Listening to police scanners can be both entertaining and enlightening. Knowing what goes on in a certain town or city, or even just a specific neighbourhood can help residents better protect themselves from potential dangers. Unfortunately, owning a police scanner can be expensive, but with an Internet connection it is possible to listen to police scanner calls online and at no cost beyond that of the Internet connection and computer.
- Skill level:
Open a web browser and go to Radio Reference, a website that allows visitors to listen to live police scanners, among other things. In the top navigation menu select "Live Audio" and the site will open to a page containing a large blue map of the United States. This is not the only site like this, but Radio Reference allows access to scanners across the U.S.
Select the desired state, and a large map of that particular state will open on the website. Not all areas of each state have live scanners available; the blue sections of the map indicate "live online scanners."
Most states are divided by county. Choose the desired county, and if it is highlighted in blue there will be live police scanners available to listen to. The page will open to a smaller map, with the selected county highlighted in yellow now. Next to the map there will be a list of recent incidents, including date, time, type of incident, and a description. This is on a two-hour delay. Below the map and incident report list there is a list of available police scanners available. Each will show a "status" as either "online," which is highlighted in green, or "offline" highlighted in red.
Choose a scanner to listen to. In the row with that scanner's information there will be a drop-down menu where an audio player can be selected. Select the desired audio player, or leave it on "Web Player" and then click on the speaker icon at the beginning of the row underneath the "Listen" section. If a web player was chosen, a small pop-up window will open and the audio player will begin. If a different audio player was selected, that audio player will open up and begin streaming the scanner calls.
Tips and warnings
- If you have trouble streaming audio from an audio player other than the web player, the audio player may need an update. This is usually prompted when the audio player opens.
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