It's neighborhood gossip in print, or fodder for gossip yet to come. You learn not only that the woman down the street got held up at gunpoint, but that she had $300 in her purse, or that the man shot on Charles Street hailed a cab instead of taking an ambulance to the hospital.
Perhaps most amazing is that the Police Blotter has survived the test of the computer age. Despite electronic feeds in which thousands of crimes can be downloaded from police 911 centers directly to detailed mapping programs, Irwin's feature remains popular, whether it is read at the coffee table, viewed on the computer screen or downloaded to an iPhone (which, by the way, is among the leading items listed in the blotter as stolen).
The computer gives us: "Incident number: 090055470; Report number: n/a; Date/Time: February 07th, 2009 03:10 pm; Description: Assault; Nearby address: 3300 Laurel Fort Meade Rd."