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Old 07-22-2008, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Madison
22 posts, read 69,430 times
Reputation: 12

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Greetings!

I've spent the last week or so reading about Atlanta with a special emphasis on the crime problems there. I am slated to move in two weeks, but I have developed some feelings of ambivalence about this and I was hoping to hear from a few people in the know about, basically, the quality of life.

I am not exactly sure why, but there is an overwhelming amount of negativity about Atlanta on this forum. So, could someone please tell me what the city is like in non-sensationalist terms.

I am no country-bumpkin having lived in a number of large cities, including some of the shadier neighborhoods therein, but Atlanta seems to be different. Many many people here seem to be casting the city as a war-zone where the only thing more likely than having a gun shoved in your face is the tendency of the days to follow the usual 24 hour cycle.

I want also to know about neighborhoods--these issues go hand in hand. Grant Park, EAV, VH, PH, L5P, Cabbagetown. How BAD is the crime? I have the requisite smarts, I know how to live in a city, but is this enough, generally speaking?

I am moving there for a few reasons, fyi. I have family there, the economy is strongish, I have some friends there and some good connections for work, and I like the cost of living and the apparent cultural mishmash. I am extremely open minded and not afraid of a little grit, but I don't want to invite a load of crap into my life by choosing the wrong city/neighborhood.

Thoughts? Basically, I am interested in residents (former or present) to freeflow with some thoughts about the atmosphere and vibe of the city, and a cost/benefit analysis would be nice too. ie, the benefits are x y and z, but the cost is dying in a drive-by.

Let me add, lest it remain unclear, I am really interested in the positives... why is Atlanta great?

Cheers.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:33 AM
 
269 posts, read 982,079 times
Reputation: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphabetadada View Post
Greetings!

I've spent the last week or so reading about Atlanta with a special emphasis on the crime problems there. I am slated to move in two weeks, but I have developed some feelings of ambivalence about this and I was hoping to hear from a few people in the know about, basically, the quality of life.

I am not exactly sure why, but there is an overwhelming amount of negativity about Atlanta on this forum. So, could someone please tell me what the city is like in non-sensationalist terms.
It's a problem of expectations and past experience running up against modern economic reality. If you've lived in a less expensive area of a large city, Atlanta will probably seem comparatively safe. The people here just aren't used to the realities of high density life.

As to neighborhoods, it would help if you didn't make up acronyms. Grant Park has been struggling to gentrify for a long time, but it is unfortunately buffered from better neighborhoods. There is a huge railroad switching yard/tracks that runs east-west (and is the only reason the city even exists); the better in-town areas are north of it. The traditional dividing line is Edgewood or Ponce de Leon, but even very depressed neighborhoods south of that line are finding it a lot easier to gentrify than neighborhoods south of the tracks.

I guess VH is Virginia Highlands. It and Midtown were once nice suburbs, became very depressed and crime ridden, and have pretty much fully recovered at this point. The bad news is that real estate prices reflect this.

Atlanta is a thriving city with a strong economy and a lot of nice people. If you have the money, you can still get a fabulous house in town. If you're more restrained by budget, the traditional solution has been to buy in the path of progress and wait. I'd look at Kirkwood (north) or, if you could swing 300k, the area around Deering Drive.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:37 AM
 
263 posts, read 1,045,056 times
Reputation: 84
Atlanta is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy safer than DC, Bmore, Ny, Chicago, LA, New Orleans, etc

Check the FBI crime reports, dont listen to people's opinion, check that facts (compare atlanta to other cities)

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/2007prelim/ (broken link)
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Madison
22 posts, read 69,430 times
Reputation: 12
Masonbarge: Apologies for the acronym issue. I lifted them from other forums and so they seemed to be 'in-use'. Yes, VH is Virginia Highlands, PH is Poncey Highlands, EAV is East Atlanta Village and I think L5P is obvious.

Surprising point about people not being used to "high-density living". It hadn't really occurred to me that that was the case because there seem to be so many people from elsewhere (NYC, etc) down there. But it makes sense and I have heard faint echoes of this point in conversations with other people. More generally, thanks for the response. It was heartening.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Madison
22 posts, read 69,430 times
Reputation: 12
chip 1980: Actually, I did exactly that and the FBI crime reports as well as a number of other national crime stat. sites say the exact opposite. To wit, the FBI stats. I have seen place Atlanta as THE most dangerous city in the US, the only potantial competition for that slot being Oakland, Camden, Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Detroit--and though it was a hard to tell, not one of these places seemed any worse. And actually, Chicago and NYC are WAY safer (according to all stats.) than Atlanta. And that's the thing. That's where I am coming from (Chicago, NYC, Boston) and I just assumed things would be better down there but they apparently are not. Thus my apprehension.

