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Social media exaggerates perception of crime in Park Circle, police and residents say

Park Circle, North Charleston (WCIV)

Facebook posts about crime in Park Circle are spiking.

But is crime itself spiking, too?

“I think it feels that way. The reason I think that is Facebook,” said April Arnold. She’s lived in Park Circle for seven years and is an administrator of the Facebook group Park Circle Crime Watch.

“Based on the stats I’ve heard, it’s not as different as it feels, it just feels more apparent because we know it immediately,” she said.

Police reports show total crime has increased 3% in 2017 compared to last year, with an increase of 7% since 2012. A full list of crime date is below.

“You’ve got five or six people reporting on the same thing sometimes,” said Karen Cordray, a Deputy Chief with the North Charleston Police Department. She’s also active on Park Circle Facebook groups, frequently posting relevant safety information about crimes in real time.

“They hear it in this area, they hear it in that area and it’s the same incident, but it’s heard and entered by so many more people,” she said.

Cordray said the department uses a tool called CompStat to determine which areas of the city are experiencing more crime.

“We have the ability to move personnel into areas where the problem occurs. Instantaneously. We don’t have to wait,” she said.

“We had a couple break-ins during the day, had one a couple days ago trying to get in --- they didn’t get in,” Arnold said.

Despite that crime, she isn’t letting crime, real or perceived, change what she loves about Park Circle.

“We want to make sure we’re protecting each other, there for each other. It’s a very close knit community,” Arnold said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”

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