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
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."