurred on middle school and high school campuses. Some of these fights have ended in a black eye or bloody nose, which is not so bad. Other fights have ended with kids stabbed, and in the hospital intensive care unit. Either way, this is not the type of school you want your child to attend. Granted, every school has its own problems, and every kid ultimately gets into at least one altercation or fight with a bully, you do not want to unknowingly send your child to a school teeming with gangs and drugs.
This is where your police scanner comes in. You can often find the school security frequency and monitor that to see what goes on in a typical school day. Additionally, many large cities with large school districts have a dedicated school police. I have monitored the school police on my police scanner to see just what happens at the various schools around my city. If your city does not have a dedicated school police department, then it is likely that the local police or sheriff handle the radio calls at the schools in your area.
The occurrences at some schools over the years have been jaw dropping. I live in a city where there have been more than one school shooting. Some of the schools even have regular gang activity with gang fights that have led to stabbings.
Even the surrounding areas of the schools have had some very bad incidents. There have been occasions of attempted kidnappings. There have also been incidents of presumed pedophiles sitting in vehicles touching themselves as children walk to and from school. If you are a parent, hearing incidents like these are likely your worst nightmare.
You definitely do not want to live in a school district where incidents like these occur regularly. Do yourself a favor, break out your scanner and do some monitoring so that you are aware of the incidents occurring regularly at your child’s school. It is best to be as informed as possible when it comes to the lives of your children and their schoolmates.
5.) Using a police scanner to send your kids off to college
I live in a large Southern California city near the beaches. We have a few infamous areas in my city near the beaches, where local university students live and party. The area is chocked full of bars and clubs.
College night is traditionally Thursday night. This is when the clubs offer food and drink specials to attract students. However, college night has now spilled into Fridays and Saturdays as well. The trouble is, the non-college residents of the community have been overrun by intoxicated students vomiting in the streets, drunk driving, occasionally attempting to enter residences that are not theirs, and in some cases fornicating on neighbors’ lawns.
Before your child leaves the nest and goes off to college, you may want to use your trusty police scanner to monitor the areas surrounding their university of choice. You can do this with your own police scanner if you live close enough, or by monitoring an online scanner feed if you live far from the university. Being able to identify the party zones and steering your child away from living in those areas will help them to focus their time and resources on studying, instead of taking shots or playing beer pong.
I hope that you can see from the examples above that a police scanner is a valuable piece of equipment that can save you time, money, and even aide in the safety of your family. There are countless practical applications for a police scanner. I hope to demonstrate many other ways that a police scanner can be useful in your daily life in future posts. Meanwhile, if you have any practical applications or comments to share, please leave them below. In the meantime, as always, Happy Listening!