A lot of those cities that previous members have warned you about are not as "ghetto" as you would assume. They are still "transitional" meaning each block will be different from the next, but Atlanta is gentrifying at an incredible rate. I moved to Atlanta four months ago from Los Angeles. The folks are nicer in the ATL but you still have the same Sunday drivers compared to LA. The urban planner for Atlanta must've graduated from Where's Waldo University because a lot of streets curve into nowhere. Sidewalks are dismal and bicyclist are forced to share one lane roads. With that said, many of the previous bad spots have a eclectic mix of transplants, locals, creative types, LGBT's, etc. Decatur is great, but try staying north of College ave. There is a very visible difference. The whole are east of downtown and north of the 20 freeway is coming on the up and up. Midtown (anything above 10th street) is the new Buckhead. If you're moving, I suggest you rent first and take a stroll yourself. You will be pleasantly surprised.
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.
I am black female who has lived in Atlanta my whole life
Atlanta is great place to live. Especially now, there are so many new attractions to see and visit. Atlanta has just opened The Georgia Aquarium the largest Aquarium ever!! There is The Varsity Restaurant where you can get a taste of the Best Hot Dogs in Atlanta, Beautiful Homes and Condos are being built right in the heart of Downtown Atlanta. Crime is everywhere you go. Not just Atlanta!!! You have to use safety precautions any and everywhere you go.
Most people have a misconception about "THE PROJECTS" Most of the people who live in "THE PROJECTS" would rather not reside there. They have no choice. Most of the people that live in "THE PROJECTS" are single mother's, elderly that are on a fixed income or just simply human beings that can't afford nothing else but the low-income residence.
It's the ignorant people that live in "THE PROJECTS" that makes them seem so dangerous.
Of my opinion and I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way black or white. Atlanta is a great place to live.
You may visit this website to find tourist attractions, kids attractions, even spring and summer events that are going on at the most attractable park in Atlanta which happens to be Piedmont Park. Just to name one thing that I happen to love and enjoy doing on a summer night at Piedmont Park which is CINEMA ON THE LAWN. You may watch a movie on the BIG SCREEN while having a picnic on the lawn. It's romantic for a first date and nice for the whole family. On this website you can find out everything that you would need to know about our beautiful city Atlanta. www.atlantaga.gov
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.
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...
8MONTHS IN MY NEW HOUSE IN ADMITTEDLY ONE OF THE FORMER MOST DANGEROUS PART OF ATLANTA.NEW HOUSE NEAR THE A.U.C.(ATLANTA UNIVERSITY CENTER)MOSTLY COLLEGE STUDENTS.My ROOMMATES(ONE FRENCH CAUCASIAN THE OTHER KOREAN) WHO ARE STUDENTS AT GEORGIA TECH AND GA. STATE.BOTH HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WALKING FROM THE ASHBY MARTA STATION TO MY HOUSE(APPROX.1/2MILE).LOTS OF NEW DEVELOPEMNT ALL AROUND .WHILE I RECOMMEND SOME CAUTION AT NIGHT.SCARED IS A BIT MUCH.MY HOUSE HAS ALREADY APPRECIATED IN VALUE.THERE IS A STRONG SENCE OF COMMUNITY BY THE ELECTED LEADERS AND CITIZENS FOR POSITIVE CHANGE.
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.