I subscribe to Crime Alerts, part of the Omega Group's public crime mapping application, crimemapping.com. Everyone who lives, works, or has an immediate family member in a City that contributes its data to crimemapping.com should do likewise. For example, I subscribe to my daughter's address in Omaha, and my son's address across town in Lincoln.
I subscribe to Crime Alerts even though I have full access to the immense information resources at the Lincoln Police Department. Its just a very easy way to keep informed about petty crime in my own neighborhood that I might miss due to the sheer volume of activity in the City otherwise. Sign up for a crime alert, and when a police incident report on most common kinds of crimes (like theft, burglary, vandalism, assault) hits the database, you'll get an automatic email with a short blurb about the case. Last time I checked, we had around 12,000 people subscribed to Crime Alerts in Lincoln.
In selecting the area for which you wish to receive alerts, you can pick from several distances ranging from two miles to 500 feet. I picked a distance of half a mile from my residence. This gives me the information I want, but prevents my email from getting flooded with alerts about crimes at businesses on the arterial streets bordering my subdivision. The choice of distance is really determined on what's in the neighborhood, and how many alerts you are willing to tolerate. I probably average 2-3 per month. If I was closer to a busy retail area, or in a more densely populated neighborhood, I would throttle the distance back to two-tenths of a mile or even 500 ft., which is about a block and a half.
A Crime Alert concerning a larceny was in my inbox yesterday morning. The blurb in the email, reporting the theft of a rock, was enough to pique my curiosity and look for more details in the police records.
Well, that explains it. This is no ordinary rock, it's one of those laser-engraved monuments to Nebraska Football. I'll be on the lookout for the rock lifted from my own neighborhood. Don't think they come with a serial number, though.