The department released its latest crime statistics report last week, indicating an 8% increase in homicides in 2021 for the week ending Aug. 14 compared to the same time period in 2020 and a 58% increase in homicides over 2019.
“Violent crime is still a challenge. We are attempting to adjust what we do and how we do it to address the issues that are before us,” Assistant Chief Todd Coyt told the Atlanta City Council during a public meeting, adding that the Atlanta PD has made “some gains” after reorganizing certain areas of the department.
Between April and June of 2021 compared to April and June of 2020, there has been a 19% increase in murders, and total crimes are up 15%, according to statistics from the Atlanta PD presented at the meeting.
Between January and August 2021, murders have increased 8% and total offenses have risen 12%.
“Violent crimes — more specifically, homicides, rapes and aggravated assaults — are troublesome,” Coyt said. “Additionally, auto thefts and auto larcenies are driving the crime. The vast majority of our violent crime involves individuals that know each other. Our investigators and officers are making arrests. However, we want to get in the place where we stop the incident from happening.”
Approximately 60% of homicides and 90% of rapes involve individuals who know each other, Coyt explained before calling on community members to help stop incidents before they happen.
Additionally, the Atlanta PD recorded an increase of 127 shooting victims in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter. Nearly 400 weapons were stolen from vehicles in the second quarter of 2021, as Fox 5 Atlanta first reported.
“Weapons stolen from vehicles is still a huge problem,” Coyt said. “We are recovering a large amount of weapons. … [A] large amount of weapons that are stolen are from visitors in the downtown and the north part of the city. I ask again, if you come into the city and you have to leave a weapon in the vehicle, please secure the weapon in a locked box or a safe in the vehicle.”
Coyt added that the department is seeing an increase in new applications in 2021 and encouraged community members to say thank you to officers when they see them.