Crime in the City - Atlanta Magazine

How it feels

  • How it feels to clean up after death

    Paul Cervino is a Marine who has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, most recently in 2011. Stateside after that, he found himself in Arizona, in training to open a Bio-One franchise in Atlanta. Read More
  • How it feels to be burglarized

    Nicole Guerrero and her husband moved to East Atlanta in 2012. It wasn't long before they were initiated into a club where no one wants to be a member. Read More
  • How it feels to shoot an intruder

    A gunshot rang out the morning of December 31 last year, and it’s been echoing in Eugene Thomas’s mind ever since. Thomas and his fiancee live on a cul-de-sac in a sleepy neighborhood. Police and firefighters have honored the couple for their volunteer work with neighborhood youth. Read More
  • How it feels to be falsely accused

    As Clarence Harrison played poker at a neighbor’s home, a woman was attacked at a nearby bus stop. The assailant dragged her away, raped her, and stole her wristwatch. Harrison became a suspect when a confidential informant told police they’d heard someone was selling a watch at his home. Read More
  • How it feels to send someone to prison

    Thirty-seven years ago, at age twenty-seven, James Bodiford quit a job selling magazines to attend law school. In 1985 he was appointed chief magistrate judge of Cobb County, and in 1994 he was elected to Superior Court. Bodiford has presided over some of the region’s most prominent trials. Read More
  • How it feels to patrol the toughest neighborhoods

    A family dispute is flaring in a cramped kitchen in southeast Atlanta when Ashley Gibson arrives. Gibson is five foot three, with pearl earrings and pink-painted fingernails, her hair swept into a high bun that recalls her cheerleading years. Despite her slight stature, Gibson doesn’t flinch. Read More
  • How it feels to survive a shooting

    On a hot day in 2008, on a street of middle-class homes in Gwinnett County, Bryan Ryser was putting his lawn mower away when his neighbor, Charles Quinn, shot him in the back. Read More
  • How it feels to be in a police chase

    In 2011, Chief Gene Wilson used his cruiser to nudge a fleeing GMC Denali off the wet streets of his city, prompting the arrest of a serial bank robber behind the wheel. Read More
  • How it feels to be a crime-fighting superhero

    The Crimson Fist marched into the bowels of Atlanta—the Gulch—where he dodged freight trains, prowled the weeds for stolen property, and searched under bridges for homeless men he knows by name. Read More
Law and Order
Crime rates in Atlanta are at historic lows, we're told. Then why do so many of us feel unsafe? Because numbers mean nothing if you or someone you love is a victim. This month we examine crime in the city, and the human toll it takes.


Where guns go to die

The Atlanta field office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Explosives seized more than 900 firearms last year. Most of them are destroyed. Check out the before and after

Atlanta's most lawless year

While the popular image of antebellum Atlanta is one of Southern charm and manners, the railraod town had more in common with the Wild West. By 1850, the city was home to forty saloons. Criminals clustered in Slabtown and Murrel's Row, a stretch of Decatur Street where the primary enterprises were cockfighting and "groggery." Read More

The Homicide Report

There were eighty-four homicides in the city of Atlanta last year. Here's what we learned reading the police reports.

Your brain on social media

I’m driving home, just 150 yards from my house, when I see a white Chevy Tahoe in my driveway. According to social media and local news blogs, it’s the car a crew of burglars has been using for about a week to break into homes all around us—Oakhurst, Kirkwood, East Lake. Read More