Not So Safe Areas, Atlanta
We did not feel completely safe in this area even during the day. We could see that many of areas in and around the Underground might be a problem. Lots of homeless were right across the street in Woodruff Park, in fact we were going to head over there to take pictures, but changed our minds right away. We couldn't get over how many homeless were hanging around near the entrance. It was bad enough being approached a lot for money or cigarettes.
While exploring the Underground at his last visit here, a woman asked if he could buy her a meal. Well, being a soft heart, he could not say no to that. So they walked over the food court and he told her to pick out a place she like and make her choice. She did, so once she got her food, she said thank you so he started to walk away. She asked if he would sit there with her, because she didn't want to be run out while she ate. So he did politely and listened to her stories. She even showed her bruised arms to him and they didn't look good. She was a lost soul having a tough life. He gave her some suggestions, once she was done, he decided to get out of there before it got dark. He told his classmates the next day what he did and they thought he was a sucker, but didn't care because he was glad to help.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington gave a press conference at Grady Hospital and described the shooting.
According to Atlanta Police Chief Penningon, the officers were part of the Red Dog Unit, specializing in narcotics investigations. They were patrolling the 700 block of Lexington Avenue when the officers spotted a suspicious vehicle with two people in it.
Pennington said two officers got out of their car and approached the driver side of the vehicle. One of the perpetrators got out of his car from the passenger side and began shooting at the officers.
Six year police veteran Mark Cross was shot in the head and is in critical condition. Officer Andy Griffin was shot in the face. The bullet exited through his jaw. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening.
One suspect, who was the driver of the car, was shot and killed by a third officer who was in the police car. The other suspect is in custody after a foot chase.
A strong gathering of fellow officers has formed at Grady Hospital, Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington among them.
According to Chief Pennington, the Red Dog Unit was patroling the area because of drug activity. The police department had received numerous complaints about the area.
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.
Okay, most of the people who have written things on here are giving you information that is terribly misleading, such as 'don't go south of interstate 20'. That is entirely moronic, as the worst neighbourhood in all of Atlanta, right west of the Georgia World Congress Center, is north of 20.
Overall, Atlanta is not an unsafe place. We do have a lot of homeless people, but that's our fault, not theirs. Our city doesn't take care of those who can't take care of themselves, and that is a damned shame. Many of the homeless in Atlanta are veterans. The homeless, for the most part, will not bother you. And they aren't stupid either— if an area is too rough, they won't hang out there either.
We do have a few bad neighborhoods, and it's sometimes easy to drive into the wrong area. Just be aware of your surroundings. Here is a list of neighborhoods to watch out for.
The only *really bad* place in Atlanta is a neighborhood called the bluff. I'm pretty street-savvy and even I won't drive through there in the daytime. Its location is immediately west of Northside Drive (US Highway 19), bordered by Donald L. Hollowell (Bankhead Hwy) on the north, and Joseph Boone (Simpson Street) on the south. If you've seen the show "The Walking Dead", it's like that in real life. Huge heroin hub, mostly abandoned houses, and really narrow creepy streets, some of them are dirt roads. There is a really bad vibe emanating from this place, it even looks dark in the daytime— it's like a third world country. Believe it or not, it's full of historic homes and buildings. Hopefully someday it will be a nice place. But it's not now. So don't go.
Fortunately, this neighborhood is pretty small and self-contained. There are neighborhoods within a half mile of this that are actually pretty safe. The rest of the neighborhoods I'm going to mention, you won't get shot or anything, but they aren't the nicest places to go and there's a lot of burglary and property crime.
Most people avoid the entire westside of Atlanta north of 20 and south of 75. This is a bit drastic, but I would caution that when you're in downtown, you definitely do not want to go west of Northside Drive. There are parts of the westside that are really nice, but it's easy to get lost since we're not on a grid, so I would just avoid it. The westside around 285 is generally okay.
The second place to avoid is a small section of Boulevard, which is what Monroe Drive turns into if you head south— this is around the Atlanta Medical Center. It's really not all that bad to drive through, but I wouldn't get out and walk. If you keep heading south Boulevard gets nice again.
The third place is the triangle formed by interstate 20 east, interstate 75 south, and 285, or Southeast Atlanta. Generally, don't go too far south of I-20 or you get into kind of a rough area. Grant Park, East Atlanta, these neighbourhoods are very safe. But much further south, not so much.
The fourth area is Southwest Atlanta. Parts of this area are rough, such as directly south of I-20 and west of I-75/85— this is where Mechanicsville and Pittsburgh (the place where the guy got beat up for being gay) are.
West End is borderline, Capitol View was getting nicer but the recession has set that back some. College Park used to be bad, but is now almost entirely safe. Parts of East Point you will want to avoid, but much of it is nice. Roads to avoid are Metropolitan Parkway (or Stewart Avenue) and parts of Campbellton Road and all of University Avenue.
I know this sounds like a boatload of places to avoid, but it's not all that much— the city of Atlanta proper has around 300 neighborhoods and there are only a handful that are not safe. Overall, a lot of places that used to be dangerous are now very nice and walkable. Atlanta has really seen a revitalization in the last few years, and it is a wonderful place to live, with our violent crime rate having dropped 40%, and all of the projects having been torn down.
I hope y'all take it safe and have a great time in Atlanta.
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, 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.
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.
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.
The most important safety advice I can give about Atlanta is to watch out for the bad drivers, and to not get lured into a false sense of security by the way a neighborhood appears, because there are decent parts of the city that also have problems with muggings and carjackings. Atlanta has grown much safer than what it was in the past, so just use common sense.
Don't walk around or ride MARTA flashing expensive jewelry, clothing, or money
Don't leave money or other valuables in your car where people can see it
Just firmly say "no" to the panhandlers. If they persist, just ignore them and walk away
ALWAYS pay attention to traffic when crossing streets, as many drivers in ATL like to go over the speed limit
If going through rough looking areas bothers you, then avoid residential areas close to the Georgia Dome, neighborhoods immediately Southwest of downtown, and places that are south of Grant Park
I grew up in Southeast Atlanta, most of the shady areas of Atlanta are not close to anything touristy, so you likely won't be in any of the places mentioned. Just keep your eyes open for the bad drivers.
There have been a lot of recent muggings in and around Midtown and Georgia Tech. Not sure if it is the new 17th street bridge which is bringing the crime element to higher levels. Be careful. Atlanta is not a safe city at night. Try not to look like a tourist and don't flash your money. I try not to open my entire wallet when paying for things. I keep a credit card and a small amount of cash in a separate wallet. Most important, be aware of your surroundings.