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Safety & security

Best police scanner apps for your phone

One of the best ways to follow police activity is to use scanners and listen to the radio chatter. This may sound legally questionable, but the Communications Act of 1934 established that radio airwaves are public property. It’s well within your rights to listen. Tap or click to see why some disagree and want to change this.

Except during investigations or manhunts, most police channels are easy to tune into. All you need are the right apps for the job. Here are our top five police scanner apps you can download right now.

Police Scanner Radio & Fire adds breaking news alerts

Police Scanner Radio & Fire is one of the most popular free scanners you can download, and for good reason. It piggybacks off the acclaimed Broadcastify app, which includes police, fire, EMS and other audio feeds.

RELATED: How to change emergency alert settings on your phone

You can use the app to tune into local police chatter or, if you want to, listen in on discussions in another precinct. You have access to channels from around the world. You can also subscribe to breaking news alerts. The app is free to download for iOS and Android but be prepared for ads while you listen.

Upgrade to Broadcastify for even more options

Broadcastify is the primary platform Police Scanner Radio & Fire uses to source its content, but the full-fledged app is also worth a look. For $2.99, you get an ad-free listening experience with even more channels and aviation, weather and amateur broadcasters.

And yes, you can still subscribe to push notifications, just like with the free app. Broadcastify is available for iOS and Android.

Scanner 911 is one of the best options for Android

Scanner 911 contains over 5,000 police, fire, rescue and other radio feeds you can listen to for free on Android. There is also an option to upgrade the app for $4.99 to remove ads. Premium users can also listen to the app in the background, meaning you can do other things while you tune in.

5-0 Radio Police Scanner explains what you’re hearing

5-0 Radio Police Scanner may not look as attractive as the other apps we’ve listed, but what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in brains. The free app is available for iOS and Android and includes detailed information on police codes you might hear, which can add more context to any situations you encounter.

Police Scanner + for Apple devices

If you’re looking for an all-in-one listening solution for broadcasts, Police Scanner + has you covered. Not only do you get access to emergency services like police and fire, but regular radio stations are available to tune into whenever you’d like. It’s available for free on iOS.

Fun fact: This app was famously used in the hit film “The Amazing Spiderman.”

As you can see, the smartphone revolution put information like police radio into everybody’s pockets. Why not exercise your right to listen? Whether you’re out on the streets or remaining at home, keep safe and stay informed.

You may also like: Check this site to see all the high-tech surveillance your local police use

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