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?
In 2016 Fulton County experienced an increase in property crimes for the first time in seven years. Overall, the property crime rate increased by about 3% between 2015 and 2016. Among the three categories of Part 1 property crimes, larceny saw the largest jump, increasing by about 5% in 2016. Vehicle thefts saw an increase of 2.3% while burglaries actually dropped by 5%. In comparison, the national property crime rate declined by 2% between 2015 and 2016.
National Benchmark County Property Crime Rates, 2011 - 2016
The chart below shows the property crime rates for Fulton County and its national benchmark counties for the years 2011 through 2016. (The slider above the chart can be used to change the year for which rates are shown.)
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. Union City, which trailed East Point and College Park in 2014, had the the highest rate of reported property crime in 2016. College Park, after leading all cities in 2015, experienced a substantial drop in property crime in 2016 and fell to fourth place after Union City, Hapeville and East Point.
Property Crime Rates by Jurisdiction (2014, 2015 and 2016)
(Chattahoochee Hills and Union City did not report crimes for both years and are not shown.)
A Preliminary Look at 2017 Crime
The FBI had not released 2017 crime statistics for U.S. Cities as of March 2018; however, the City of Atlanta Police Department makes crime incident data publicly available on a regular basis. Property crime in Atlanta accounted for over half of all property crime in Fulton County in 2016 and therefore serves as a good predictor of overall crime levels for the county in 2017. Analysis of crime incident data from the Atlanta Police Department indicates that property crime overall was down about 7% from 2016 to 2017. Of the three major categories of property crime, auto theft was down 17% and burglary 22%. Theft was down only by 1%.
Reported Property Crime Incidents, City of Atlanta, 2016 and 2017
(Source: City of Atlanta Police Department)
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 2016.