Recently, there’s been a flurry of stories in the media about crime in Atlanta. Rightly elected officials have stated that crime is at historically low rates in the city. Residents of some communities, East Atlanta in particular, aren’t satisfied. To victims of crime, any crime is one too many.
Luckily for those interested in the facts, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports are available online. According to these reports, crime started decreasing in Atlanta during the late 1990’s and has continued decreasing through 2013 – albeit at a slower rate.
During the 2000’s:
- Violent crime (murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults) decreased by 45%
- Property crimes decreased by approximately 22%
- The number of murders alone dropped from a high of 152 in 2002 to a low of 80 in 2009
Cutting violent crime by 45% during the 2000’s was a significant achievement for a city that, in 1994, was ranked the most dangerous city in the country by Morgan Quitno Press.
Beginning in 2010, crime has decreased at a slower pace than the previous decade.
- Violent crime has decreased by 25%
- Property crime has decreased by 21%
- Murders are up from 80 in 2009 to 84 in 2013.
Reductions in crime need to be acknowledged, but another record breaking strategy is needed to replicate those reductions in the future. With a larger police force we might redouble our programs in crime prevention using technology, promoting community engagement and leveraging law enforcement programs with mentoring in middle and high schools. Also, there shouldn’t be a conversation about crime that doesn’t include a plan to increase opportunities for higher education, good paying jobs and small business.
Crime in Atlanta is always a focus of every mayor, city council, and civic leader. It is always one of the top three issues during municipal elections. And it will never be too low to stop talking about ways to make it lower. We need to figure out a way to cut crime in half again, not just celebrate the job that’s already been done.