But I know that 'there are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics!' That's why I wanted to hear from the good people of Atlanta on this point.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:53 AM
 
263 posts, read 1,045,056 times
Reputation: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphabetadada View Post
chip 1980: Actually, I did exactly that and the FBI crime reports as well as a number of other national crime stat. sites say the exact opposite. To wit, the FBI stats. I have seen place Atlanta as THE most dangerous city in the US, the only potantial competition for that slot being Oakland, Camden, Baltimore, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Detroit--and though it was a hard to tell, not one of these places seemed any worse. And actually, Chicago and NYC are WAY safer (according to all stats.) than Atlanta. And that's the thing. That's where I am coming from (Chicago, NYC, Boston) and I just assumed things would be better down there but they apparently are not. Thus my apprehension.

But I know that 'there are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics!' That's why I wanted to hear from the good people of Atlanta on this point.

Crime is everywhere. If you are selling drugs, hanging around bad neighborhoods living a thug life any city will be bad. Sure you can be somewhere at the wrong time but its all about how you life your life. Stay out the bad neighborhoods, dont walk around by yourself late at night, dont hang around drug dealers, say "excuse me", etc and you will be fine in any city in america
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
1,123 posts, read 5,957,424 times
Reputation: 556
Crime in Atlanta is drastically over-rated. Many of the statistics are driven by very poor, slumish areas of town that you would really have zero reason to ever drive to unless you WERE looking for dope! Pretty much all of those areas you mention are pretty easy to live in if you have any kind of common sense/street-smarts, so it's not really a concern. Drive-bys are not going to happen. The only thing you might have to worry about in those areas is, since they are close to some rougher elements, you might get the occasional straggler on your street who might bust a window on your car to take something left out in view.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Madison
22 posts, read 69,430 times
Reputation: 12
A few more things:

I am not in the market for purchasing a house. Been in graduate school for the past 6 years, Peace Corps before that = I don't have much money. So, I am looking for rental friendly neighborhoods intown.

And to be specific about the type of neighborhood I want: I would love something quiet with a coffee shop nearby, groceries within walking distance (ideally) and a few friendly neighborhood bars. I like charm, older architecture, and a strong sense of neighborhood.

Also, I understand LOUD AND CLEAR about the traffic issues and the need to (desirability of) living near my job. For the time being, I am going to assume I'll be working downtown.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Madison
22 posts, read 69,430 times
Reputation: 12
spacelord75: Very good to know. I made the mistake of using the crime-mapping on the APD website and it just looked like WOW! Any given 2 week period reveals a downtown area saturated with crime... i.e., you can't avoid it. But what you say makes a lot of sense and I appreciate it.

Can I ask, what are the "rougher elements" neighborhood wise? I've read time and time again that south of 20 gets a bit touch and go, but what about north towards Ponce de Leon, and heading east towards Mooreland/L5P? Basically, are there identifiable hot (as in bad) spots within all of the safer areas, or is it more like a commuter-crime situation where Atlanta's auto-heavy motivity leads inevitably to the dispersion far and wide of crime.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Inman Park (Atlanta, GA)
21,871 posts, read 13,532,614 times
Reputation: 14259
Here is my two cents worth and my experiences. I have always lived in the city limits as an adult. In college and sometime afterwards, I lived across the street from Piedmont Park. My car was always parked on the street and it was never broken into. I never kept anything in visible site to tempt anyone either. I, to this date, have never been mugged or had anyone break into any of my homes.

I currently live in Inman Park which is right next door to Little Five Points. My next door neighbor was broken into a few months ago but we all suspect that it was a worker "employed" by someone else that had worked in the house and scoped it out. Whomever it was, did try to break into our house too but there is a "decorative" security door on our side porch. My neighbor has hence purchased one too.

In my neighborhood a majority of the theft are car break in related. Anyone can read the report in the monthly newsletter and the number of cars that were smash and run victims. Whenever I walk my dog I am amazed at how much stuff is in plain sight for anyone to take!

Yes like any other big city, you have to employ your Spidey Senses to be aware of your surroundings. Obviously some of my neighbors that park their car on the street did not receive this memo.

What I like about Atlanta:

1. The fall and spring (it's bloody hot now!)
2. The amount of trees in the city
3. The vast number of restaurants to chose from
4. The growing arts scene
5. It is growing into a real metropolitan city
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