Not So Safe Areas, Atlanta
Ima be straigh up with yall folks cuz im from da A shawty. Atlanta has a lot of dangerous streets and housing projects trust me. Stay away from pittsburgh community, mechanicsville, west end especially after dark, cascade rd s.w., simpson rd, bankhead courts and bowen homes, adamsville, kirkwood especially after dark, east atlanta after dark, thomasville, englewood manor, jonesboro rd. s.e., campbellton rd s.w. definitely, da whole mlk drive, and trust me aint nothin hollywood about hollywood rd. n.w. Downtown Atlanta is very unsafe at night for tourist, there are more crackheads than a lil bit especially on Auburn Ave. The safest parts of atlanta is midtown and buckhead. If you think im lyin about how dangerous Atlanta is go to a search and type United States Most Dangerous Cities and I guarantee u will see atlanta near da top of that list everytime. And da scary part about Atlanta is that it use to be way more dangerous especially when east lake meadows housing projects were up. They called it Lil Vietnam. Do some research before you come here please.
Despite what many VT'ers (not coincidentally, living oftentimes in Atlanta's wonderful Leave It to Beaver suburbs) may spout about Atlanta's business district, I find that more general crime happens around the entertainment areas in Buckhead. You are seriously more likely to have a gun pointed at you there, and are most likely perfectly safe staying downtown. Thugs, and I mean thugs, don't often hang out in, say, the Peachtree Center area just because there's nothing for them there. But I would seriously advise caution near the sporting venues.
One of the most dangerous things a visitor can do in Atlanta is act panicked. Don't act like you expect to be mugged, and you probably won't be.
Now, don't get me wrong, Atlanta is great in many ways, but it is a big city so there are some dangers. You need to be careful of fast-talking and aggressive strangers who either need your help or want to help you. There is a special breed of hustler in Atlanta that is so smooth (and also persistent) that you don't have a moment to think before you find yourself in a confusing dialogue with him or her.
Here are a few examples of things that happened to me:
1. A smartly dressed middle-aged lady knocked on my window holding my New York Times. She said she was the one who delivered my newspaper and conned her way into my apartment to use my phone. She stole my wallet right out of my purse while I was sitting there. Found out later she was a crack addict who used this ruse a lot.
2. A helpful "mechanic" told me he saw smoke coming from under my car. He offered to fix the part that was "broken" for a small fee. When he told me the part, I realized it was a con because I had just had that part replaced.
3. A guy told me his tutor stood him up and he had no way home. He was carrying books and said he just needed bus fare to get home and that he'd pay me back. I was pretty jaded by then so didn't give him any money.
4. One neighborhood hustler used to try to get me to give him money for waving me into my parallel parking place. He'd get pissed off when I told him I didn't need his help. One time he tried to grab my Windex right out of my hands while I cleaned my car so he could charge me for doing the job. I had to scream at him to get him to leave me alone.
I have never been conned out of anything or harrassed as aggressively anywhere else I've lived or traveled. So be on your guard, especially around tourist areas. I don't know if it's still true, but anywhere around Ponce deLeon Ave in Midtown (where I used to live) was a really high-risk area for this type of harrassment. That doesn't mean you should avoid the area, just be aware.
ATL is a big city with millions of people moving through it on a daily basis. Like any other city of its size, it has problem areas. Use common sense and you'll be fine. Don't go wandering around areas of ANY city you are not familiar with in the middle of the night. By the way, most of the people you see out on the streets downtown at night are not gang members or drug dealers--they're some of the city's 10,000 homeless. Most of them will not bother you. However, always use common sense!!!!!!!!!!!! You can get mugged just as easily in the parking lot of Lenox Square as you can in Sweet Auburn. My husband works in EMS in the city of ATL. He has seen it all and I'm sure he would also tell you that most of the people there are not criminals, most are poor unfortunates. I found the posting refering to one of the city's housing projects to be very amusing! Hello, who in there right mind would go there without having any business being there?! Can you say, "Not a tourist attraction?" Also, the posting refering to the shooting of APD officers, "Two Atlanta police officers were shot Saturday night while on duty in the Pittsburg community near Adair Park in southwest Atlanta They were rushed to the trauma center at Grady Hospital." Yeah, narcotics officers got shot on the job, pulling someone over in a known drug area in the middle of ATL--who is surprized? In 2003, in the city I moved to GA from in North Alabama--which by the way has a population of maybe 25,000--a schizophrenic who had just gotten released from the hospital shot and killed two police officers with a high powered rifle when they responded to his 911 call. Needless to say, now days you have to watch your back everywhere---from the backwoods to the big city.
I've lived in Atlanta my entire life. I've lived all over this city: Hampton, Decatur, Stone Mountain, Snellville, and now currently in Sandy Springs. I'm a 19 year old white female and I've rarely felt unsafe in anywhere I've lived. However, there are some places I've visited or (more likely) gotten lost in that were a little rough. One key place I'd recommend avoiding would be the area of Atlanta around the Georgia dome known as Vine City (or more commonly known to locallers as "The Bluff"). This part of town is one of the main areas of drug trafficking. Infact, I once got lost in this part of town around midnight (alone, mind you) and when I stopped to get directions from a convinience store, a cop pulled up behind me and insisted that he escort me out of there. As far as Marta is concerned, I wouldn't recommend going past 5 points on the east/west line (especially the proctor creek line which runs to Bankhead, also not a very good area), but as far as the north/south line goes, I wouldnt worry since there is always lots of traffic coming to and from the airport. I wouldn't worry too much about marta, though, I take it every day, alone and many times afterdark, to and from school.
