Kennesaw sees lowest crime rate in decade
by Noreen Cochran
March 01, 2013 12:10 AM | 7950 views | 11 11 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw is enjoying its lowest crime rate in 10 years — and its 1982 law requiring every household to own a gun may have something to do with it, according to local police.

At the City Council meeting on Monday, residents can hear about the 10-year trends in a report Police Chief Bill Westenberger previewed Wednesday in a work session.

“The main thing I want to tout a little bit is that this year we had 518 Part 1 crimes,” he said about a category that includes murder, rape, assault and theft. “That’s huge, in that’s the lowest it’s been since 2001.”

Westenberger attributed the drop to a group effort.

“Everybody had a piece in that, not just the police department,” he said.

Westenberger said renting out vacant buildings and sprucing up formerly crime-ridden areas played a role.

“There’s things like economic development and stuff like zonings,” he said, “and the community itself paying attention and watching what’s happening.”

Show us your guns

The drop in crime may also be at least partly caused by city code Sec. 34-21.

“Every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm,” it reads.

Lt. Craig Graydon said the law has been a hot topic among international journalists, who have interviewed him recently for gun law stories.

“Since the gun law passed in 1982, we’ve consistently had one of the lowest crime rates in the metro Atlanta area,” he said.

Coincidence? You decide.

“I’m sure it’s had some impact. It’s just very difficult to say how much,” Graydon said. “If nothing else, it draws some attention to crime and crime prevention. That helps.”
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Cobb Mom
March 03, 2013
If the Kennesaw gun law is truly having an impact on these numbers, why do insurance companies offer a discount for having a home alarm system, but not for owning a gun?

Also, how are crimes that occur in unincorporated Kennesaw (like the Penske shooting a few years ago) counted? I don't see where they are counted in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.

Lastly, if Kennesaw's crime rate is so remarkable, why is the city not showing up in national rankings of the 40, 50, or 100 safest cities (like Forbes or Neighborhood Scout), when Johns Creek and Peachtree City have both made those lists?

I would love to see a journalist dig further into this with a more critical perspective.
Pat H
March 04, 2013
The house alarm protects your stuff while you are away. The gun protects you and your family when you are there.

Your home insurance does not provide you or your family death benefits - that would be life insurance.

Cobb Mom, I suggest that you not get a gun & live in Johns Creek or Peachtree City. If someone breaks into your home, call the police and see how that works out.
Glock 22
March 01, 2013
I love the law and hear about it all over the country as i travel...when they find out i live in Kennesaw, people ask me about it. Forget Loud or Ackerman, my house is protected by GLOCK.
Be Careful
March 01, 2013
I am always amazed at how the liberal mind works. They live in a perpetual fantasy land.

Kennesaw has documented low crime.

Yet someone says "the supposedly low crime rate".

Even in the face of documented facts, they refuse to believe that a town like Kennesaw, that allows and encourages gun ownership can have low crime and actually be a nice place to live.

Yet, their own (left wing democrat) controled cities, such as Washington DC and Chicago, that have VERY restrictive gun control laws, also have horrific crime rates.

And while they advocate more gun control, they admit that criminals can steal guns, thereby bypassing ALL control measures.

I have actually tried to sit down and have a conversation with some of my liberal friends.

Those attempts always end up with them screaming and yelling.

It doesn't seem to be a nice fantasy world they live in, they are all so angry all the time. But a fantasy world it is.
Kennesaw Residence
March 01, 2013
To: VFP42

Below is the ordinance regarding the gun requirement. Unlike the Obama Healthcare that was shoved down our throats, there are exceptions to the Kennesaw Ordinance.

Being a resident since 1988, I really haven't heard of that many gun thefts, not any in my neighborhood, I suppose that is since not only do we own a gun we know how to use it as well.

Sec. 34-21. - Heads of households to maintain firearms.


In order to provide for the emergency management of the city, and further in order to provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, every head of household residing in the city limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefore.


Exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using such a firearm. Further exempt from the effect of this section are those heads of households who are paupers or who conscientiously oppose maintaining firearms as a result of beliefs or religious doctrine, or persons convicted of a felony

Southern Patriot
March 01, 2013
I comply with the city ordinance, and then some.
March 01, 2013
Of the supposedly lower crime rate, how many of the "minor" crimes now involve gun theft since the 1982 law requiring a gun in every household?

What is the rate at which guns are burgled in Kennesaw, Georgia? Is it higher than everywhere else? Statistically it would be, assuming people are obeying the gun ownership law.

When a gun is burgled in Kennesaw, isn't Kennesaw a contributor to violent crime by forcing everyone to own a gun they can't guard 24 hours per day, thus enabling burglaries of firearms?

Is Kennesaw prepared for soaring daytime burglaries once the NY City gun runners figure out there's a higher likelihood of getting a gun in the booty from most Kennesaw burglaries?

Would Mayor Bloomberg have more of a case against the City of Kennesaw than he had against the Smyrna gun shops? Does it really matter if the case is better or worse if he thinks he can make an example of Kennesaw?

Kennesaw City law requires residents to own (meaning "to purchase," like Obamacare and health insurance BUT THAT'S DIFFERENT AND BAD) a gun, but does not require the gun be kept safe from burglars, so I would say Mayor Bloomberg will be knocking at Kennesaw's door pretty soon.

Y'all Ready For This?

March 01, 2013
VFP42, you sure have a nice outlook on Kennesaw and the future. How about looking at all your negative comments from a 180 degree view and post again. If your capable!
March 01, 2013
Maybe New York and Chicago needs to think about changing their gun laws and possibly their crime rate will diminish as well.
Get Real
March 01, 2013
@VFP42: Kennesaw's ordinance was created as a statement in response to anti-gun rhetoric that took place in the early 80's. While it technically is a law that could be enforced, it is largely regarded as optional. The gun could be inherited, borrowed or purchased. If a citizen disagrees with the law, he/she is free to move to outside of the city limits to avoid the issue. Moving would be considered a viable response that would not jeopardize an individual's right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

Obamacare, however, is radically different. One MUST make a purchase of a product. Because it is a federal law, one CANNOT move in response to it without leaving the country. And, it IS being enforced with gusto.

BTW, I don't give a #$%#! about what Bloomberg does or doesn't do. He's another rich democrat who loves to poke his nose into others' business to try to force his "morality" on them. As far as I'm concerned, let him bring it!

I think it's rather ironic that you write about a criminal stealing a gun and using it in another crime. I thought gun registration/control took care of that! Are you implying that criminals may have found a way -- or even a loophole -- to avoid those laws?

Also, get a dictionary. One cannot "burgle" a gun. Steal during a burglary? Yes. Burgle? No.

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