Atlanta homicides trending higher this year, but other crimes decrease

February 10, 2022 Atlanta: One person was killed in a shooting Thursday morning, Feb. 10, 2022 at a southwest Atlanta apartment complex. Atlanta police are still collecting evidence at the Appletree Apartments in the 2300 block of Campbellton Road, located just south of Adams Park. Officers responded to the complex shortly before 11 a.m. and found the victim dead outside one of the buildings. “It is the very early stages of this investigation,” Atlanta police Maj. Carlo Peek told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the scene. “I don’t have motive or a suspect to share with you at this time.” Investigators believe the victim was shot in the parking lot. A door to an apartment was left ajar not far from where the body was found, Peek said.
“We ask if anybody out here heard, saw anything, if you would please call Atlanta police homicide or Crime Stoppers,” he said. “We would greatly appreciate it.” Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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February 10, 2022 Atlanta: One person was killed in a shooting Thursday morning, Feb. 10, 2022 at a southwest Atlanta apartment complex. Atlanta police are still collecting evidence at the Appletree Apartments in the 2300 block of Campbellton Road, located just south of Adams Park. Officers responded to the complex shortly before 11 a.m. and found the victim dead outside one of the buildings. “It is the very early stages of this investigation,” Atlanta police Maj. Carlo Peek told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the scene. “I don’t have motive or a suspect to share with you at this time.” Investigators believe the victim was shot in the parking lot. A door to an apartment was left ajar not far from where the body was found, Peek said. “We ask if anybody out here heard, saw anything, if you would please call Atlanta police homicide or Crime Stoppers,” he said. “We would greatly appreciate it.” Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

She had only lived in her northwest Atlanta apartment a few months. Chandra Kemp had moved from a different Atlanta neighborhood to what she thought was a safer place, a neighbor said.

But as she stood in her kitchen making dinner one evening, a bullet flew through a window and struck the 49-year-old in the back. Kemp died 11 days later, becoming the city’s third homicide of the year.

Weeks after 2021 ended with 158 homicide cases in Atlanta, topping the historically deadly 2020 tally, the number of 2022 cases was already ahead of last year’s total, according to data from the city’s police department. Officers investigated 16 homicides in January, up from nine in January 2021. By Feb. 14, the city had recorded 20 homicides, up from 15 on the same date last year. The number of rape cases and burglaries was also higher in the new year.

But crime data show declines in other crimes, including aggravated assault, robbery, and motor vehicle theft — a win for both the police department and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who has promised to tackle crime. Crime had been one of the driving forces behind the now scuttled movement to create the city of Buckhead. The effort ended last week after both Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston announced their opposition.

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February 10, 2022 Atlanta: A police surveillance tower overlooks Lenox Square on Thursday, Feb. 10,2022. Continuing a string of violent incidents at Lenox Square, a man who had just bought a new pair of pricey Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers recently became the latest victim of violent crime on the luxury mall’s property. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

February 10, 2022 Atlanta: A police surveillance tower overlooks Lenox Square on Thursday, Feb. 10,2022. Continuing a string of violent incidents at Lenox Square, a man who had just bought a new pair of pricey Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers recently became the latest victim of violent crime on the luxury mall’s property.  (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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February 10, 2022 Atlanta: A police surveillance tower overlooks Lenox Square on Thursday, Feb. 10,2022. Continuing a string of violent incidents at Lenox Square, a man who had just bought a new pair of pricey Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers recently became the latest victim of violent crime on the luxury mall’s property. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

“Crime is more of an issue but I feel no less safe today than I have ever in my life,” Caren Bharwani, Atlanta resident and mother of three, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We take reasonable, normal precautions. We don’t make ourselves easy targets.”

A lifelong Buckhead resident, Bharwani is part of Neighbors for United Atlanta, a group opposed to cityhood. Her family doesn’t live in fear of crime, and Bharwani said she’s always been a Lenox Square customer.

So far this year, Lenox ranks first citywide for reports of larceny, although the number of reports is down by 36% year-to-date, according to Atlanta police crime data. At least four robberies have been reported at locations near the mall in 2022.

