What are we measuring?
This measure follows the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program definition of property crime, which includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. We exclude arson in the measure, as is often done, as statistical data on arson are not consistently reported by local law enforcement agencies. More information on the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, including detailed definitions, can be found here.
The crime rates shown on this page represent reported crimes. It is generally recognized that many crimes go unreported to police. The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that only about one-third (36%) of property crime victimizations were reported to police nationally in 2016. While victimization statistics are not available at the county level, the national statistics suggest that crime rates are generally much higher than suggested by statistics based on reported crimes.
Why are we measuring it?
Property crime victims may not be as traumatized as violent crime victims, but they can suffer from elevated fear, depression, and hostility for an extended time following an incident. Property crime, like violent crime, can have an impact on the local economy through reduced property values and the discouragement of investment by businesses and developers. Crime also has an economic impact on communities by consuming tax dollars needed to operate courts and jails and other components of the criminal justice system.
How are we doing?
After increasing in 2016, the property crime rate in Fulton County fell in 2017, continuing the downward trend that that started in 2008. Overall, the property crime rate decreased nearly 8% between 2016 and 2017. Among the three categories of Part 1 property crimes, burglaries saw the largest drop, falling 27% between 2016 and 20176. Vehicle thefts saw an deline of 15.7% while larceny (theft) dropping 3.7%%. In comparison, the national property crime rate declined by 3.6% between 2016 and 2017. Despite the significant decline, the County's property crime rate in 2017was about twice the national average.
After several years of having the highest property crime rates among its national benchmark counties, in 2017 Fulton County's rate fell below below that of Shelby County, Tennessee, but was still higher than that of the other seven benchmark counties for which data are available.
Property Crime Rate for Jurisdictions in Fulton County
As with violent crime rates, property crime rates varied greatly across the county with all cities in the southern part of the county except for Chattahoochee Hills having rates higher than those in the north. (Data were not available for the city of Mountain Park or for the city of South Fulton, which incorporated in May 2017.) Hapeville (pop. 6,665) has the highest rate of property crime in 2017 after having ranked only fourth highest two years earlier. College Park, after leading all cities in 2015, experienced a substantial drop in property crime in 2016 and 2017 and fell to fourth place after Hapeville, East Point and Union City. The city of Atlanta, which accounts for the majority of property crime in the county, experienced significant declines between 2015 and 2017.
A Preliminary Look at 2018 Crime
The FBI had not released 2018 crime statistics for U.S. Cities as of January 2019; however, the City of Atlanta Police Department makes crime incident data publicly available on a regular basis. (While crime statistics reported directly by local law enforcement are not comparable to FBI crime statistics, they are useful for looking at trends prior to the release FBI statistics.) Property crime in Atlanta accounted for over half of all property crime in Fulton County in 2017 and therefore serves as a good predictor of overall crime levels for the county in 2018. Analysis of crime incident data from the Atlanta Police Department indicates that property crime overall was down about 1.5% from 2017 to 2018. Of the three major categories of property crime, auto theft and theft remained roughly at the same levels between 2017 and 2018. Burglaries were down by 8%.
Historic Trend in Property Crime
Property crime has dropped dramatically in Fulton County over the past 25 years. Despite the modest rise in 2016, the property crime rate remains much lower than rates in the early 1990's. Overall, property crime declined by more than two-thirds from 1990 to 2017.