ATLANTA, Ga. — An investigation by Channel 2 Action News has found that murders and shooting incidents in Atlanta have soared since the first outbreak of protests and looting in late May.
But overall, police activity continues to be far lower than it was during the same 13-week period a year ago.
Overall serious crime is actually down about 20% for the whole year. Rapes are down nearly 60%. But gun-related violence is on a clear upsurge.
Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Richard Belcher assembled the data by examining 13 weeks (May 31 through August 29) of crime summaries posted by the Atlanta Police Department. He compared that information with information from the same 13-week period last year.
Atlanta had 60 murders in the period we examined. Last year there were 25. That’s a 140% increase.
Shooting incidents in the same period were up 50%. The number of shooting victims was up 52%.
In mid-July, when the rising murder trend was already clear, Channel 2′s Mark Winne asked Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, “Can you turn it around?” Bryant responded, “Absolutely.”
The week before an exasperated Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told reporters after the shooting death of 8-year old Secoria Turner, “Enough is enough!”
But in the weeks since Chief Bryant’s “absolutely” pledge, Atlanta has recorded 29 murders. In the same period last year, there were 13.
APD’s records also show that officers have been far less active than a year ago.
Their union contends that officers are cautious, even passive, fearing that a mistake in a confrontation could get them charged and jailed, like the officers charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in June.
The numbers are revealing.
Arrests for serious crimes are down 48% over the same period in 2019
Total arrests are down 55%.
Narcotics arrests are 70%.
Traffic stops are down 69%, and traffic violations are down 74%.