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Social Media Impacts Crime Perception in Burlington

The head of the Burlington Police Department believes there is a misconception among residents about crime and public safety.

Police Chief Doug Beaird said for the most part, criminal activity is trending down in the city, but that message is getting lost as negative statements travel fast on social media.

“What we can do to control that is to the best of our ability keep out in the community and keep working on all of the positive things and then it will come around over time," said Beaird.

Beaird acknowledged the city has some hot spots, such as the Maple Street neighborhood.  He has a plan to change that.

“We are going to try to get some more boots on the ground up there," said Beaird.  "It is probably a 2-3 block area.  Like I said, most of these are teenage kids that... I don’t see any real serious crime coming out of that but if it goes unchecked, it is going to become serious and it will become serious real fast.”

Beaird would also like to see more street lights in that area as additional light proves to be a quality deterrent.

He hopes a community-organized town hall meeting will start to change perceptions about crime and how the police department is addressing it.  More than 30 people attended the meeting.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.