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APD says domestic violence crimes up 42% while other crimes down significantly during COVID-19 pandemic

Part I crimes, which include murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson are down 26 percent.

ATLANTA — During an Atlanta City Council meeting on Monday, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields outlined what the department has been dealing with during the coronavirus pandemic.

The statistics presented to the council are based on the dates March 11 to May 2. 

She said Part I crimes (murder, manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson) are down 26 percent. 

Violent crime is down 13 percent, she said. In this category, rape calls are down 86 percent and aggravated assault calls are up four percent. 

"The reason for this is the vast majority of our rape calls, typically involve alcohol, bars, the bar scene. When you remove this level of social interaction and all the bars have been closed and people haven't been partying, drinking and dabbling in miscellaneous drugs, we have seen a dramatic drop off in the number of rape reports. 

She said the increase in aggravated assault calls is related to domestic violence - which is up 42 percent.

With that substantial increase in domestic violence reports, the department has found that 80 percent of the calls occurred inside private residences -- with 56 percent of them involving current or former romantic partners. 

Of the domestic violence calls, only two percent were repeat domestic violence locations -- a stat that surprised Shields -- and 40 percent were cleared by arrest on scene. 

She said a lot of "trivial matters" led to "bickering." 

"Just by having individuals confined, we're having conversations and arguments otherwise we would not have," Shields said. 

She said the information gathered led to more training for domestic violence report writing - so that there are not further problems down the road. 

The training opportunities, she said, also come on the investigation side. 

"We really need to make sure that our investigators are not getting conditioned to a certain type of call -- and not recognizing the psychology of a domestic violence victim."

She added that the department needs to collaborate more with the Fulton County District Attorney's office and ensure that they're getting temporary protective orders whenever possible. 

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