Atlanta is Safe

April 9, 2014 8:31 am

by Ed · 24 comments

The Atlanta Police Foundation’s annual crime report found an almost-across-the-board decrease in crime in Atlanta from 2012 to 2013. Even better–crime in our fair city is at its lowest level in decades.

From The Atlanta Business Chronicle: major crimes decreased by 3.6%, violent crimes by 4% and property crimes by 3.6%. Murder was up by 1.2% unfortunately. However, crime overall since 2002 dropped 30% which is 16% better than the national average.

“Crime in Atlanta is the lowest in 44 years and down 63 percent from its highest level in 1989,” said Dave Wilkinson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Police Foundation, in a statement. “Additionally, Atlanta continuous to see declines at faster and larger margins than national trends. The report gives an unbiased view of the impact our public safety strategies and partnerships are making towards the goal of making Atlanta the safest large city in the country.”

The report confirms what those of us who actually live in Atlanta have known for a long time: that Atlanta is a safe city. The only reason to be fearful of Atlanta is if you’re a suburbanite who never breaches the perimeter. Anyway, here is still more demonization of Atlanta that needs to stop.

greencracker April 9, 2014 at 8:42 am

Shh … Keep this on the DL or people are going to move in here, cause traffic and drive up rents & property taxes.

Ed April 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

Good point. As Li’l Scrappy once said: FILA.

penguin April 9, 2014 at 9:34 am

I doubt silly things like facts and statistics, would dissuade people from their deeply-held provincial predispositions. After all, there’s no refuting that fact that you will see people of various income levels, beliefs, and who look nothing like you –> AVOID

Rambler14 April 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

“The only reason to be fearful of Atlanta is if you’re a suburbanite who never breaches the perimeter.”

Comparing their city to their city 15 years ago looks like a good news story.
How do today’s crime rates compare to said suburbs?

Ed April 9, 2014 at 8:57 am

Lots of eyeroll in such a short post but… 1) its actually an important comparison and 2) I’d be happy to see some crime reports for Gwinnett and Cobb but I do know that major gangs like MS-13 have established Gwinnett as their home base.

Also worth mentioning is that as the ‘burbs grow diverse and become filled with immigrant communities there will be an increase in crime. Just FWIW…

drjay April 9, 2014 at 8:58 am

just so long as they keep marta out, i bet the burbs will be just fine…

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 9, 2014 at 9:55 am

With over 700,000 people and a poverty rate of about 12% in Cobb County and with nearly 860,000 people and a poverty rate of about 14% in Gwinnett County, outlying areas like Cobb and Gwinnett counties cannot necessarily be considered suburbs anymore in the strictest and most-traditional sense.

Sure, there are still a lot of traditional higher-income suburban areas in those counties, but there are also many urban elements to those traditionally-suburban counties now.

Criminals don’t need transit to get into suburban counties when they can just hop in a car, jump on a high-speed freeway and be in the suburbs in a fraction of the time that it would take them on transit.

Heck, with the abundance of lower-cost rental and starter housing throughout the suburbs, many criminals just live in the suburbs. At this point in time, transit probably needs criminals much more than criminals need transit to commit crime.

Rich April 9, 2014 at 10:58 am

I invite you to stroll around downtown Decatur, Dr. Jay (and anyone else who equates transit to crime). Take MARTA.

drjay April 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm

i invite you to read my comment again, out loud, with a really snarky voice to get its intended tone…

maybe it wasn’t a good one, if i have to explain it–but it was kind of a joke–part of an ongoing theme here–marta was even the subject of an april fools day post last week…

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 9, 2014 at 9:34 am

“but I do know that major gangs like MS-13 have established Gwinnett as their home base”

That’s an understatement as Gwinnett County has a well-known and well-deserved reputation in law enforcement and Latin American criminal circles as being the illegal drug distribution center of the entire Eastern North American continent.

Link to USA Today article titled “Mexican cartels plague Atlanta”:
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-03-08-mex-cartels_N.htm?csp=34
From the article in the link:
“Nahmias calls northeast suburban Gwinnett County, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, the “epicenter” of the region’s drug activity.”

Rambler14 April 9, 2014 at 10:59 am

I agree with all 3 of your points.

I just think answering the question “Is Atlanta safe” requires an analysis of crime rates in the surrounding areas instead of comparing it to data 15 years ago and showing an improvement.

