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Atlanta's crime rate is worse than Chicago -- for certain crimes

Even though Chicago is a larger city with more crime, per capita, the likelihood of being a victim of certain crimes is higher in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — After a recent violent weekend in Atlanta, where at least 15 people were shot, leaves many people concerned for their safety, claiming violent crimes are up.

11Alive has been looking at data for shootings, robberies and car break-ins. There's a common theme to our reporting: our readers' comments.

“Turning into Chicago,” Micki Gray wrote on 11Alive’s Facebook page.

“Getting like Chicago,” Ella West commented.

“We’re catching up to Chicago,” Jonathan Glass wrote.

Similar statements were made in 2021, comparing the two large metropolitan cities.

Just a year prior, many people sounded off similarly, citing the same connection between Atlanta and Chicago specifically. So, 11Alive set out to compare crime rates again and to see if a person is more likely to be a victim of certain crimes in Atlanta than in Chicago.

RELATED: Car break-ins up, carjackings down in Atlanta

We wanted to follow up on last year's reporting, to see if anything’s changed. This is what we found.

THE QUESTION

Is Atlanta’s crime rate worse or similar to Chicago’s? 

THE SOURCES

Atlanta Police Department Crime Data for 2021 and 2022, year to date.

Chicago Police Department Crime Data for 2021 and 2022, year to date.

2020 Census Data

The original story was done in May of 2021, so we used five months of data from both police departments in the cities. 

This time, 11Alive looked at statistics from January to July – so 11Alive's Hope Ford also looked at two additional months of data compared to her last report in 2021. We’re also including all crimes reported on both police departments’ websites, to give a full picture of crime in both cities. 

THE ANSWER

   

This is true.

Yes -- for certain crimes, especially what is considered violent.

WHAT WE FOUND

To verify, 11Alive used the same process as before, going straight for the data openly available on both police departments' websites. Since Chicago is bigger than Atlanta with more than 2.6 million people compared to Atlanta’s near half a million residents, we broke down the crime rate per 100,000 people. We only looked at the cities themselves, so no metro areas and we did not use data from sheriffs' departments.

In the previous story, a person in Atlanta was more likely to be a victim of murder, shootings, and aggravated assault than in Chicago at the time.

It seems that remains the same for at least two of those crimes.

For the most violent crimes, in Chicago in 2022, there’s been 351 murders, 3,070 aggravated assaults, 1,094 rapes, and 4,346 robberies.

For Atlanta, in 2022, there’s been 86 murders, 1,921 aggravated assaults, 88 rapes, and 379 robberies 

Adjusting for population, the murder rate for Chicago is 13 per 100,000, aggravated assault rate is 114 per 100,000, rape is 41 per 100,000, and, the robbery rate in Chicago is 161 per 100,000 

The murder rate for Atlanta is 17 per 100,000, aggravated assault 386 per 100,000, rape is 18 per 100,000, and the robbery rate is 76 per 100,000.

Property Crimes

For property crimes, there have been 3,901 burglaries, 7,169 motor vehicle thefts, and 9,554 thefts in Chicago.

For Atlanta, there have been 918 burglaries/ breaking and entering, 1,582 motor vehicle thefts, and 7,167 thefts. In Atlanta, theft is broken down into shoplifting, theft from motor vehicle, and all other larceny. Chicago groups their data for these three areas into theft in general.

Again, adjusting for population, the burglary rate is 145 per 100,000, motor vehicle theft is 266 per 100,000, and 354 per 100,000 for theft.

For Atlanta, burglaries are 184 per 100,000, 318 per 100,000 for motor vehicle theft, and 1,440 per 100,000 for all other thefts.

So, while there’s more crime in Chicago than in Atlanta, a person would be more likely to be a victim of murder, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft than in Chicago.

While in Chicago, a person is more likely to be a victim of sexual assault or robbery.

Below is the raw data followed by the rate comparison.

Chicago, Year to Date, Week Ending July 17.

351 murders

3,070 aggravated assaults

1,094 rapes (criminal sexual assault)

4,346 robberies (non-motor vehicle)

7,169 motor-vehicle theft

3,901 burglaries

9,554 theft

Atlanta, Year to Date, Week Ending July 16

86 murders

1,921 aggravated assaults

88 rapes

379 robberies

1,582 motor vehicle theft

918 burglary/breaking and entering

4,475 theft from motor vehicle

845 shoplifting

1,847 all other larceny

7,167 thefts (from motor vehicle, shoplifting, all other larceny total)

Chicago, rates per 100,000 people

Murder 13 per 100,000

Aggravated Assault 114 per 100,000

Rape 41 per 100,000

Robbery 161 per 100,000

Motor Vehicle Theft 266 per 100,000

Burglaries 145 per 100,000

Thefts 354 per 100,000

Atlanta, rates per 100,000 people 

Murder 17 per 100,000

Aggravated Assault 386 per 100,000

Rape 18 per 100,000

Robbery 76 per 100,000

Motor Vehicle Theft 318 per 100,000

Burglaries 184 per 100,000

Thefts 1440 per 100,000

   

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