In late January, a man who had just bought a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1 sneakers was robbed at gunpoint in the mall parking lot, according to police. Last year, a man told police he was shot in the Lenox parking lot in August. In June, two 15-year-olds were arrested after they allegedly attempted to rob a Lenox Square security guard after mall hours and then shot him, leaving him critically injured.

APD and mall management have increased security and in September a “youth supervision program” was implemented requiring minors to be accompanied by adults after 3 p.m. Lenox Square already has a mini police precinct in the mall and this summer, the Zone 2 West Village Mini-Precinct, located near the intersection of busy Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads, will open.

Southwest Atlanta resident Tricia Harris said Buckhead isn’t where the most serious crimes occur. This year, one homicide has been investigated in Zone 2, which includes Buckhead. Harris, a single mother, lives within walking distance of the Zone 4 police precinct on Cascade Circle.

There’s a city park on her street, so Harris sees kids outside walking every day. Some walk to a local store by themselves, and she often worries about their safety. A year ago, David Mack, just a few years older than her son, was one of the city’s homicide victims. His case remains under investigation.

“No one in Buckhead has to drive their carpool route by where a 12-year-old was shot and killed,” Harris said. “Cityhood would not insulate them. It has to be a holistic city solution.”

Her community is close-knit, she says. But until systemic poverty issues are addressed, Harris worries that crime in the area will continue.

“Crime knows no zip codes or city limits,” she said.

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020922 ATLANTA: David Mack's aunts Ayana Riley (from left), Radiah Allen, and grandmother Glenda Mack become emotional during a press conference by the family looking for answers a year after his murder on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Atlanta. David Mack, 12, disappeared, after saying he was going to visit a friend. The next day, his body was found along the concrete slope of Utoy Creek in some woods near his home. David’s grieving family is sure there is someone out there who could come forward to help them find out who shot and killed him, and why. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

020922 ATLANTA: David Mack's aunts Ayana Riley (from left), Radiah Allen, and grandmother Glenda Mack become emotional during a press conference by the family looking for answers a year after his murder on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Atlanta. David Mack, 12, disappeared, after saying he was going to visit a friend. The next day, his body was found along the concrete slope of Utoy Creek in some woods near his home. David’s grieving family is sure there is someone out there who could come forward to help them find out who shot and killed him, and why.
  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Combined ShapeCaption
020922 ATLANTA: David Mack's aunts Ayana Riley (from left), Radiah Allen, and grandmother Glenda Mack become emotional during a press conference by the family looking for answers a year after his murder on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Atlanta. David Mack, 12, disappeared, after saying he was going to visit a friend. The next day, his body was found along the concrete slope of Utoy Creek in some woods near his home. David’s grieving family is sure there is someone out there who could come forward to help them find out who shot and killed him, and why. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Police officials hope a new camera integration system will continue to help investigators. Connect Atlanta, a network of more than 4,500 surveillance cameras across the city, will allow officers to pull up footage on their cellphones and laptops before they even get to a scene.

“We’re moving from a video integration center to a real-time crime center,” said Chief Rodney Bryant.

He hopes the new technology will make his officers more proactive in addressing crime. The technology was a key tool after a Jan. 24 drive-by shooting in southwest Atlanta that killed 6-month-old Grayson Fleming-Gray, Bryant said. Within 24 hours, officers made the first of two arrests in the case.

APD has said “irresponsible gun ownership” has led to many of the shootings in 2022, including the one that killed Chandra Kemp.

“Miss Chan,” as neighbors called her, had health issues and had survived several heart attacks, her neighbor Kawanna Harris said. Harris and her older children often checked on Kemp and made sure she was okay, sometimes helping her up the stairs to her apartment.

After Kemp’s death, Harris said she and her five children moved in with a friend in Riverdale. Investigators continue to search for suspects.

“This community that we were in is already high in crime,” Harris said. “But to not feel safe in your own home is a whole different thing.”

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2020 was Atlanta’s deadliest year in decades, when authorities investigated 157 homicides - the most since 1996.

The following year, authorities investigated 158.

So far, 2022 is trending ahead of last year, with 20 homicides recorded so far.