Atlanta officials say violent crime dropped by 17% in 2023

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens presents 2023's crime statistics at Salem Baptist Church on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (Chamian Cruz/WABE).

Despite many headlines surrounding crime last year, the rate of many offenses has dropped since 2022.

Data provided by the Atlanta Police Department shows crimes against people dropped by 17% in 2023.

It includes homicides, which fell 21% compared to 2022. Rapes plummeted by 51%. And aggravated assaults were down by 16%.

At a press conference at Salem Bible Church on Thursday, Jan. 4, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he partially credits the “Year of the Youth.” The initiative is intended to provide young people with job opportunities and community resources to deter them from crime.

“We believe that delivering entertaining and worthy programming to young Atlantans can help provide outlets that nurture and support them and keep them out of harm’s way,” Dickens said.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said there were also fewer shootings last year, and despite a slight increase in property crimes, robberies, burglaries and car break-ins declined.

“We’re removing guns from our streets and going after the gang members and drug dealers that are pulling the triggers on those guns,” Shierbaum said.

In total, police removed more than 3,000 guns from Atlanta’s streets in 2023.

“This last year we refocused on bringing more analysts on,” Shierbaum said. “We refocused on how the department was structured to be able to deploy more resources more quickly. And we went to the places and after the people that we know posed the greatest risk to the community.”

But some unique challenges remained, including a social media trend that led to a string of Kia and Hyundai thefts and scores of protests against the construction of Atlanta’s new public safety training center, called “Cop City” by protestors.

The mayor and police chief are major proponents of the $90 million, 85-acre project. Supporters say it will help attract more officers to the city and replace outdated training facilities, while critics allege it will lead to more police violence and that the funds could be better spent.

In a post on social media following the announcement about Atlanta’s 2023 crime statistics, Gerald Griggs, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP, encouraged officials to shift their focus to other issues.

“So [violent crime] is down around the country, and especially, in Atlanta,” he wrote. “We have been saying that for years. When are we going to see elected officials fully address police accountability?”

The first phase of the training center is expected to open by the end of the year.