Ask the Editor: Check out our new crime site

Archives, photo galleries and crime maps now at SanLuisObispo.com

May 9, 2010 

What crimes are being reported near your home?

What are the crime trends in your city — for burglaries, sex offenses and narcotics, for example? What unusual incidents have been reported to your local police department?

We know most readers are keenly interested in such information; they’ve ranked crime and public safety at the top of their coverage “wish list’’ for years. And the crime maps we’ve featured on our website in recent months have been popular.

So today we are launching a major expansion of crime news online — a venue that offers us nearly unlimited space and search functionality. Just go to sanluisobispo.com and click on the crime tab at the top of the page.

Not only will you be able to find out about crimes in your neighborhood, you’ll have access to more detailed local crime trends and charts, a blog that notes unusual calls received by local police departments, a photo gallery of individuals who’ve been arrested (most on suspicion of committing felonies) and deeper coverage of several crime topics. Here’s a closer look:

• Crime maps: Our maps enable you to search for incidents reported to police in Atascadero, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. It’s our hope that the county’s other law-enforcement agencies will provide their daily incident reports for mapping within a few months. In addition to searching for reported crimes by date, you can now type in an address and see the last 50 crime reports within a quarter-mile, half-mile or mile from your location, according to Online Editor Chrissy Janocko.

• ‘What’s your emergency’: Unauthorized hot tub use, lost car keys, a man in a monkey suit? Yes, indeed. People report all sorts of unusual behavior to police. This new blog is a collection of random tidbits from local police logs. It’s written by Web producer/reporter Larissa Doust.

“Each entry is from an actual call to a law-enforcement agency,’’ Janocko says, “even the man in a monkey suit.”

• Crime archive: We’ve created an archive of staff-written stories over the years on crime-related topics, including unsolved killings, death row cases, missing persons cases, homicides and most wanted cases as well as a photo gallery of well-known California Men’s Colony inmates. The latter includes 1960s counterculture icon Timothy Leary, sentenced in 1970 for possession of marijuana (he escaped a few months after his arrival), and one-time rap mogul Suge Knight, incarcerated in 1997 for violating parole (later transferred to Mule Creek State Prison).

• Photo gallery and initial stories on individuals who have been booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail, most on suspicion of committing felony crimes. The gallery currently dates to Jan. 1.

As you might expect, this wealth of local crime information has taken months to plan and assemble online. Those who deserve the credit are Janocko, an Arroyo Grande High School and Cal Poly graduate and former senior copy editor (hired fulltime in 2000) who has been our online editor since August; Doust, an Atascadero High School and Cal Poly grad who joined our staff as a reporter in 2002 and moved to our online news three years ago; and Web developer Danny Thorogood, who joined The Tribune seven years ago.

As always, we’d like to know your reaction and suggestions. Please click on the “feedback’’ tab on the left side of the crime section. Or e-mail me at the address below.

Do you have a question about the newspaper, our website or our coverage? If so, please write me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93406-0112, or e-mail me at sduerr@thetribunenews.com.

Sandra Duerr is the executive editor of The Tribune.

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