Crime stats show huge increase in homicides, big drops in other major crimes across Atlanta

ATLANTA — For the first time we're getting a comprehensive look at crime in Atlanta over the past four weeks.

The numbers from the Atlanta Police Department show murders were up about 240%.

The data also shows a dip in other kinds of crime.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne learned that those numbers don’t include the human toll that crime has had on the community.  

Rochelle Thibodeaux says her 80-year-old dad, Clarence Knox, worked on transmissions and other parts of cars for decades.

But now she's hoping somebody may have information about who killed him.

“He was a pillar of our family,” Thibodeaux said.


“He was a great man. He was very good to everyone. All he wanted to do was help people,” Knox’s widow, Freida Knox, said.

Police said Clarence Knox was an innocent, unintended victim in a shooting June 26 that laced his cars and houses with bullets.

“He was an innocent 80-year-old retired mechanic,” Thibodeaux said.

Winne learned that Knox is part of a troubling trend.

APD crime stats show for the 28 days ending Saturday, July 11, there were 17 murders in the city compared to 5 for roughly the same four weeks last year — an increase of 240%.

Several other crime categories have shown declines, however. Rapes are down 33%, and robberies are down 17% percent.

For the seven days ending July 11, the jump in the murder rate was even more dramatic — seven murders compared to just one in roughly the same week last year, for a 600% increase.

There were decreases in most other major crimes.

New interim Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant told Winne that a halt in many types of court proceedings because of the coronavirus, police resources stretched thin by protest duty, limiting proactive police work and community relations, the number of guns on the streets and a deteriorating respect for the law all likely factor into the murder increase.

Crime Stoppers Atlanta Sgt. Ron Paxson said the reward for a tip, even anonymous, leading to arrest or indictment of the killer or killers of Clarence Knox has now been increased to $5,000.

“God and I know something good’s going to come of it. I know it in my heart,” Freida Knox said.

The stats indicate shooting incidents were up 154% for 28 days in 2020, versus 28 days in 2019. The number of shooting victims is up 165%.

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