If Philly Cops doesn’t know where the crime happened, send it to Disney World – NBC10 Philadelphia

Shinka Crawford will never forget the day her 18-year-old son, Shaquille Barbour, was murdered.

She was at a family gathering in North Philadelphia last summer, when she learned that a gunman had shot Shakeel more than a dozen times. Crawford found him bleeding in the street.

“I can’t get that image out of my head,” Crawford told NBC10 investigators in an interview. “The pain never goes away, and it never gets better.”

But according to Philadelphia Police Department records, Barbour was not shot at 1700 Block of 68th Street in West Oak Lane in front of his family. The data showed that he was murdered at Disney World.

For more than a decade, if Philadelphia police officers made a typo or were unable to record the exact location of a crime committed in the city, the department would identify the incident with GPS coordinates within Florida Disney World. Specifically, the area behind Cinderella’s castle known as “Fantasyland” became the default location for inaccurate crime data.

“It hurts,” Crawford said, crying when she learned of the practice. “He was murdered in the street in Philadelphia.”

In her son Shaquille’s case, instead of recording his crime as having occurred at the 1700 block of 68th Street, officers recorded the crime scene as the 1700th block of North 68th Street. This location does not exist, so in the department’s records, the coordinates of the incident were assigned to Fantasyland.

NBC10 investigators learned that over the past six years, more than 5,000 crimes – including 16 fires, 50 murders, and 298 car thefts – were planned to Disney World.

No other site within the city limits has recorded more Philadelphia crimes.

“It conveys the wrong message that the police department doesn’t really care,” said Robert Keene, director of criminology and justice at Drexel University.

He said it’s not uncommon for police departments to deal with chaotic mapping or inaccurate data.

The Los Angeles Police Department used to plan crimes with bad addresses for its headquarters. The industry standard is to put these crimes in GPS coordinates 0,0 – located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kane said it’s not uncommon to choose a virtual location like Disney World.

This is a screenshot from Disney World when using the Philadelphia Police Department’s Crime Mapper at phillypolice.com on July 14, 2022, prior to a policy change by the department. The report showed that 799 crimes were reported in Philadelphia at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, during the previous six months, including six murders, rapes and 69 aggravated assaults.

“I don’t think you want to commit your crime or a crime against someone close to you, it’s kind of downplayed by the same agency that’s supposed to investigate and try to make it right,” he said.

The Philadelphia Police Department’s director of research and analysis, Kevin Thomas, said he hadn’t heard of Disney World’s coordinate policy until it was brought to his attention by NBC10.

But after learning about the practice, he asked others in the department who said the choice to map certain Disney World crimes was made more than ten years ago.

“This was in no way intended to be funny in any way,” Thomas said.

He said the location was deliberately chosen so that the bad data would not confuse Philadelphia’s crime statistics.

“It was just a harmless site chosen within the United States that clearly had nothing to do with Philadelphia at all,” Thomas said.

Thomas emphasized that this never affected the department’s ability to solve crimes.

He added that only 2% of crimes are set in Fantasyland.

Recently, after NBC10 brought the case, Philadelphia Police changed their policy.

“Thinking about this a little bit more, and talking to some of the leaders in the PPD, we made the adjustment,” Thomas said.

The department says it will now plan inaccurate crimes in the Atlantic. Disney World did not respond to a request for comment.

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