The 2020 COVID pandemic has had long-lasting effects on the Atlanta community. The mandatory quarantine after the initial wave caused a flurry of unforeseen effects. Businesses closed, marriages ended, incidents of domestic violence rose, as well as crime generally.
To make matters worse, the political climate is further dividing us as a society (including a sharp increase in race-related crimes, politically related violence, governmental protests, etc).
Crime rates up 60% in Atlanta
Crime rates in Atlanta have now been on a sharp increase for over a year. This is paralleling nationwide trends in major metropolitan areas. As of June 2021, Atlanta homicide rates are up by 60% compared to 2020. Aggravated Assault, typically with a weapon, is up 20%.
Even with the increase in crimes, the overall arrest rate is down (Atlanta’s police force remains 400+ officers under its authorized level). Sadly, many of these crimes have disproportionately affected the poor living in our disenfranchised neighborhoods.
Which other cities have seen an increase in COVID related violent crimes
Crime rates, especially for violent and aggravated offenses, have seen a steep rise over the past 2 years. Chicago, for example, has seen its 30% reduction of violent crimes between 2017 and 2019 completely eroded.
Across the country the trends are similar. Many leaders and organizations believe that the rise in these crimes has to do with two possible factors. First, at-risk groups have been affected heavily by the pandemic, which could have led to the uptick in criminal activity. Second, many police departments are grappling with some unprecedented staffing issues.
Police leaders have called this issue one of the reasons that this crime wave has persisted. Atlanta has seen the same decrease in police officer numbers and that tracks with the increase in violent crimes.
Other factors are also invariably linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court system and prison system throughout the country suffered a major shock. The same populations at risk of an increase in criminal activity were being stifled through a backed-up system. Baltimore’s Police Commissioner believes that the shutdown of the justice system has a direct link to the increase in criminal activity.
Fortunately, the levels of violent crime are far from the highs of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Still, only time will tell if the police department in our major cities will stay understaffed and if this crime wave will continue to rise.
If you, or someone you love, have been charged with a violent crime and are looking for legal representation, contact our firm today. Click here to contact us.