Jan 5, 2024 - News

Violent crime in Atlanta dropped during 2023

Illustration of a downward arrow made out of crime-scene tape.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Murders and other violent crimes fell last year in Atlanta, a fact celebrated by Mayor Andre Dickens and police chief Darin Schierbaum at a Thursday press conference on 2023 crime statistics.

Why it matters: Last year's decrease in homicides is an about-face from the slow, but steady annual increases reported since the start of the pandemic.

  • Dickens said a coalition of organizations coming together to keep youth off the streets was a major factor in moving the numbers in a positive direction.

By the numbers: The city recorded 135 homicides in 2023, down 21% from 171 in 2022 and well below 2020's tally of 157, according to data provided by the Atlanta Police Department.

  • Other crimes also saw significant declines: rapes (51%), shootings (18%), aggravated assaults (16%), robberies (15%), thefts from vehicles (9%) and burglaries (6%).

What they're saying: Dickens said the latest numbers are why he calls Atlanta a "group project" because it takes individuals, businesses, parents, faith leaders, nonprofits and other community stakeholders to "pull this off."

  • The mayor added that his Year of the Youth initiative helped put more than 5,000 young people to work last summer and partnered with more than 100 organizations to offer programs to keep students busy and entertained during school breaks.
  • "Today we marked the fruit of some of that labor," Dickens said. "We ended 2023 with some numbers that prove we are really moving in the right direction."
  • Schierbaum also said the "great work of the men and women" of the Atlanta Police Department played a role in the drop in crime.

Of note: Vehicle thefts increased 61% last year, and shoplifting incidents rose 22%, according to APD.

  • The chief said the rise in car thefts can be traced to an uptick in stolen Kias and Hyundais after it was revealed that thieves can start the vehicles using a flathead screwdriver or a USB plugin.
  • "It's important to remember that prevention is probably the best way to prevent property crime and so where we did see our increases in property crime, we're going to continue to educate in those areas," Schierbaum said.

The big picture: The city's decreasing crime rate, specifically its drop in murders, is part of a larger trend across the country, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.

Yes, but: The latest numbers don't reflect what people believe is happening in their backyards.

  • 77% of Americans believe crime has increased in the U.S. since last year, according to a November Gallup survey, while 55% said crime was rising in their local area.
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