Atlanta, inside the perimeter (ITP to the locals... the city, proper) is no more dangerous than the bland and boring northern suburbs. In fact, rates of crime for suburban towns like Roswell, Smyrna, Lawrenceville and Marietta are higher than Atlanta proper. But recognize that Atlanta is a city and you should excercise caution and use common sense as you would visiting any city. There are sections of town that do not offer anything but unlit streets at night and you should avoid these places like the plague after dark. But enjoying the nightlife is possible without fearing for your life. Just use common sense and stay in the areas where the nightlife is.
What is ironic about the city is that it is much more community oriented than the sprawl of the suburbs. Intown Atlantans are proud to be apart of their communities are not afraid to leave the front yard and do not shut themselves in the way some might that dwell in a sprawling "subdivision" in the "burbs". Communities like Inman Park, Sweet Auburn, Ormewood, Grant Park, Decatur, Candler Park , Cabbagetown and Oakhurst are proud of where they live and work hard to beautify their neighborhoods, and make their neighborhoods appealing to pedestrians.
As a native Atlantan (actually from the burbs), I know that Atlanta has some severe problems, particularly with transportation and sprawl. But I also know that its only hope is in the city itself, by increasing urban density and stopping the rampant and destructive slash and burn development; development that is laying waste to the countryside outside the city limits and choking the infrastructure by the expanse of geography. For too long, Atlanta has spread laterally. Thankfully, in recent years, the city has again begun the process of growing inward.
PRIOR TO VISITING ATLANTA I WAS E-MAILED PLACES NOT TO GO WHILE VISITING:
and MANY others
All the warnings here seem to be focused on stay out of downtown, or anywhere south of there.
This is all rubbish. How boring would life be if everyone kept North of Downtown. I came from the UK and lived in the West End for a year. Yes there were alot of bums around but I saw alot of those in England and everywhere else I have been.
I used to walk from the West End Marta to the AUC and without incident the whole time I was there. Asby Street was a bit depressing because of the prostiues and crackheads, but oh well thats life. If you walk around acting scared people will take advantage of that anywhere you are.
Atlanta being the biggest city in the southeast, it is best if you do not walk down side streets at night. You can meander down Peachtree (the main street) at 4 in the morning, no prob. But once you get off of this road there are less and less watchful eyes around.
Look for the city assistants that are wearing white pith helmets throughout downtown. they will give you any directions and suggestions that you may need.
I came to visit a friend here in Atlanta. He lives north of the 285 in Dunwoody. By reading the advice here and from his tips, it seems the places to avoid are south of the 20 (which bisects the city in half north/south) and inside the perimeter (which is basically inside the 285 which surrounds the city like a circle).
I live in Los Angeles so I'm not easily spooked. I did drive from Stone Mtn back into town all the way in on the 78 which took me into downtown Atlanta from the east side. Downtown Atlanta looks like downtown LA to me. It's busy during the today with its financial district and businesses, but is almost dead at night except for some bar and restaurants and high end hotels.
Unless you've lived in a big city and know how to recognize what areas look bad, I'd suggest to not stay in a downtown Atlanta hotel unless you plan to only stay in the hotel or leave during the day during business hours.
Personally I stayed in Marietta and stayed on the 285 perimeter most of the time during my trip. Basically pretty much what any local Los Angeles person does when they want to avoid downtown LA and only pass thru when going to Hollywood or Melrose.
If you are a tourist, I'd shy away from Underground after dark. There seems to be a marked change in the quality of people who hang there at night. Also be careful in the streets off the main drag in the downtown areas, particularly at night. There are so many gangbangers and general punks who like to shoot just to hear the bang in my opinion. Lot's to do, but like any big city, you can get hurt if you act foolishly.
When we were trying to find our way around the maze of highway, street, and sidewalks getting to the Georgia Dome we made a few wrong turns and actually ended up underneath the road in some back alleys. It did not seem very safe down there but it could also just be the eerie vacancy of all activity above.
When we were going to visit the Atlanta area, we got reservations at a motel on Fulton Industrial Blvd. When we arrived there, I was very uneasy with the location of our hotel. There were all sorts of sleazy places around our hotel, as well as an abandoned hotel right behind it. (It looked abandoned to me) So if you are looking for lodging, I wouldn't recommend Fulton Industrial Blvd. (We ended up cancelling our reservations and going up the road to Lithia Springs, which was much nicer.
It's a big city. A comedian once said that if you found yourself driving on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. you are in the wrong part of town. He was all too right. Keep your head on your shoulders and take the same precautions you would in any big city. If it looks like a bad neighborhood it probably is. It's no more or less danegerous than any other big city in the USA.
It's a big city, act accordingly. I do have to note that the city has undergone an enormous transformation since the 96 Olympics. Many of the neighborhoods where (no I'm not joking) Machine gun fire could be heard regularly throughout the 1980's are now gone. The city made a monumental effort to clean up the trouble spots around town and did a pretty good job of it. It's still a big city so all the normal precautions still apply. If your coming here ask me for advice. I'll get a map and show you the spots better avoided.