Avi Adelman Makes Crime Pay

Making crime pay: Because nothing says "Happy Holidays" like raging paranoia that faceless criminals are coming for you, we'd like to close out 2007 with a shout-out to our pal, Avi Adelman, who has started up a new business that aims to keep Dallas residents apprised of crime in their neighborhoods.

Adelman, neighborhood activist and royal pain to drunken bar patrons on Lower Greenville Avenue, is the father of, a Web site that allows you to receive info about crimes in your 'hood via e-mail. The site takes the daily reports of police calls and filters and sorts the data, offering you an up-close snapshot of crime in small geographic areas.

Why you'd want an e-mail to learn that your neighbor got drunk and smacked his wife again, or that someone's car stereo was stolen on your street, is a mystery to Buzz. This is a big city. Bad stuff happens. Tracking it daily from your home computer sounds like the first step on the road to agoraphobia, or worse, Republicanism. Ignorance is bliss—or at least it's enough to allow you to go get the morning paper from your yard without feeling you need to pack heat.

But who are we kidding? Of course you want to know all about your drunken neighbor. Nothing excites interest like the sight of a police car or fire truck on your own street. It's an excuse to meet your neighbors and chat. In fact, in Buzz's neighborhood, it's about the only time we see our neighbors. Way to unite the community, criminal element!

Adelman isn't alone in the crime-report peddling biz. Another Web site,, offers a similar service, though Adelman is quick to point out that it only breaks down the information by ZIP code and requires a $100 subscription. His is free, and he intends to support it with advertising—from burglar alarm companies, locksmiths, etc.

Harrumph. Repackaging the city's misery and then giving away the information for free while profiting from advertising—what kind of man would sully himself with that sort of sordid busi...oh, that's right. Never mind. Welcome to the party, Avi.

Adelman hopes eventually to get at least 50,000 subscribers for his service. If that happens, he may very well end up with a full-time business, particularly as he intends to continue customizing his reports, offering info on crime waves and possibly even near-real-time updates for businesses. Let's all hope that the new enterprise takes off—especially those of us who like drinking at Lower Greenville bars. As Adelman puts it: "If I'm not having fun, I'm just going to be out on Greenville, being a pain in the butt."

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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