Homicides are down 53%, new Atlanta data says violence on decline
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Tuesday, city officials celebrated new data that shows a significant downward trend in violent crimes to people, compared to a year ago.
“This is significant. That means fewer people are being shot or hurt in the city of Atlanta, and I thank god and the people of Atlanta for that,” said Mayor Andre Dickens, in an interview with Atlanta News First.
For the week ending March 18, homicides are down 53 percent year-over-year, incidences of rape are down 65%, and aggravated assaults dropped 19%, according to the City of Atlanta.
Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said data reports like this dictate how their department fights crime.
“We’re using the data to tell us where to go and who to focus on,” said Chief Schierbaum, in an interview with Atlanta News First on Tuesday. “So we know there are certain actions [like] drug dealing, gang activity, illegal passion of guns [that] if it goes unchecked, it will create violent crime,” Schierbaum said.
Schierbaum credited the diligence of his officers and said that he’s looking to expand it’s size in the coming years.
He said APD currently has roughly 1600 officers. He said the mayor has approved growing the force to 2,035 officers.
Schierbaum this data report includes teenagers so he was pleased to see signs that teen violence is dropping.
“We saw some tragic occurrences last year of teens killing teens in our city. We’ve seen those occurrences decrease this year,” Schierbaum said.
Schierbaum also credited partnerships with other agencies in reducing crime. He pointed specifically to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her efforts in targeting gangs.
“We have a great district attorney. That is prosecuting the cases we’re bringing here. So this is a team effort,” Schierbaum said.
In addressing the crime trends, the mayor credited continued messaging of de-escalation along with providing more opportunities to teens.
In Clayton County, non-profit ‘I’m a Father First’ has been working with teens to help them sidestep gun violence.
“We do the weekly task force meeting, and, I didn’t want to commit to something weekly, to be honest at first, but it was needed,” said Keith Lewis, founder.
On Wednesday, Lewis was conducting a ‘Stop the Bleed’ training to help teens learn how to be prepared in violence intervention.
“We wanted to be equipped to know how to say this is how you stop this,” said Lewis.
“This hands on training, this consistency is going to make the numbers curb. But now is the tricky part going into spring break into summer. It’s going to take everyone collectively working together,” Lewis said.
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