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For week ended August 01, 1999 Posted 8 Aug 1999

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Ex-Utahn's Internet Site Keeps Track of the Lowdown on Lowlifes

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Ex-Utahn's Internet Site Keeps Track of the Lowdown on Lowlifes
Salt Lake Tribune 1Aug99 L5
By Kelly Kennedy: Salt Lake Tribune

LDS Church member Greg Whisenant has found a way to cash in on public interest in police action and "reality" shows, like "COPS" and "America's Most Wanted." Whisenant has created the Crime Reports website , which carries current crime reports from police departments nationwide.

Whisenant, a resident of Arlington, Virginia who graduated from BYU, says that the site is strictly for letting people know about crime."It's strictly for information trading," he says. "Some people think, `Gosh, I'd rather not know about the bad things in my community,' but, in my case, I found out my neighborhood was safer than I thought."

After he accidentaly let a bike thief into his apartment building, Whisenant decided to develop the site so that members of a community can know about crime in their area, "I wanted to know what I could do to help, and the local community-watch group asked if someone could build an Internet site," he said. Three months ago he started asking police departments to send him a list of reports each day, which he then started posting on his website and sent out to subscribers free by e-mail. The site also contains crime-preventions tips and community events.

Most of the material on the site are the mundane crimes that never make the local news -- simple assaults, thefts and domestic abuse. But some crimes are unusual or quirky and a few are serious crimes like homicides or sexual assaults. In Salt Lake, the site hasn't yet generated a tip leading to an arrest, but then its only been up since March. "You try to attract people to the Web site to see the other links on the site -- crime prevention tips, most-wanted lists and community calendars," said Salt Lake Police planning analyst Dave Doepner. "The government is at somewhat of a disadvantage on the Internet. We're competing for eyeballs."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information