Every year, one of the larger Norwegian TV stations rallies the masses to give money to a good cause. Many people volunteer to knock on people’s doors and collect money in small, sealed buckets. I’m not sure what they are called in English, but if you’ve ever seen one, you know what I’m talking about.
Today was that day of the year, but it turned out to be a really shitty day for one of the volunteers, a woman in her forties, when she was mugged by two masked men who threatened her with a knife and ran off with her bucket. The police was quickly notified about this and started sent units to the closest subway stations to look for people matching the very vague description the woman gave, a K9 unit was called in to track down the two men down from the scene of the crime.
When the woman decided to change the description of the weapons used during the robbery to a gun and a saber, two units from the armed task force were called in to assist the unarmed units. After about an hour of dicking around, the police, surprisingly enough, were able to catch the two guys. How do I know all this? I’ve once again found a site that streams police scanners live on the interweb. And there’s a lot of surprising and interesting things to hear.
First of all, should I really be able to listen to this? Why are the police communicating using a public, non-secure, old fashioned system? You need not listen long before you hear names, addresses and confidental information like social security numbers. Also, when they were looking for the two guys mugging the poor woman, they were continuously reporting the positions of the units working on the case. It’s not illegal to buy, use and carry a police scanner in Norway. If I was planning to perform any sort of action that would make the police want to catch me, I would certainly make sure I had a portable, $100 police scanner with me. That way I would always know where all the units were at all times.
I’m also a bit surprised the units actually have to report their position. These days it’s not rocket science to have a car’s position magically appear on a computerized map. The wonders of modern technology! The radio system the police force use for communication is also prone to an inherent flaw that affects all communication of this kind: If more than one person tries to use the same frequency at the same time, both senders will block and it neither of the two will be audible. With a digital system, it should be possible make sure it’s possible to hear one of the messages, buffer the other one and make sure the recipients knows it’s a delayed message.
It seems I’ve got the solution to every problem!
On a side note, it was a bit disturbing to hear that one of the cops did not know if he had an MP5 in his car or not when he was given the order to arm up.