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VERIFY | Does Atlanta have the fastest rising murder rate of any big city in the country?

Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, made that remark on Wednesday. So is it true? We found this statement needs context.

ATLANTA — Fulton County's District Attorney, Fani Willis has a front-row seat to the crime being seen every day, as she works to bring justice for victims. On Wednesday, she spoke about the "crime crisis" in the metro Atlanta area.

There, she announced that "Atlanta has the fastest rising murder rate of any major city in the United States."

So is that true?

THE QUESTION

Does Atlanta have the fastest rising murder rate of any major city in the United States?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This needs context. For example, it's important to know how far back she is going to get that information.

First, we compared murder and homicide rates for six major cities from 2020 to 2021 year to date: Atlanta, NYC, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas.

Here's what we found regarding murders seen during the 2020 - 2021 YTD time period:

  • Atlanta had a 13% increase
  • New York City had a 2% decrease
  • Los Angeles had a 15% increase
  • Chicago had a 3% increase
  • Philadelphia had an 11% increase
  • Dallas had an 8% decrease

While Los Angeles sits at a 15% increase, it is important to look further. If you compare statistics from APD and LAPD from 2019 to 2021 year to date, statistics show Atlanta's murder rate has gone up by 58% in that time frame, compared to Los Angeles' 47%.

Compare that to Chicago and Philadelphia, which had about a 57% increase throughout those two years. That is still below Atlanta's 58%.

In addition, WalletHub found that Atlanta had the highest increase in homicide rates during COVID-19, heavily surpassing other cities on the list.

So while we only compared Atlanta to the other five major cities, we found that her statement is partially true – but needs context – as it depends how far back you go to analyze data.

Also, to put things into perspective, this is not only in Atlanta. Homicides have gone up statewide and nationwide from 2019 to 2020.

Georgia’s homicide rate was 1.5 times higher last year compared to 2019 and in the U.S. it was 1.3 times higher. 

While last year Georgia had a higher rate than the U.S. for homicide offenses, according to the FBI both the state and the U.S. reached their peak in 1991.