Atlanta has a lot to offer travelers and prospective residents. I live in the Greater Atlanta Area and I always enjoy the lush nature here in this fascinating city with a rich history. However, with such a dangerous reputation being a dangerous place, many wonder if it is safe here.
Atlanta is safe for most travelers and residents. However, not all areas are the same in terms of safety. Neighborhoods like Buckhead and Midtown are safe, but you’re better off avoiding Oakland City and other places with a crime rate above the national average.
In this article, I’ve gathered all of the information you’ll need to decide whether to visit Atlanta. Aside from explaining the city’s latest crime statistics, I’ve also drawn from personal experience to create lists of the safest and most dangerous neighborhoods in Atlanta.
💡 Please don’t forget to check our list at the end of this article about getting around safely! [This article was written by our team member from Atlanta]
What Is the Crime Rate? | Statistics
Data released by the FBI show that Atlanta has a total crime rate of 24% lower than the national average. Furthermore, the City of Atlanta COBRA crime data reports a 45% decrease in total crime occurrences from 2009 to 2021.
It isn’t just 2022 where there’s been an overall decrease in crime, either. Property crimes and violent crimes have all decreased significantly since 2009. While there was a slight increase in assaults in 2018, the crime is still significantly less common than it used to be, at a rate of only ~50 assaults per 10,000 residents annually.
The only crime that has increased in frequency in Atlanta since 2009 is homicide, which has risen to a rate of 3 homicides per 10,000 residents annually. Most homicides in Atlanta occur in unsafe neighborhoods. Many of these homicides are a result of organized crime and domestic violence.
💡 Very few homicides target random tourists or residents.
Types of Crimes Reported in Atlanta
Most crimes in Atlanta are related to gangs and drug trafficking. However, there is still an element of crime that specifically targets tourists. Theft, scams, and robbery are three common crimes that tourists can be victims of while they’re visiting Atlanta.
Theft and Robbery
To avoid theft and robbery, you should follow the Gwinnett Police Department’s tips. In particular:
- You should keep your wallets and purses secured and close to you.
- Carry only small amounts of money and valuables, and be discreet when taking them out.
- Travel in well-lit and busy areas with buddies, staying alert at all times.
- If someone threatens you, comply and file a police report. No possessions are worth your life and well-being.
Scams Targeting Drivers
In the past, many drivers here have had to pay fraudulent fees when their cars were booted. Even when it comes to legal car booting, many businesses in Atlanta have unusually aggressive fining policies against non-customers parking.
When visiting the city, you should watch out for parking policy signs. If possible, you should only park at businesses you intend to be a customer at.
Hacking Wi-Fi Hotspots
Regardless of where you are in Atlanta, you should always verify that the Wi-Fi you’re using is legitimate.
Many hackers boot up hotspots at locations like airports and cafes, intending to intercept the data sent by anyone using the network and steal private information like passwords, files, and even credit and debit card information. These schemes are meant to target unwitting tourists, and unfortunately, many people fall victim.
Safest Neighborhoods | Visiting Tips
The safest neighborhoods in Atlanta for travelers are Midtown, Poncey-Highland, Inman Park, Atlantic Station, and Brookhaven. These places provide a relaxing, worry-free environment for those looking to explore the city during their stay.
It’s worth noting that I’ve never encountered a dangerous situation during my time living in a safe neighborhood and following basic safety precautions. Most people who live in Atlanta don’t come face to face with crime often because they take the same precautions to protect themselves and their belongings — and you can, too.
Best for Staying Right Where the Action Is: Midtown
Midtown is a great travel destination for a few reasons: it’s completely pedestrian-friendly, it’s easy to navigate, it’s beautiful, and it’s extremely safe.
The neighborhood is known for incredible restaurants like South City Kitchen, which offers luxurious Southern cooking, and the Café Intermezzo, where you can find decadent cakes, sandwiches, and coffees. I recommend Café Intermezzo’s white chocolate amaretto cheesecake.
Whether it’s the Friday Jazz at The High Museum or the annual Alvin Ailey Dance Theater that speaks to you, Midtown has enough diverse music and art to inspire everyone.
Of course, the best way to start your visit to Midtown is to head towards Piedmont Park and enjoy relaxing on the sunny, rolling hills. And while you’re there, you can’t forget to enjoy a show at the Fox Theater before you go.
