Atlanta’s police chief says city getting safer, statistics shows

Homicide, rape, burglary, and robbery are all down year-over-year. This is according to Atlanta police data.

Channel 2′s investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke exclusively with Chief Darin Schierbaum and a victim’s mother who is tragically qualified to speak of the pain of a murder and the importance of justice.

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The chief says Atlanta police’s attack on gangs, guns, and drugs is paying dividends.

“We’re seeing a sharp reduction in our homicides in the city of Atlanta,” Schierbaum said.

Latina Mitchell says the pain of the murder of her son Vionta Yancey on Jan.14 is relentless.

“I can’t function right. I can’t sleep at night. It’s hard. Very hard,” Mitchell explained. “I’m still experiencing the pain. It’s something that doesn’t go away. This was my only son.”

She says the murder and aggravated assault charges Atlanta police homicide Det. Charles Sendling has made happen for two suspects in Yancey’s death, which was at first falsely presented to police as self-defense, are critical to her hopes for healing.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be right, to be honest. But it’s very important to get these guys off the street to start healing,” Mitchell said.

“As the case went on, it started to eat at me. So, I really started to dig into the crime scene photos, and the ballistic evidence, and met with the ME (medical examiner),” Sendling said.


The story of what happened to Mitchell’s son touches on two major developments concerning homicides in the city of Atlanta.

“Right now, today we’re at a 61% reduction in our homicide rate over this time last year. We’ve had nine occur in Atlanta since Jan.1. This time last year we had experienced 23 in the city. So, the work of the men and women in the police department attacking gang guns and drugs, using intelligence to know what areas to be in, and then our partnership of the state with our federal numbers, those are clearly influencing those homicides that we do have the ability to influence,” Schierbaum said.

Atlanta police major crimes commander Pete Malecki spelled out the Atlanta police homicide unit’s 2022 clear-up rate. He suggests the number of cases of APD homicide solved during 2022, no matter when they happened, as compared to the 2022 homicide rate.

“If we looked at last year’s numbers for all of 2022 we had a clear-up rate of 79%. That’s well above the national number for that year, 54% and I think that just really speaks volumes. Not only to the resolve of the men and women who work homicides but the entire Atlanta police department as well as our community partners,” Malecki said.

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Data supplied by APD suggests the number of aggravated assaults is down 14% so far this year, compared to roughly the same period last year. Rapes are down 68% while motor vehicle thefts are up 25%.

“We’ve covered a lot of APD’s efforts to fight gangs. How many of those 23 homicides were gang-related and how much of a factor is that in the drop? There was a number of them that were gang-related this time last year,” Schierbaum said.

“The one concerning part we still see is the escalating disputes. If we go back to last year 69 residents or visitors to this city lost their lives in something that started as a minor dispute,” Malecki explained.

APD says this afternoon, less than an hour after the interview with Winne, one of the suspects in the murder of Mitchell’s son was spotted by an off-duty officer at Lenox Square and he made the arrest.

The chief says besides gangs interrupting the drug trade and getting lots of help from the community are important drivers in the violent crime drop so far this year. He also underscored what Malecki said, if you’re in a minor dispute walk away.