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Crime in Atlanta | Up, or down since Reed left office?

Though murders have jumped -- violent crime overall is down in the city.

ATLANTA — Two candidates for mayor of Atlanta are skirmishing over the issue of crime.  A well-funded challenger – former city hall aide Sharon Gay – took on former Mayor Kasim Reed.  

She claimed Reed is misstating crime data and claiming too much credit for a drop in crime during his eight years in office.  

When Reed talked with 11Alive's Shiba Russell earlier this month about his latest run for mayor, he said this:

"If you look at my whole record, when I left office, crime was the lowest that it has been in forty years."

Gay responded Tuesday: "To confuse people with inaccurate facts is not correct and it’s not useful."

That left us with a question.

THE QUESTION

Was crime higher during Kasim Reed’s administration than it is now?

THE SOURCES

For answers, we scoured crime report data posted on the Atlanta Police Department’s website. 

The reports outline what the FBI describes as the four classifications of violent crime: murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

THE ANSWER

Overall, violent crime is lower now, statistically, than it was during Reed’s administration. But violent crime also dropped significantly while Reed was mayor.

WHAT WE FOUND

In 2009, the final year of Shirley Franklin’s administration, there were 5,400 violent crimes. That number dropped by almost ten percent during Reed’s first year, and mostly continued to drop during his eight years as mayor.  

The drop continued during Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ first year in office – but then climbed a bit during Bottoms’ second two years.

In 2020, APD recorded 3,391 violent crimes – higher than 2019, but substantially lower than in any of Reed’s eight years as mayor.

That’s driven in part by a sharp drop in reported robberies – more than 2600 in 2010, Reed’s first year in office; 1400 his final year in 2017. Records show 852 robberies reported in 2020.  That represents a 65 percent drop in Atlanta robberies.

Overall, it’s verified that violent crime is lower now, statistically, than it was during Reed’s administration. However, violent crime also dropped significantly while Reed was Atlanta's mayor..

When asked if Reed deserves some credit for leading the city as crime dropped, Gay said, "Some credit? Yes.'

"But leaders also have to be factual and accurate," Gay added.

Reed’s campaign spokesperson sent us a statement saying, “the time for finger pointing is over. Residents should ask themselves if the city is better off than it was 39 months ago and take that answer with them to the voting booth in November.”  

Reed publicly kicks off his campaign Wednesday.