Criminals using police resources to their advantage

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Action News learned criminals are using resources to their advantage. More people have access to police radios which lets them know if the cops are onto them.

A push of a button and a police scanner app is on your phone.

"If I wanted to I can get one on my phone," said Christopher Sanborn. "That's as simple as that."

Police said criminals have been taking advantage of knowing where officers are or what they're investigating.

"Do you think the scanner has made an impact on criminals getting away?" Action News asked.

"I'm sure it has," said YPD Lieutenant Nolan Wentz.

A felon in a stolen car was listening to the police scanner during an active chase. He tried leading officers in a different direction by claiming to have seen the car elsewhere, but cops still managed to bring him down.

"We had a car reported on one side of town and I'm on the other side thinking this doesn't sound quite right so I turned around and went the other way and sure enough here comes the felony."

Neighbors like Christopher said the accessibility has its downfalls. And it makes him feel uneasy.

"When it comes down to it, just the people you're after already have their information that you're after them so they're already leaving," said Christopher. "They're already in a new location."

YPD uses other alternatives daily as a way to keep important information more private.

"Between computers, between cell phones, you're able to communicate and coordinate efforts without being heard over the radio," said Nolan.

Computers can send messages only to certain people which is helpful in sensitive cases. That could include a wanted person or runaways.

But the radio is still considered the fastest and officers expect to keep using it while keeping in mind who might be listening in.