Best for Adventurous Spirits: Poncey-Highland
Poncey-Highland always seems to be buzzing with activity, and there’s a good reason why: everyone loves living here. The area is one of the social highlights of the city, with three parks acting as unofficial social hubs:
- Atlanta Beltline
- Fourth Ward Park
- Freedom Park
If you visit Poncey-Highland intending to explore, it won’t be long before you make friends to remember for a lifetime.
One of the best parts of visiting Poncey-Highland is that you can enjoy hundreds of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shops — all within walking distance.
Once you’ve finished socializing and dining to your heart’s content, you can keep the fun going by visiting incredible local attractions like the Atlanta Illuminarium and the Freedom Farmer’s Market.
Best for Shopping: Atlantic Station
Situated right in the heart of Atlanta, Atlantic Station is the perfect vacation spot for shoppers and sightseers.
The area’s famous outdoor mall is constructed in an attractive historic style, with dozens of incredible shops and restaurants including:
- Banana Republic
- Derek Automotive
- Ivy Showroom
Once you’ve finished shopping to your heart’s delight, you’ll find that walking to your hotel is simple.
It’s not just shopping that this neighborhood has to offer, either.
One of the best ways to nourish your mind while on vacation is by visiting Atlantic Station’s famous Millennium Gate Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of interactive displays of Georgia’s art, history, and culture. And if you drive just a short distance out of the neighborhood, the High Museum of Art and the SCAD FASH Museum are close nearby.
Best Lively Cultural Scene: Inman Park
With its artisanal bakeries, homely Southern kitchens, and delicious international fusion fares, there’s no better place in Atlanta to go for spectacular food than Inman Park.
The best way to start your visit to this incredible neighborhood is by taking a food tour down the Eastside BeltLine Trail, allowing you to explore the food markets and cafes as they draw you in.
Inman Park is easily one of Atlanta’s most historic neighborhoods, too, as it was founded in 1889 to be Atlanta’s original suburb.
Since many of the neighborhood’s older buildings and Victorian homes are protected under Historic District Zoning, Inman Park has maintained all of the charm and character that makes it so interesting. This quality makes it one of my favorite areas to walk and sightsee in.
Best for Family Vacations: Brookhaven
While Brookhaven might be situated on the edges of Atlanta, there’s no doubt that this quiet suburb offers all of the same excitement.
The local Oglethorpe University offers a delightful opportunity to admire its gorgeous Gothic architecture, while the Murphey Candler Park offers over 135 acres (55 ha) of completely natural green space for you and your family to enjoy.
Once you’ve had a chance to rest in one of Brookhaven’s fantastic hotels, you should make sure to wake up early on Saturday for the Brookhaven Farmers Market. Between the delicious fresh food and luxurious locally made goods, the market is a can’t-miss opportunity to shop.
And before you go, you can’t forget to take your children to Georgia’s largest indoor playground at Plaza Fiesta.
While Atlanta is a beautiful city, there are some unsafe areas you’re better off avoiding. Statistically, some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Atlanta include Oakland City, West End, Lakewood Heights, English Avenue, and Vine City, and Grove Park.
Out of all the neighborhoods in Atlanta, Oakland City is generally considered the most dangerous. The neighborhood has a staggering 125 violent crimes and 303 property crimes per 10,000 residents annually.
While you might be drawn to the nearby Mall West End, there isn’t much in this neighborhood worth visiting anyways — meaning you’re better off avoiding it entirely.
Between the recently constructed BeltLine and the incredible Mall West End, there’s no doubt that this neighborhood has a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, with 233 violent crimes and 1013 property crimes per 10,000 residents annually, West End is also a dangerous place to visit.
I’ve had great experiences shopping in this neighborhood, but if you decide to visit, you should make sure to follow all of the APD’s recommended precautions.
With 99 violent crimes and 255 property crimes per 10,000 residents, Lakewood Heights isn’t as dangerous as many other Atlanta neighborhoods. Unfortunately, crime is rising quickly — in just the past year, rape and burglary have both increased by around 25%, while theft from motor vehicles has risen a staggering 45%.
The neighborhood does have some appealing attractions, like the Lakewood Amphitheatre, but you should exercise caution if you decide to visit.
While Grove Park is one of the city’s primary targets for revitalization and investment, the neighborhood unfortunately isn’t safe to visit yet. Currently, an average of 82 violent crimes and 286 property crimes per 10,000 residents take place in Grove Park annually.
Aside from visiting Westside park in the daytime, however, I find that there isn’t much to do here anyways.
