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VERIFY: Atlanta crime versus Chicago. Here's what we found

We crunched the numbers and, adjusting for population, in Atlanta, you’re more likely to be a victim of murder, shootings, and aggravated assault than in Chicago.

ATLANTA — Because of the number of shootings in the city of Atlanta recently, a lot of people are obviously concerned.

Nineteen shootings and six deaths in one weekend are enough to leave most people on edge. When we posted an article about the weekend of violence, many comments flooded in, making a similar comparison.

“Another Chicago,” wrote Al Fralick.

“Atlanta AKA the new Chicago, Ann Matzkanin commented.

“Is Atlanta trying to outdo Chicago?” Julia Wingler wondered.

THE QUESTION

We set out to verify if Atlanta’s crime rate is worse or similar to Chicago’s and if you’re more likely to be a victim of certain violent crimes in Atlanta.

THE SOURCES

Atlanta Police Department Crime Data for 2020 and 2021, year to date.

Chicago Police Department Crime Data for 2020 and 2021, year to date.

2019 Census Data

THE ANSWER

Yes. Overall and currently

WHAT WE FOUND

To verify, we went straight for the data. We pulled violent crime data from the Atlanta Police Department and the Chicago Police Department for both the years 2020 and so far in 2021.

In both departments, crimes are broken down by shootings, murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny from auto, larceny other, and auto theft.

We looked at the most violent of these crimes, shootings, murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery.

Chicago is obviously bigger than Atlanta. According to 2019 data from the U.S. Census website, Chicago had more than 2.6 million people compared to Atlanta’s half a million residents.

To make the comparison a bit more even, 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 sheriff departments.

We also looked at the same time for both years, January to May.

In 2020, Chicago had 160 murders, 650 shootings, 578 aggravated assaults, 578 rapes, and 160 robberies

For the same time in Atlanta, the city saw 29 murders, 172 shootings, 626 aggravated assaults, 33 rapes, and 255 robberies.

But, when we adjust for population and look at how likely you are to be a victim per 100,000 people, things change dramatically. The likelihood of being murdered in both cities is the same, 6 per 100,000 people. In Atlanta, you’re more likely to be a victim of aggravated assault {124 per 100,000} than in Chicago {21 per 100,000.} The same is true for shootings. The shooting rate is 34 per 100,000 in Atlanta and 24 per 100,000 in Chicago.

As for rape, Chicago is worse, with 21 per 100,000 compared to Atlanta’s 7 per 100,000.

For 2021, from January to now, Chicago has 195 murders, 865 shootings, 648 rapes, 2218 robberies, and 1,576 aggravated assaults.

In Atlanta, it’s 44 murders, 243 shootings, 55 rapes, 260 robberies, 260 robberies, and 841 aggravated assaults.

Again, adjusting for population, in Atlanta, you’re more likely to be a victim of murder, shootings, and aggravated assault than in Chicago.

Atlanta - 2021

  • Murder, 9 per 100,000
  • Aggravated Assault, 166 per 100,000
  • Shootings, 48 per 100,000
  • Rape, 11 per 100,000
  • Robbery, 51 per 100,000

Chicago - 2021

  • Murder, 7 per 100,000
  • Aggravated Assault, 59 per 100,000
  • Shootings, 32 per 100,000
  • Rape, 24 per 100,000
  • Robbery, 82 per 100,000

So, just based on the data provided by the two police departments, while Chicago has more crime, you’re more likely to be a victim of certain violent crimes in Atlanta.