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      APD: Social media magnifies crime rates in Amarillo

      One of the most recent high profile cases in Amarillo, where one passenger of the vehicle died.

      The increase in technology means the faster the information gets to citizens, especially when it comes to crime.

      The Amarillo Police Department started its Nixle messages in 2009, sending out information to citizens whenever the information is deemed relevant by officers at a scene.

      In the last three weeks officers have responded to nearly six high profile cases, but is that enough to consider a crime-rate spike within the city?

      "A lot of the hype comes from social media," Sgt. Brent Barbee said. "I really think it magnifies a lot of the perception that there's a lot of problems out there."

      So the question on everyone's mind, is the crime rate in Amarillo up or down?

      "It really depends on how long of a period you're looking at," Barbee said. "Remember you're looking at a relatively short time period of 2-3 weeks and when we look at crime rates we like to look at not just weeks, but months and years."

      These are the number of crimes recorded from 2010-2012:

      2010 - 12,270

      2011 - 10,629

      2012 - 10,217

      In the last 10 years the city has seen a steady decrease in crime rates.

      According to Barbee APD is short about seven officers, but he said it takes the department being short 10-20 officers to organize an academy.

      The City of Amarillo has authorized APD to have 358 employees, about 170 of those employees are officers responding to calls.