The Popularity of Patch’s Police Log

Patch offers readers all things local, but by golly, nothing can grab more attention than the coveted Police Log that runs several times throughout the week. Why? Can someone tell me the reason why?

It’s been nearly two years since the South County Patch sites launched our grass roots online source for all things local. I was and still am thrilled to be a part of it!

From my very first ThiNK Family column alongside the many community based articles I’ve written since October 2010, when folks in town discuss our internet presence for all the latest, local happenings which are updated every 24 hours, I smile and love to acknowledge the time, effort and journalistic thought that go into making this type of news source resonate with our interested and supportive reader base.

As an author and writer, I continually set professional goals for myself and measure them throughout the year. My niche is family humor based pieces, for which I have no problem putting myself (and sometimes my unsuspecting family!) on that very public front line where I know accolades as well as criticism are just part of the job.

I’ve written off the cuff, from the heart – when feeling ecstatic, confused, vulnerable, feisty, or frustrated – but no matter what personal or community-based subjects I write and share with our readers, I always, always do so from a place of honesty and pleasure: meaning that even if I reach only one, single reader with my thoughts, (that including myself) I’ve spent my time wisely and look forward to my next written piece.

Getting back to those professional goals of mine—when I was a newbie writer more than 15 years ago, when anything I wrote was published, I would wait anxiously for some type of feedback. (Silly me!) Regardless of whether it was positive or negative, if a comment was made, that meant someone was reading my work. Writing for magazines, newspapers and other printed professional venues means there is usually a one-month wait to see if someone, anyone, will chide in about the submitted piece.

Writing for online publications such as Patch changes that wait time completely, because within minutes of being published, readers can chime in with praise or criticism in just seconds.

And in addition to that, writers can see where their articles rate in the popularity poll, because the five most read pieces are listed for all to see.

I used to joke with our local Patch editors about how some day, one of my stories would beat the coveted police log by a landslide, and they, being the great editors that they are, assured me it wasn’t my writing style or material that was losing to this weekly report of people who were busted. It was simply the nature of the beast—curiosity as to who did what in our own backyard and got caught doing so was and sadly, that would probably always would be the draw.


I won’t lie to you—I’ve had a very difficult time coming to terms with this whole police log popularity thing. I’ve scoured dozens of other Patch sites and found that this is the case all across the country, not just here in South County.

That, in some diminutive way, has offered me a tad bit of comfort. But in all honesty, my subconscious and heart tell me that’s "crap," and I should be bothered by what this says about the state of priorities in our communities and in what we really feel is compelling to follow.

So loyal readers, I’m going out on a limb today by asking you all to take a few quick seconds to respond as to why you feel police log is the most popular read on Patch. I promise I won’t be offended if you want to spit on my column or other “local people and business-oriented” articles that I produce. I just want to understand what it is, other than curiosity that beckons folks to be so enamored with this piece of the Patch puzzle.

SRstreak September 30, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I work in the Criminal Justice field in South County. That is pretty much the reason I follow Patch's Police Log. I like to see the stories in which I contributed to the arrest of individuals (which is quite often) I also follow the Police Log to keep tabs on the criminal activity in the area and see if I should keep tabs on certain individual's names if their crime has anything to do with my field.
Ed Renehan September 30, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I check it to make sure I am not in it! ;-)
Dave October 01, 2012 at 12:40 PM
SR, Thanks for taking your job so seriously and spending your own time monitoring things! It's appreciated. Keep up the good work!
seed and soil October 01, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Hi Cheryl. My guess, as you aptly point out in this piece, it goes back to the nature of the beast. I share whole heartily your frustration with this characteristic of the human beast! It never stops to amaze me how we humans just love a train wreck. As a life long student of human nature, on the very deepest level, it probably roots back to survival instincts. Keeping ourselves on high alert against all threats, whether perceived or real. is what we are wired to do. It takes years and years of focused and purposeful reconditioning to shift this anxiety producing attitude. When we choose to focus instead on beauty, good and all the many positives surrounding us ....and most importantly embrace gratitude as our life's priority, we let loose the yolk of constant threat., Our eyes, mind and heart wake up to a whole new existence, one with much greater purpose and meaning! Keep up the great work! And for the record, I've read many of your Patch pieces and NK View bits as well. Your are a positive force at work in our community. Peace and Gratitude sister!!
MeanE October 01, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The Police Log may be the most popular "read" on the Patch, meaning most visits & views on the site. However, it does not even come close to receiving the level of comments that political stories do. I read the Police Log to receive information as to what is happening around the community that I live in, just as I do with any other news story. I read the good & the bad that NK or anywhere else has to offer. I am that person that seed speaks of with the anxiety producing attitude.
shawn crawford October 01, 2012 at 03:50 PM
For alot of people I think they read that stuff and watch that stuff on tv to make themselves look better and say smugly: "I'm glad I'M not a bad person like that" or they even enjoy seeing someone else get in trouble and/or suffer so they can say "I'm glad that's not me". People are basically self-centered and evil as Jesus said. I doubt very much they read that stuff so they can be compassionate.
shawn crawford October 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM
You'll probably want to strike out the word evil from the last comment because that is why they crucified Him....couldn't handle it.....just leave out the whole sentence because they will surely crucify me.
shawn crawford October 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
..Him being Jesus...
Lori Grayson October 01, 2012 at 04:36 PM
They are the most popular because the headlines grab you...
Cheryl Butler October 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this! Love what you had to say! :
Scott Madison October 04, 2012 at 03:55 AM
Sadly, look at the state of media today. The great unwashed would rather watch Honey Boo Boo and The Kardashians versus watching anything with more substance. It is a sad state of affairs but most people today would rather read about who the cops picked up for shoplifting to see if they knew the perpetrator, versus reading something informative.
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