English Avenue and Vine City
One of the worst places you can take a walk in Atlanta is in the neighborhoods of English Avenue and Vine City. The area is known to be unsafe to residents and travelers alike, with over 212 violent crimes and 1,501 property crimes occurring per every 10,000 residents annually.
Unfortunately, students of the following nearby schools are often targeted for robberies and theft:
- Spelman College
- Morehouse College
- Georgia Tech
- Clark University
You should always stay wary when visiting a campus or nearby attraction.
The Best Atlanta Neighborhoods To Live In
Some of the best Atlanta neighborhoods to live in include Buckhead, Decatur, and Little Five Points. While I’d readily recommend any of our safest neighborhoods in Atlanta, these places would be a delight to live in.
If you want to live right in the middle of the action, there’s no better place to go than Buckhead. This neighborhood offers all of the city staples within walking distance, while also offering ample green space and a cheerful ambiance.
While Buckhead would be best described as young and professional, there’s no doubt that anyone could enjoy this spectacular neighborhood. Once you’re here, I recommend starting by visiting the OK Cafe and the Atlanta History Center.
It’s safe to say that Decatur is a difficult neighborhood to get bored of, with attractions like:
- Glenlake Park
- Woodlands Garden
- Wahoo! Grill
- Kimball House
This neighborhood offers incredible proximity to downtown Atlanta and plenty to do, all while lacking the traffic and mayhem that can make other parts of Atlanta overwhelming.
Best of all, compared to nearby neighborhoods, Decatur tends to be reasonably affordable to rent or own a place in.
Little Five Points
There’s no hipper place to live in Atlanta than Little Five Points. If delicious vegan eateries and fantastical festivals sound like your type of thing, you’ll love all of the hipster vibes and city chaos that this neighborhood has to offer.
While you’re living in Little Five Points, it’s important to visit all of the city’s staples, including the unique Junkman’s Daughter thrift shop and the bizarre Rabbithole Industries shop.
Is It Safe To Walk in Downtown Atlanta?
We recommend an anti-theft bag!
Depending on the circumstances, it can be safe to walk around Downtown Atlanta. As a rule of thumb, if you stick with the crowds and walk during the daytime, you’ll be safe. If you decide to walk alone in dark places or appear to be lost, you will make yourself a prime target for crime.
How To Get Around Safely
To get around safely in Atlanta, you just need to follow a few basic precautions. You should stick with crowds and only walk in brightly lit areas. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods whenever possible. If you need to go to a dangerous area, remain cautious at all times.
Must-Know Safety Tips for Travelers
- Don’t walk around while looking at your phone or using earbuds. Criminals will immediately identify that you’re distracted and would be easy to steal from.
- Don’t stop to talk to strangers. Many criminals will talk to you to distract you and make you an easier target.
- Don’t leave anything in your car. Theft from vehicles is extremely common in Atlanta. You should lock your vehicle. Don’t leave anything inside. Even worthless objects could be mistaken for valuables like phones and jewelry, so it’s better to empty your car entirely and avoid a broken window.
- Travel with a friend, or at least stay within crowds. You’re much more likely to be a victim of a crime if you’re alone since criminals know you won’t have anybody to help you.
- Only travel in well-lit areas. Criminals rely on the darkness and emptiness of night to make themselves more difficult to identify. They’re unlikely to be bold enough to attempt a daytime robbery, especially if you seem like a difficult target.
- Stay wary in traffic. You should always have room to pull around and drive away if someone stops their car in front of you. If someone crashes into your car’s rear end, you should stay in your locked vehicle to avoid a “bump and rob.”
- Exude confidence. If you seem nervous or lost, criminals will notice and identify you as an easier target. You should appear confident. Don’t be afraid to firmly exit any situation that makes you uneasy. Don’t apologize for ending unwanted and suspicious interactions.
- Don’t show off your valuables. Whether it’s a large amount of cash or your expensive phone, you should hide anything that could potentially make you a target for theft.
- Dress for safety. You should avoid wearing high heels, tight skirts, or any other items of clothing that will restrict your ability to escape a dangerous situation.
- If you’re being followed, don’t go home. If you suspect that someone is following you, you should head to a local police or fire station to get assistance.
There’s no doubt that Atlanta is an incredible destination for travel and living. With the hundreds of incredible businesses and colleges that reside in Atlanta, the city is a professional dream. Between the spectacular food and dozens of attractions, it offers plenty for people to do. As long as you take the right precautions and stay in safe neighborhoods, there’s no doubt that you’ll have an unforgettable vacation in Atlanta.