In Atlanta, violent crime is down while property crime is up

Click on the link to hear the interview ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - Fewer crimes happened in 2008 than in…

Georgia (Sep 15, 2009) — Click on the link to hear the interview


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ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - Fewer crimes happened in 2008 than in 2007. That's according to new FBI statistics released today.

However, some observers warn the picture of crime in Atlanta and the nation has many more details.

WABE's Charles Edwards reports

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report breaks down offenses into 2 categories: violent crimes and property crimes. In Atlanta, about 670 fewer violent crimes were reported in 2008 than the previous year. Robert Friedmann is a criminal justice professor at Georgia State University.

FRIEDMANN "When you look at the numbers of crimes committed while they are going downwards, the actual picture is the crime rate is still at a fairly high level."

Especially, when it comes to property crime. There were about 27 hundred more property crimes reported in 2008 than in 2007. But Rebecca Petersen says you have to look at the numbers even closer. The Kennesaw State University professor says burglaries and thefts are up while motor vehicle theft is down.

PETERSEN: "People are not stealing cars as much as they used to but they appear to be slightly more likely to engage in say shoplifting or theft or stealing things from people's homes when they're not around."

Maybe that's because of the recession. The theory is more people are unemployed meaning they need money have a lot of time on their hands during the day.
And that's what citizens have been shouting to Mayor Shirley Franklin and Police chief Richard Pennington. In response, both officials announced plans to put more officers on the street. But they've also pointed to the statistical decrease in crime.

However, Kennesaw State's Rebecca Peterson says the recent numbers only show what happened from one year to the next. She and other experts recommend going back at least 5 years.

PETERSEN: "because we don't know what's going on in that one year. We don't know if that one year was an aberration or if it was just sort of an unusual year for whatever reason. "

Experts also say the FBI's numbers are only one reporting tool that officials can use in making decisions on public safety. The FBI also recommends people don't read too much into the numbers.

The Atlanta Police Department was not available by air time.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit