The ABC11 I-Team looks into how that can be especially when everyone is so "connected" these days.
We didn't find any ordinance or law requiring people to be notified when something like a rape or other crime happens. While there are a few good ways people can tune in to what's going on around them, some say, in this age of connectivity, it should be easier.
"I didn't find out about this whole thing until yesterday, when there was a bunch of news trucks in front of the house," said Wake County mother Emma Davis.
What Davis just learned about happened last Saturday morning. A 20-year-old woman was raped at the Hawthorne at the Parkway apartments in Cary.
Police say a man followed her home, forced his way into her apartment, attacked her, and then fled in a red or burgundy SUV.
The suspect is described as light-skinned black man weighing 200 pound, and standing 6 feet tall. He had strangely green eyes -- perhaps colored with contact lenses. He's still on the loose.
"Maybe I should just get ABC on my Facebook," said Wake County mother Sara Martinez. "Maybe that would have come up."
Actually, ABC11 put out at least two alerts on the story -- one on social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. The other was pushed out on mobile apps.
The Town of Cary does something similar. We're told they also put out a warning about the rape, but, as with ABC11 news alerts, you have to sign up for that.
Given the fact the rapist hasn't been caught, and that people who live close to where it happened still don't know it happen, some are wondering if there are, or should be, other ways to get critical information to folks who need it.
"You know, Amber Alerts, I'll get those on my phone," said Martinez. "If there's a weather concern, they do the same thing."
"We all want to get him. We want to work together," said Davis. "So the more information they give us, the more we can at least try to be helpful."
Police said an Amber Alert-like system could be put in place, but there are some questions about how effective it might be.
In the meantime, it remains up to individuals to be proactive, and get those alerts pushed out to you.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call the Town of Cary Police Department at (919) 469-4012 or Cary Crime Stoppers at (919) 460-4636.
Crime Stoppers pays up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest or indictment of those responsible for committing certain types of crimes. All calls will be kept confidential at caller's request.