Dunwoody experienced a slight increase in violent crime reports during 2020 despite lower crime rates overall, consistent with trends in neighboring cities and the rest of the country.

According to the Dunwoody Police Department’s Crime Comparison report, the overall rate of reported crime was down 28% from 2019. But more violent crimes, such as homicide, rape and aggravated assault were reported in 2020 than in 2019. Property crimes — such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft — dropped in 2020 compared to last year. Total reported property crime was down by 29.4% from 2019. 

DPD’s Crime Comparison reports provide a “snapshot comparison” of crimes, call data and workload statistics by month, not necessarily a comprehensive list, according to a DPD spokesperson. Crime statistics come with many qualifications. Not all crimes are reported to police, and some that are reported turn out not to be crimes or are classified as different offenses later. 

Sandy Springs also experienced an increase in violent crime last year, which correlates with national trends showing increases in homicides, aggravated assaults and other violent crimes from 2019 to 2020. Homicides, aggravated assaults and gun assaults all rose beginning in late May and June of 2020, according to a report from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. The commission was formed by the Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington D.C., and aims to “assess the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system.”

That report showed a decrease in property and drug crime rates over the first eight months of the pandemic, a trend also present in DPD’s report. For property crimes in Dunwoody, reported burglaries went down from 169 cases in 2019 to 81 in 2020. Larceny went down from 1,684 in 2019 to 1,204 in 2020. Motor vehicle theft went down from 118 reported cases in 2019 to 106 in 2020. Arrests for narcotics dropped from 168 reports in 2019 to 77 in 2020.

Three homicides were reported in Dunwoody in 2020, compared to one in 2019. That is the highest number of homicides reported in the city since four in 2010. 

Eleven rapes were reported in 2020, compared to 8 in 2019. Forty aggravated assaults were reported in 2020 compared to 33 in 2019. 

The only violent crime in the report that decreased from 2019 was armed robbery, down from 25 reports in 2019 to 23 in 2020. Armed robbery reports increased by 56.5% from 2017 to 2018, but have since continued to decline. 

Domestic calls, which refer to domestic violence or disputes, were up in 2020, rising from 636 in 2019 to 672. Domestic calls decreased from 2016 to 2018, but rose by 12.2% from 2018 to 2019 and continued the upward trend in 2020.

In other crime statistics, shoplifting arrests dropped by nearly 50%, from 731 reports in 2019 to 393 in 2020. DUI arrests increased from 64 in 2019 to 79 in 2020, continuing an upward trend since 2018. In total, 2020 arrests were down by about 32.8% from 2019. 

Sammie Purcell is Associate Editor at Rough Draft Atlanta.