Yeah, I really want to second ClydeFrog's comment. When I moved to Atlanta, I would see some graffiti or tags around and immediately think 'oh oh, this is a bad area'. Having lived here for a while however, I also see that quite a few of these neighborhoods that I thought looked bad, are actually very well functioning neighborhoods. What I mean is folks are keeping an eye out for each other and their houses, generally know what is going on, etc.
My rules of thumb are to avoid some of the obvious such as ATMs late at night, don't be walking around at 2 or 3am, but otherwise, not to worry too much about it. Life is always risky and if you are too conservative about where you are willing to go, then you miss out on some great restaurants, good music, etc.
That said, one piece of advice that I think is good is that while you can't avoid them, that you do want to be particularly aware of your surroundings when you're in a transitional area where people pass through but usually don't stay. E.g., parking lots, cut throughs, etc. Those are places where a large proportion of robberies take place.
Last edited by dspieler; December 31, 2012 at 04:14 PM.