Although it isn't friendly to hobby, encryption does have its place in the LE arena. Fire channels being encrypted... not so sure... but life and death do hang in the balance when criminals know where you are, where you are going to make entry, your gameplan if multiple officers are involved(because this requires coordinating over the air), and where your backup is.
I actually thought it was a D Felony in most areas to use a scanner in the commission of a crime, perhaps i need to hit my state statute book again to confirm this.
Cell phones do seem to be the next wave of communication in public safety. If it is even remotely sensitive in my area it goes over cellphone instead of the radio. You may hear the dispatcher tell the officer where to go and the officer say he is in route, but you as the scanner hobbyist have no clue if he is going there for a shootout or for a barking dog.
Also, scanners weren't just "discovered" by criminals. The availability of scanners and the fact that anyone can get one at RS with the programming has helped get the good guys into the hobby, but also allowed the criminals to get in without having any knowledge of the hobby. The professional or "good" criminals have had them since they came out, its just now that they are starting to be used by teenagers to get away with petty crime, and your avg. burglar to get away before the fuzz shows up on scene.
I agree it does give the hobby a bad name, thats just how it goes though. All we can do is just follow the laws as they apply to us. Its not like they are going to start running background checks on you every time you buy a scanner.... or are they?