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Atlanta Police chief says targeting gang members, drug dealers helped bring homicide rate down

As of July 3, Atlanta Police have investigated 57 homicides compared to 88 this time in 2022.

ATLANTA — Atlanta Police Department officers responded to two deadly shootings within hours of each other Sunday night, marking the 56th and 57th homicide so far thiyear in the city.

According to the agency's latest data available, homicides are down 54 percent and aggravated assaults are down 18 percent from 2022. 

As of July 3, APD has investigated 57 homicides compared to 88 in 2022 and 62 in 2021. During this same time, police have investigated 1,082 aggravated assaults this year, compared to 1,279 in 2022 and 1,217 in 2021. 

Aggravated assault is defined as the "intent to murder, to rape, or to rob" a victim typically with some type of weapon or object used during the crime. 

There are a number of factors that play into these trends but APD has publicly stated they're targeting "gangs, guns and drugs" across the city. 

At a recent city council meeting, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said drug dealers are a top target.

"Likely to be the third highest motivator for homicides in your districts," Schierbaum explained to the council. 

He added they've increased gang charges by 80 percent. 

RELATED: Law that targets gang recruitment in Georgia goes into effect

"That will show in our reductions around homicides as well as aggravated assaults, robberies and gangs," Scheribaum said. 

The chief said hiring more officers is also a top priority. He said the department's goal is to hire 250 officers by the end of the year. He also mentioned APD hopes to graduate 112 recruits from the academy as well.

He was clear, however, that APD can't prevent every violent crime. He's asking for parents, the community and faith leaders to help. 

As Atlanta heads into the summer months and the temperatures heat up, it's typical to see crime increase. 

A study by the University of Southern California showed violent crime rates increase by as much as six percent when temperatures hit 85 degrees and above. 

Atlanta Police hope that's not the case across the city. 

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