Besides the areas surrounding the Underground, there is also a faction of homeless people and beggars around the CNN center. While we were there in January, about 20-30 were sitting at the tables in the food court of the lobby of CNN. They do not disturb you inside, but the mere sitting there is a sight that takes away form the CNN image, in my opinion. Many security people are around, but leave the homeless undisturbed, unless they get "roudy".
PRIOR TO VISITING ATLANTA I WAS E-MAILED PLACES NOT TO GO WHILE VISITING:
and MANY others
I'm in real estate, so I travel quiet a bit around Atlanta. I'm only referring to things ITP (inside the perimeter). This is a generalization... there are actually a LOT of nice homes in these areas, but sometimes the people are dangerous and sketchy. So you may want to steer clear. This is only intended to be helpful; keep in mind you can get mugged/shot/raped anywhere!
- adair park
- west end
- capitol view
- vine city
- grove park
- college park
- east point
- memorial drive
- bankhead hwy
- "boulevard" before it becomes monroe
- ponce de leon (it's hit or miss)
- 30312 (some of it is grant park which is nice, but some is not so nice)
- 30315 (mixed, like 30312)
- 30318 (mixed, but some areas are BAD)
- 30032 (not terrible, but not good either)
Well-traveled areas such as the Georgia Aquarium, etc. are safe enough during daylight. Near the Children's Museum, & a little farther away is the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Bottom-feeders can sense when you are afraid to "be rude" to a homeless person. Practice being rude. People are homeless for a reason; drug addicts, mentally unstable, or too combative to get along with family.
Fulton Industrial-Close to Six Flags AND crackheads. Lodge farther west in Lithia Springs. A teenager was recently beaten severely at a bus stop outside the park. http://www.11alive.com/news/article_news.aspx?storyid=99896)
Lakewood - I once saw what looked like a 10 year old girl there on the street during school hours with what looked like a 7-months belly.
Zoo Atlanta-Grant Park is popular with locals as a place to have picnics & play loud music. You may be uncomfortable if you require a wide margin of personal space. Leaving the zoo by way of Moreland Avenue my friend & our kids passed a woman wearing a miniskirt which she flipped up to every passing vehicle to reveal her naked underparts.
Little Five Points-Interesting venue for Goths, gays, & other artsy types. A local store [used to, at least...] have a back room of literature on the drinking of blood & how to obtain it.
Underground Atlanta-Near the capitol building and the World of Coca-cola; refurbished several years ago. A very large hole in the ground with lots of scary, dark corners. Think dripping water and rats the size of 'possums.
Buy your gas anywhere but on the southern crescent of I-285. If you are coming south from the east coast, wait until you get on I-675. If you are coming south down I-75/85, buy your gas no further south than Marietta or wait until you get below Exit 50 or so on I-85.
On the top end of I-285, stopping anywhere between I-75 and I-85 should be okay if traveling with children.
One last word: The farther south you go, the more agressive the drivers become. On the southwest quadrant of I-285 people have no regard for safety whatsoever.
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.
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.
Whoever started this "warning" that is not from Atlanta should shut their mouth. I am from Atlanta and lived there for 20 years. It is a fantastic city. Of course there is going to be crime in certain areas, but as usual, some racist, ignorant White people want to stick it all on the Black Area. First of all, why would you be out near the projects in the middle of the night? That's completely stupid. Secondly, this is AMERICA -- THE FIRST WORLD NATION WITH THE HIGHEST CRIME RATE. You can get robbed or shot in any city! Luckily, you're more likely to get robbed than shot (in Atlanta).
As for gangs, the New Americas (Mexicans, El Salvadorians and Southeast Asians) have all brought that with them. Go to Gwinnett County if you want to get shot by an Asian. Go to Clayton County or Dalton to get shot by a Mexican or El Salvadorian.
Immediately west of the Georgia Dome is Vine City which has always been rough. West of that is Hunter Hills which is middle income. The western end of Cascade has Black people living in half a million dollar homes (tell that at your next Klan rally, vtanonymous). The Peyton Woods area and B.E. Mays area also have affluent Blacks. Obviously there are ghettos on Hollywood and Simpson Roads, and by the penitentary (two projects across from one another).
On the whole, Atlantans are friendly helpful people that mostly aren't out to hurt you. If you want to talk about thugs that kill you for nothing, let's talk about virtually everyone in California...
For anyone moving to Atlanta, I clearly recommend avoiding Clayton County (Riverdale, Forest Park etc.) at all costs. Once all the projects were torn down, the people moved south into what used to be a very quiet and peaceful area.
Back in the city, use common sense. If someone looks suspicious, they probably are. Don't give money to beggars. Don't travel alone at night until you know the lay of the land. Any apartment complex/residental area ending in the word "Homes" is probably a project. Do not fear any area south of I-20. Some of the city's best food and friendliest people are there. If you're non-White, AVOID FORSYTH COUNTY. In 1987, the Black population there was 0. Today (2006) it's 14. Not too progressive. There is a very good chance that you will have a run-in with the Klan. Parts of East Atlanta and central- and southern-DeKalb County can get hairy, as can the lower part of Northwest Atlanta.
The city has come a very long way, and Chief Pennington has brought crime down 40%. Ignore ignorant White racists equating crime with the Black area. If you are one, stay where you are.
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.
I look at this site and see a ton of people who are afraid of the homeless it's sad really. The homeless can not be grouped together into one big bad lump, yes you should be careful watch your purses but all in all sit down with one talk with them half of them are not bad people there down on their luck. I used to be scared of the homeless as well then I moved to ATL near underground right across from Woodruff park a huge homeless community lives there I never got hurt I even sat with them played some chess and made some new friends friends who in the end would look out for me say hey don't go to these neighborhoods there not the best or hey I wouldn't talk to that man he's not safe. I never got hurt or mugged my car got broken into but who's to say a homeless man did it? all in all the homeless are the least of your problems. be responsible don't give them money don't be out to late by yourself things like that. I do agree though Underground ATL is not the safest place to be alone especially if your a girl. So be smart but don't be afraid of the homeless.
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.
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.
While living in Atlanta I felt very safe. But that was because I had friends that showed me around at first... Like any big city, Atlanta has areas that you just don't go. Unless you know the neighbourhood... Downtown at night, and even to some extent now, Buckhead.. Always check where you are driving into, and always feel free to ask. Most people in Atlanta are very friendly and will be helpfull. Hate saying it girls, but females should never travel alone, especially Downtown and Buckhead... Anywhere for that matter?
I am male, but even some of the nicest areas spooked me from time to time!
Just be carefull!....
Crime in Atlanta is serious and rampant. As in the case of most US cities, Atlanta is plagued by poverty and a massive overflow of weaponry, particularly guns. Generally, every week brings at least one murder and a couple of rapes. Therefore, pay attention. Be careful at night. Do not walk alone. Stay in well-lit areas. Protect your valuables -- don't carry them at all, and if you do, put them in your front pocket. Just be careful, and stay NORTH of the East-West MARTA line when possible. It could save your life. Not to scare you or anything.
The biggest risk always seemed to be getting outside of the tourist area, which is obvious, in downtown Atlanta. Also, don't walk around by yourself in a place called Bankhead. It is immediately west of Georgia Tech University.