FILE - Atlanta Police

An Atlanta Police officer takes up a position behind the Atlanta City Hall sign on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Despite having the most sworn police officers over the past 10 years, the number of arrests by the Atlanta Police Department plummeted in 2021. The arrest total was down 65% from 2014, according to data provided by the city.

The number of arrests made by the police department was published in the annual audited budget. The significant decrease in arrests was also reported in the 2021 annual crime statistics published by the city.

In 2013, the city reported 46,974 arrests, according to its annual budget from 2021. The number of arrests dropped to 16,329 in 2021. This data was unaudited for the fiscal year. 

The city also publishes annual crime data reports. That data reports 16,928 arrests in 2021, which is down from 29,398 arrests in 2019 and 21,047 in 2020.

The number of parking and traffic violations issued also dropped significantly. For example, Atlanta police issued tickets for 13,613 parking violations and 168,699 traffic violations in 2013. In 2021, parking violations dropped to 1,713 and traffic violations dropped to 53,409.

The number of serious crimes was reported at 21,410 in 2021. There were 21,589 serious crimes reported in 2020 and 25,243 in 2019. Serious crimes include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

However, the number of shooting incidents reported in Atlanta went from 488 in 2019 to 752 in 2021. This is a 54% increase.

The number of police officers grew in 2021. There were 2,205 sworn officers in 2020. The city reported having 2,425 sworn police officers in 2021, the most in the past 10 years. 

There are media reports of the Atlanta Police Department adding a precinct to the Buckhead neighborhood after a Buckhead official complained about high crime in that area.

The Atlanta Police Foundation and Mayor Andre Dickens’ office did not respond to emails seeking comment. A representative of the Atlanta Police Union also did not respond to an email seeking comment. The Atlanta Police Department responded to emails but didn't answer questions about the drop in arrests.

Intern Reporter

Elyse Apel is a rising junior at Hillsdale College, which is located in Michigan. Originally from Oklahoma, she is studying politics and journalism.

Regional Editor

Brett Rowland has worked as a reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He most recently served as news editor of the Northwest Herald in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He previously held the same position at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb.

Managing Editor

Tom Gantert worked at many daily newspapers including the Ann Arbor News, Lansing State Journal and USA Today. Gantert was the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential for five years before joining The Center Square.