Crime heats up in the winter time: December and November have been the most villainous months in Atlanta

Atlanta Police Department (APD) statistics show as the holiday season approaches, crime spikes in the Atlanta area.

The APD’s 2014 monthly crime reports show that the highest number of crimes in 2014 occurred in December. December had 3,048 crimes including homicide, rape, assault and various types of theft. The month with the next highest number of crimes was November with 2,912 crimes.

The monthly crime reports from 2009 -2014 also show that both the number of crimes and arrests start to increase in November through December and drop again in January, according to APD statistics.

APD Director of Public Affairs Elizabeth Espy said that crime naturally fluctuates for a variety of reasons.

“It could be people moving to the city, it could be a lot of different factors.”

During the week of Thanksgiving, APD arrested 609 people in 2014 and 592 people in 2013. This number gradually climbed throughout the weeks until the week before Christmas when it reached 760 people in 2014 and 796 people in 2013. The week after, Dec. 21-27, the number of arrests dropped dramatically to 491 in 2014 and 606 in 2013.

Georgia State student Carla Vizcarra said she thinks the leading cause of the increased crime rate may be caused by people trying to provide for their families.

“I would say since Christmas is coming people especially with children are trying to get presents for their children so I think they might steal or whatever to try to make their children happy,” Vizcarra said.

The most common crimes were related to theft. Burglary, entry into a building with the intent to commit a crime, and larceny, theft of personal property, were the two most common crimes during the months leading up to the holidays in 2010-2014, according to the APD’s statistics.  

The Uniform Crime Report showed there were 1,666 instances of larceny and 546 instances of burglary in December 2014 and 1,372 instances of larceny and 522 of burglary in December 2013.

Georgia State student Crystal Fuller said for her, the holidays bring financial pressure. Fuller said that because she has a job this year, she feels added pressure to pay for everything she usually does as well as buying presents.

“So I understand the stress of being an adult because they have to buy presents on top of doing all the other things they need to do. So it’s a lot of different things being pulled from different areas at one time.”

Finance is a major factor in holiday stress. According to a 2012 survey by Think Finance as reported by NBC, 45% of people would rather skip Christmas because of the financial pressure. Fifty-nine percent of the people surveyed expected to still be in debt from Christmas in January.

Vizcarra said that for her, the holidays bring extra pressure to make precious time spent with the family meaningful.

“It’s a special time and you just want everything to be perfect for the family and everything and I guess there’s a little bit more pressure because of that,” Vizcarra said.


December 2014 actual crime breakdown:

Murder: 5

Rape: 12

Robbery: 192

Aggravated Assault: 247

Burglary in a residence: 429

Burglary in a non-residence: 117

Larceny that is $200 and over: 336

Larceny that is $50 to $199:  96

Larceny that is under $50: 1,234

Auto Theft: 380

Total: 3,048


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