Ed April 9, 2014 at 11:35 am

Is the metro area safer as a whole? Probably, but that’s “true” everywhere. For us ITP-ers, we’re substantially better off than we were a decade ago. There’s many reasons for that including the unified civic front to tackle the problem, an increase in gentrification, having the first fully-staffed APD in a long long time…

Ed April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1307/130716atlanta.htm

Anyway, point is that regardless of whether OTP may or may not be safe, Atlanta is and there comes a point where relative levels of safety are pretty academic.

Rich April 9, 2014 at 9:11 am

I once tried a slightly more than half-hearted search and couldn’t determine crime status for downtown Atlanta vs. the sprawl. What prompted me was noticing that local news more often had stories around or outside the perimeter.

We have channels that devote 8+ hours a day to the area and do everything to fill the time. When a tree falls in someones yard a news crew arrives. Yet it is so rare a crime is committed near the area most stations have their studios that I began to take notice.

I’d like to know the answer though, if any investigative journalists who actually get paid for their curiosity happen to be reading.

northside101 April 9, 2014 at 9:15 am

“Atlanta is a safe city.”

Hmmm…maybe I should try walking down English Avenue near the Dome at 2 in the morning (or 2 in the day for that matter), or over in Mechanicsville across the freeway from Turner Field. Probably news to the many Georgia State students who have been robbed or had their cars broken into over the years (add Tech students to that),,,to the pastor of a southeast Atlanta church who saw major damage to his facilities a few days “thanks” to some copper thieves…to the northside Atlanta neighborhoods who have had to pay for extra security (in addition to high property taxes) after years of break-ins…to the tourists profiled recently in the AJC who were ripped off of $50 by a con artist at Underground….to the staffers of Michelle Nunn’s Senate campaign who were robbed at gunpoint outside their HQ in Midtown by two 16 year-olds And of course it would be interesting to know how much of Atlanta’s crime has been “exported” to the suburbs, like East Point (which seems to make the news every week on its crime), Clayton County, south DeKalb, even Sandy Springs? We should keep in mind the city’s population is far below its peak in 1970.

David C April 9, 2014 at 9:49 am

Reminder: The plural of anecdote is not data.

Ed April 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

Your comment is awful. Trying to decide if I want to de-bunk it or not.

greencracker April 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm

In all fairness, when I lived in West End, a potted plant got stolen from my front porch on Mothers Day Eve. You bet I pressed charges. #crime

Dave Bearse April 9, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Atlanta’s current population is about 10% less than it’s 1970 peak. That’s significant, but most wouldn’t describe that as “far below”.

The report’s numbers are total crimes, not crime rates, so the crime rate reduction likely exceeds 30%.

South Fulton Guy April 9, 2014 at 9:51 am

“far below it’s peak in 1970?” According to the US Census numbers in 1970 the population was 496,973 and in 2010 it was 420,003. With the influx of residents in the past four years that is no statistically insignificant.

dsean April 9, 2014 at 10:52 am

As someone who actually lives in town (EAV), I have to call BS on at least part of this. APD juices their numbers considerably. Break-ins and attempted break-ins are reported as vandalism. On their crime reporting computers (in the police car), there isn’t even an option to select attempted burglary or attempted larceny. Atlanta may well be safer than it was 10 or 20 years ago, but I don’t trust the data that they’re using to make that claim.

Dave Bearse April 9, 2014 at 8:06 pm

“However, crime overall since 2002 dropped 30% which is 16% better than the national average.” Sloppy conveyance of the figures Ed.

From the report: “Total Crime dropped 30 percent in Atlanta from 2002‐2012 compared to only 14
percent nationally.”

A 30% Atlanta drop relative to a national 14% drop is 214% better than the national average, 13 time more than 16%.

Harry April 9, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Our Gwinnett developers worked hand to pocket with the criminal commissioners to see that plenty of cheap apartments and housing were built so as to accommodate an influx of crime families from Mexico and Atlanta. Atlanta’s loss was Gwinnett’s gain.

The Last Democrat in Georgia April 10, 2014 at 12:05 am

Not only did Gwinnett developers work very-closely with Gwinnett commissioners to aggressively overbuild the county with cheap apartments and housing, but a few Gwinnett developers actually became county commissioners so that they could be more-effective (and make bigger profits) overbuilding the county with cheap development.

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