Cobb County

‘It’s happening at home’: Cobb Co. police say they’ve noticed a worrying crime trend in community

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Police in Cobb County say they’re noticing an alarming pattern of crime in their community.

Speaking exclusively with Channel 2 Cobb County Bureau Chief Michele Newell, Cobb Deputy Police Chief Dan Ferrell said aggravated assault cases are increasing across the county.

He said people are using violence to solve their problems, including minor conflicts.

The issues could be between family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers.

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Part of the issue, according to the deputy chief, is that mental health and finances are a stresser. He said now they’re causing people to snap.

In the real-time crime center at police headquarters, police gave Channel 2 Action News a look at how officers track crime across Cobb County.

They said they’re busy “absolutely” every day and that frequency is only growing.

“What we see more right now is an increase in aggravated assault cases,” Ferrell said.

He said most of the cases they’re responding to are escalations between family, friends, and neighbors.

“It gets out of control to where people do some type of extreme violence,” Ferrell said.


The deputy chief showed Newell a woman’s mugshot. Police said a woman stabbed her neighbor to death last year.

“That was a simple argument with a neighbor over a dog,” he explained.

Police responded to four homicides within nine days this month.

“All involve people that know each other, either co-workers, family, friends,” Ferrell said.

In one case, police said a man killed two of his co-workers in the company parking lot, then took his own life shortly after.

“It’s terribly sad what happened to the victims, because it was unnecessary,” the deputy chief continued.

Joshua Payton’s family told Channel 2 Action News he died trying to protect his co-worker from gunfire. He had two loving parents, a twin brother, and many more loved ones.

“We need to take action over this. It has to become unacceptable. Law that could be changed that we need to look at, we have a mental health crisis in our country,” Ferrell said.

Ferrell told Channel 2 Action News that it’s impossible for police to prevent the kind of violence they’re responding to because it’s happening in homes and between neighbors.

He said there should be more mental health resources, and even conflict resolution training, for children and adults.

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Michele Newell

Michele Newell, WSB-TV

Michele Newell has been part of the WSB-TV family since November 2021. Before moving to Atlanta, Michele worked at TV news stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio and Steubenville, Ohio.

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