Atlanta police say crime rates have decreased around college campuses

By David Pendered

The crime rate has been reduced notably around Atlanta university campuses in the two years since the Atlanta City Council called for dramatic improvements in public safety, according to a new report from Atlanta police.

The West End commercial area has been one focus of the Atlanta Police Department's College Liaison Unit. File/Credit: David Pendered

The West End commercial area has been one focus of the Atlanta Police Department’s College Liaison Unit. File/Credit: David Pendered

Robbery rates are down significantly around the Atlanta University Center, which the report portrays as the primary target of the police department’s College Liaison Unit.

The council acted at a time students were frequent targets as victims. The council produced 15 safety recommendations in July 2012. The effort has received scant attention since then.

The police department’s College Liaison Unit has been grinding out the work and recently issued a 42-page report that covers the past academic year.

The report states that Atlanta police have established “effective collaboration” with student government associations of Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Emory University, Atlanta Metropolitan College, and Clark Atlanta University.

The relations have enabled Atlanta police to conduct seminars on subjects including domestic violence, sexual assault, drug awareness, sex trafficking and public safety. The department also has gained insight into students’ attitudes on issues that could lead to public displays, such as reaction to the verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Efforts to restore the residential areas of West End are benefiting from the increased presence of Atlanta police in the neighborhoods. File/Credit: David Pendered

Efforts to restore the residential areas of West End are benefiting from the increased presence of Atlanta police in the neighborhoods. File/Credit: David Pendered

The crime stats focus on the AUC area, which is located west of Northside Drive on the north and south sides of I-20. Highlights include:

  • The overall crime rate surrounding the AUC was down 17 percent from 2012 to 2013;
  • Robberies on the north side of I-20 were down 31 percent in the fall 2013 semester, compared to fall semester 2012;
  • Robberies on the north side of I-20 were down 17 percent in the spring 2014 semester, compared to spring semember 2012;
  • Robberies on the south side of I-20 were down 39 percent in the fall 2013 semester, compared to fall semester 2012;
  • Robberies on the south side of I-20- were down 15 percent in the spring 2014 semester, compared to spring semester 2012.

The report includes a string of weekly reports that indicate Atlanta’s ivory towers exist amid areas of illegal activities. Here are some snippets from the report:

  • “We have confirmed that members of the Blood Gang are operating out of one of the two houses currently under investigation,” near the AUC, Jan. 17;
  • “Executed a search warrant … bringing an end to an undercover investigation ranging over the course of a two-month time period … Affiliated members of the Blood Gang were apprehended, approximately 3.4 grams of MDMA/ecstasy, as well as approximately 7 ounces of marijuana were recovered,” near the AUC, Feb. 28;
  • “Apprehended (a suspect) with AUC target area on an active warrant out of Clayton County. It should be noted, (suspect) was accompanied by a man claiming to be a fashion show promoter, carrying approximately $10,000 U.S. currency on his person,” May 10.
  • “Provide information into a school councilor distributing narcotics on the college and university campuses,” listed in year-end accomplishments.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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