It takes a community to cover crime (and other stories)

Faced with a limited amount of time and budget, The Eastsider’s coverage of news and events leaves many readers wanting more. Some readers have told me they are disappointed when they find nothing on the blog after hearing gunfire or an LAPD chopper hovering overhead. The lack of crime coverage was an issue for a woman named Sara who left this comment on a recent post about smashed car windows in Highland Park.

“I‘m wondering why car windows getting vandalized always gets so much attention, whereas last Friday night (well early Saturday morning, actually – 3:45 am) there were 5 shots fired less than a block from my house, and nowhere do I see the slightest mention of this! I even called the police to ask what happened, and they had no idea. It’s not in crime reports, on the maps … like nothing happened. Yet someone’s window gets broken and it’s all over the blogs. Hmmmm …. somethng [cq] a bit strange here!”

The Highland Park vandalism got a story because I received emails from residents soon after the crime took place. They provided details about the location and time. I also had time to follow up and write two short items. Most of the crime news you read here comes in the form of links to other local blogs and media. I also try and do a weekly round up of crime, Eastside Crime Watch, based on LAPD’s online map. None of this is easy when you are blogging on your own on such a relatively large area. So, I ask for readers help to let me know about any recent crime or incidents in your neighborhood that are worth warning your neighbors about. Readers can send their crime reports by email to [email protected]

I will be using The Eastsider’s Twitter feed more often to let you know about any recent or breaking crime news and other major events (traffic accidents, fires, etc). I’ve slapped a version of The Eastsider’s Twitter feed at the top of the page to help keep you in the loop. Depending on the nature of the crime, and if more information is available, The Eastsider will try and follow up with a short story or a link to another site with more information. I will also mention the more newsworthy incidents in the News & Notes posts for those who receive The Eastsider via email, Facebook and by RSS feed.

While I’m at it asking for help covering crime, please let me know if you are interested in covering a public meeting (even the New York Times is asking residents to report back) and writing a brief, factual summary of what happened. There’s no pay but you will get story credit. As always, your photos and videos featuring Eastside places and people are welcome.

Please send along any suggestions to [email protected] about what else you would like to see more of (or less) in The Eastsider. More news about Echo Park and Silver Lake and less about Boyle Heights and Highland Park? More stories about community meetings and school or more about culture and upcoming events? Do you want to read stories and opinion pieces, videos, photos generated by other “citizen journalists” or do you just want more hard news. Look forward to hearing from you.

— Jesus Sanchez

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