MACON, Ga. — The shooting rate in Bibb County nearly tied Chicago last year.
2,600 people were shot in Chicago in 2019, according to preliminary year-end data from the Chicago Police Department (CPD)'s public information office.
139 were shot in Bibb County, according to Sheriff David Davis.
Roughly 2.7 million people live in Chicago, while Bibb County's population sits close to 150,000.
When controlled for population size, about 9.61 out of every 10,000 people were shot in Chicago this year, according to CPD statistics.
In Bibb County, that number was roughly 9.08 out of every 10,000 people.
The figures from Chicago covered the year from January 1 to December 29, their spokesperson said. Bibb County's figure covers the entirety of the year.
While several law enforcement agencies operate in Chicago, CPD is the dominant local law enforcement force and their figures are largely comprehensive.
Cook County Sheriff's Office, which also operates in the Chicago area, does not handle shootings.
"Cook County Sheriff's Office is not the lead investigating agency for any shootings or homicides in the City of Chicago," said an agency spokesman.
We asked Bibb County Sheriff David Davis about the numbers.
"Statistics can show you a lot of different things and sort of show you whatever you want to find," he said. "You can find a statistic to support that, but I don't think the people in Macon believe that we are as dangerous or [someone is] as apt to get shot here as maybe they are in Chicago."
Comparisons to other Georgia counties yielded similar findings.
17 people were shot in Houston County last year, according to representatives of all four local law enforcement agencies operating in the county.
Per capita, that breaks down to around 1.1 shooting victims per 10,000 people, close to nine times lower than Bibb's rate.
13WMAZ also compared Bibb's rate to Chatham County's, where Savannah is located.
We called all eight law local enforcement jurisdictions in the county and got data from six, approximately 94% of the county's total population.
According to preliminary end of year data provided by the Savannah Police Department, Chatham County Police Department, Pooler Police Department, Thunderbolt Police Department, Tybee Island Police Department, and Bloomingdale Police department, Chatham County saw approximately 158 shootings in 2019.
When controlled for the county's population, estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau to be 289,195, Chatham County's per capita shooting rate in 2019 was approximately 5.42 out of every 10,000 people.
That's almost half Bibb County's rate.
When asked why Bibb is an outlier compared to some of their peers, Sheriff Davis cited a number of factors.
"Bibb County's always had issues with blight, economic development, education, forgotten neighborhoods, blighted conditions create blighted minds that result in blighted actions," he said.
He also cited the county's drop out rate, "lack of economic development," and "lack of people who have gainful employment."
He also noted that BSO's current deputy shortage, which he estimates currently sits between "100 and 150 deputies" short of full staffing, doesn't make his agency's job any easier.
Finally, 13WMAZ contacted Richmond County Sheriff's Office, whose exclusive jurisdiction is all of Richmond County. That's where Augusta is located.
The Census Bureau estimates the county has 201,554 people.
Sergeant William McCarty with the Richmond County SO said they had 217 "aggravated assaults with a gun" in 2019. However, he noted, that figure includes incidents where someone shot up a building or vehicle, or shot at a person and missed, so it can't be used as a comparison tool.
He couldn't say Friday how many of those 217 aggravated assaults were actual shooting victims, but he guessed "at least half."
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