ATLANTA — We've heard it a lot this year: "crime is rising."
Whether it's Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms giving an update, Governor Brian Kemp pledging to give support to law enforcement to fight gangs, or public safety committees coming together to find solutions - crime has been a top discussion.
But, the focus sometimes seems to be heaviest on Atlanta. Recently, during a Public Safety Homeland Security Meeting aimed at reducing crime in the state, Rep. Mack Jackson said, "We're not only having it in Atlanta, we're experiencing a rise in crime too in rural communities."
The 11Alive VERIFY team looked at the numbers from eight Georgia counties: Forsyth, Gwinnett, Cherokee, DeKalb, Henry, Paulding, Douglas, and Rockdale.
Here's what the numbers say.
Is there a rise in crime in other Georgia communities, similar to the city of Atlanta?
Yes, but it needs context.
WHAT WE FOUND
11Alive asked several law enforcement offices, but the aforementioned eight counties were the ones who responded with the most data. We went with the largest law enforcement agencies, instead of smaller police departments in those areas, to give an overview of crime.
We complied data from 2017 to June 30, 2021. For the purpose of this story, we used data from 2019, 2020, and 2021, to see the most recent increase and decreases in crime.
Data from 2019-2020
Let's start with 2019 and 2020 comparisons for murder, rape, and aggravated assault.
Out of the eight locations, DeKalb County is the one that saw an increase in all three categories.
Forsyth County, saw a decrease in all three categories.
Murder rates increase in Cherokee and Gwinnett counties, while rape increased in Douglas, Paulding, and DeKalb. Aggravated assaults increased in all counties (except Forsyth) from 2019 to 2020.
► Scroll down to see county crime numbers
Let's look at crimes that tend to be the least violent, like burglaries. In all eight counties, burglaries decreased from 2019 to 2020. Only Forsyth and Rockdale saw increase in robberies and auto thefts increased in Douglas and Rockdale counties.
Crime data from this year compared to 2020
Now, let's look at how 2021 (January 1 - June 30) stacks up against 2020 so far. We're putting down the largest increase we've seen in each area.
In Forsyth, rapes are at 100% of what was reported in 2020 and aggravated assaults are at 60%.
Rockdale County passed the total number of murders reported in 2020, just in the first six months of 2021. Rape is also higher in the county.
Douglas County is matching the same number of murders already in 2021 and burglaries are more than 60% of what was reported the year before.
Same in Cherokee, with the same number of murders as 2020 and auto thefts making up nearly 60-percent from the year before.
Paulding County has doubled the number of murders in 2021.
Rapes are up in Gwinnett, and every crime is almost at half of what was reported in 2020.
DeKalb is seeing the biggest increase in aggravated assaults; those cases are already up at 82% of what was reported the year. Every other crime – except robbery – are already more than 50 percent of what was reported last year.
Finally, in Henry County, reported rapes already passed 2020’s total numbers.
So, we can VERIFY, crimes have increased in other Georgia communities outside the city of Atlanta. But, it depends on the type of crime and the location, as some crimes have decreased compared to previous years.
Data shows where crime rates are at in some Georgia counties
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