Stories of crime’s littlest victims touch readers

It matters more when it’s our children.

Of the top crime and public safety stories the Atlanta Journal-Constitution produced in 2016, the ones readers engaged in most involved children, either as victim or suspect.

The AJC’s reporting staff is dedicated to telling the story of victims, especially the stories of the youngest among us. These tragic events help shape urgent and necessary conversations about how to best protect our children.

A month before Cobb County’s Justin Ross Harris went to trial in the hot car death of his 22-month-old son, a Carrolton man was arrested and charged in the death of his 15-month-old twins. The case cast new light on such deaths, where parental inattention can have deadly consequences.

Readers also responded to the case of 3-year-old Holston Cole, who shot himself with his father’s gun in their Paulding County home. The parents weren’t charged in the case. However, Holston’s untimely death ignited new debate about whether Georgia needs stricter laws governing gun safety in the home.

The biggest public safety story of 2016 centered on the shocking deaths of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson, two teens killed behind a Roswell grocery store right before they were to start their senior year of high school. The random killing by another teen with a history of mental illness, sparked conversation about the need to treat mental illness and the signs we should look for that might indicate future violence.

Another involved a teen perpetrator. AJC columnist Bill Torpy writes about a 14-year-old boy who aspired to be a member of a Cobb County street gang and who pleaded guilty to killing two men to steal some marijuana.

Top crime stories of 2016:

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