ATLANTA -- The numbers are going up.

Atlanta Police said they are investigating an uptick in gang-related shootings, just within the past month.

For months, 11Alive News has told you about rising gang problems across the country. But what’s different, now, Atlanta Police say they are noticing the shootings are happening back to back.

“What’s unusual about these recent gang shootings is that they’re coming together so close
in proximity. That lets us know that there's an issue brewing between the gangs,” said Atlanta Police Sgt. Warren Pickard. “There's some type of hostile or aggravated circumstances that makes them appear to be attacking one another.”

The numbers tell the story: Already this year, the Atlanta Police Department has seen an 8 percent increase in aggravated assaults compared to 2015. From May 1 to May 26 of this year, APD has investigated 49 shootings.

The majority of those happened in Zone 1 and Zone 4, which covers northwest Atlanta. Of those shootings, APD believes at least six are directly tied to gang activity – including a Saturday night street fight on Cordova Street, where four people were shot. APD says as many as 40 people were involved in that incident.

“So you're just shooting randomly and you're subject to hit someone who's not involved in this altercation,” Pickard said. “You're subject to have a stray bullet go thru someone's house and hit an innocent child, so those issues are very concerning to us.”

So why is this happening?

Pickard says so far, police have not been able to nail down a reason. He says the gang unit routinely investigates all shootings to determine whether gang activity is suspected, but now the unit is working around the clock to slow this new pattern.