Crime is down in Atlanta. Seriously?

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imageBlogger Matt Hennie is the founder and managing editor of Project Q Atlanta. He’s a longtime Atlanta resident who’s worked in journalism since his days as a Purple Paladin at Furman University in the early ‘90s.

Violent crime in Atlanta went down. And I say that with a straight face only because the statement comes with the stamp of approval from the FBI.

The feds issued their annual take on crime stats across the country Monday and it shows that in 2008, violent crime in Atlanta dropped while property crimes jumped.

No doubt, an increasingly combative Mayor Shirley Franklin and her police chief will be touting the report — at least the portion that shows violent crime is down — to justify their arguments that the only problem with crime in Atlanta is the public’s perception that it’s on the rise. Seriously.

But it’s no comfort to Kyle Keyser, the gay man who was attacked and beaten in the Old Fourth Ward last year. He later launched Atlantans Together Against Crime, which held one of its recently monthly rallies in the gayborhood.

The news will also be no comfort to the man murdered in Piedmont Park last Thursday or the one stabbed on a Midtown street 15 minutes later.

And the rise in property crimes won’t surprise Lisa Borders, the gay-friendly City Council president whose downtown condo was burglarized last week — while she was in it.

More on the stats, reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

CRIME IN ATLANTA

Violent crime

2007: 8,075

2008: 7,403

8.3 percent decrease

Murder

2007: 129

2008: 105

18.6 percent decrease

Rape

2007: 148

2008: 126

14.9 percent decrease

Robbery

2007: 3,577

2008: 3,308

7.5 percent decrease

Aggravated assault

2007: 4,221

2008: 3,864

8.5 percent decrease

Property crime

2007: 36,232

2008: 38,978

7.6 percent increase

Burglary

2007: 8,859

2008: 9,989

12.8 percent increase

Larceny/theft

2007: 20,353

2008: 22,499

10.5 percent increase

Vehicle theft

2007: 7,020

2008: 6,490

7.5 percent decrease

Arson

2007: 155

2008: 147

5.2 percent decrease

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