Is Memphis Safe To Visit?


is memphis safe

Memphis, Tennessee is a safe place to visit when educated about the potential dangers of the area. Each visitor and local will have a different answer that fully corresponds to their personal experiences. We are only as knowledgeable as we choose to be about visiting new places. The more you know about Memphis, the better.

Is Memphis full of crime?

In 2019, the crime rate in Memphis was 820, which is 3 times higher than the U.S. average.

Over many decades, Memphis has earned its reputation for being an unsafe city to visit and live in due to crime rates and abandoned areas. Fortunately, the citizens of the city have been working hard to bring a good name back. Memphis has a rich, unique history being the birthplace of blues music. Not to mention, the origins of Elvis Presley.

As the second-largest city in Tennessee, Memphis was once ranked the 3rd most dangerous city in the United States. This was mostly due to the very high crime rates in North and South Memphis. However, the city as a whole is slowly regaining safety.

How much crime is there in Memphis (stats, etc)

The calculated crime rate is based on the number of crimes per 100,000 people. This way, a smaller city in Tennessee can be accurately compared to a bigger city in Tennessee. The safety of a city is based on this scale. If the crime rate is higher than the national average, the area is considered to be more dangerous. To put the high average into perspective, Memphis has a population of 650,618.

Crime Stats

  • The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Memphis is 1 and 53
  • The chance of being a victim of property crime in Memphis is 1 and 17
  • The chance of being a victim of crime in Memphis is 1 and 13.
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,901
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,128

What kind of crimes are common in Memphis

High crime is commonly associated with an area of high drug and alcohol abuse. Memphis is also a lower income area and has a growing homeless population. The high unemployment, poor wages, and a lack of rehabilitation programs play a major role in all of this.

  • Overall risk: Medium
  • Taxi & Transportation risk: Low
  • Pickpockets risk: High
  • Mugging risk: Medium
  • Scams risk: Medium

Which neighborhood should I live in?

Every year, it is said that Memphis is becoming safer and safer. Many of the locals agree that those safe areas continue to expand. Currently, the area surrounding Interstate 240, also known as Midtown, has been considered a well-known safe area to live.

Safe area recommendations:

  • Cooper- An area known to the younger grounds, having a hip vibe to it. This area is home to a lot of bars, unique shops, restaurants, and other places for young people to socialize.
  • East Memphis- Recommended for families, as the schools are nearby and the neighborhood housing is reasonably affordable.
  • The University Area- Not as safe as the above locations, but it is closest to the largest university and is convenient for students.
  • Downtown- With all the shops and bars coming alive, this is a fun and exciting area to live. It is also becoming more safe and welcoming. It is a great place to have the option to walk everywhere, especially for jobs located downtown.
  • Harbor Town- This area is more expensive but has that highly desirable small-town, safe feel. It’s close enough to downtown to be able to easily access the fun, but also feel disconnected.

Other safe areas in the suburbs:

These areas have more chain restaurants and stores which will satisfy the need for consistency and familiarity. The location allows housing options outside of the city, yet close enough to visit. Although these areas have a higher crime rate, families are beginning to feel safer.

  • Bartlett
  • Cordova
  • Germantown
  • Collierville
  • Southaven

What neighborhoods should I avoid?

There are always going to be areas in a city that are deemed better than others. The neighborhoods to avoid are a result of people staying away from the things they don’t like. Of course, areas known for a higher crime rate is going to play a major role where a place ranks on the safe list.

The neighborhoods below are the top areas to avoid living due to high unemployment, low population density, low median income, low home values, and higher crime rates.]

Neighborhoods to avoid in Memphis:

  • Berclair-Highland Heights
  • Parkway Village-Oakhaven
  • White Haven-Coro Lake
  • Shelby Forest-Frayser

Current most “dangerous” neighborhood/area in Memphis?

According to statistics, South Memphis is the most dangerous and avoided area. The Vollintine area in North Memphis is a close second on places to avoid. Both areas are known for high crime rates.

Is Downtown Safe?

Depending on who you ask, there are an array of answers when questioning the safety of downtown Memphis.

Downtown Memphis is a lively place with a vast history and a lot of things to do and see. It would be a shame to live in fear and miss out. As with any place, being aware of your surroundings is going to be key. If you’re alone, pay attention to who’s around you and keep your valuables close and/or locked up in your hotel room.

As a safety precaution, always have a phone on you in case of emergency, avoid low-lit areas, and don’t walk alone at night.

What is the best time to visit?

The best time to visit Memphis is between April and June. The weather is favorable and the temperatures remain moderate during these months. Memphis in May is a top favorite time to visit and be a part of the month-long festival that welcomes families and people of all ages to enjoy an array of activities. During this time, the average temperature is around 8o degrees high and 62 degrees low.

Is It Safe At Night?

It is highly recommended that nighttime activity is kept to a minimum. There is plenty to do and see during the day. This isn’t to say going out at night will result in something bad happening, but the risk is higher. As always, take the safety precautions you would bring in any new, unfamiliar place at night.

Is It Safe To Visit Alone?

Memphis is safe to visit alone when you familiarize yourself with the area and are aware of the areas and neighborhoods to avoid. Many people travel to and visit Memphis regularly. As with any place, traveling alone will always have its risks. It’s all about fully prepared in a potentially dangerous scenario.

Is It Safe As A Woman To Visit

As a woman, there is going to be some extra caution taken into account. However, preparation will always be key. This pertains to traveling anywhere alone, as a woman. Always let your close friends and family know your whereabouts and have a cell phone handy in case of emergency.

Safety Tips

  • Become familiar with every area you visit
  • Know your surroundings
  • Don’t travel with valuables
  • Always lock your car doors
  • Don’t share your lodging information with strangers
  • Avoid low lit areas
  • Avoid walking alone at night
  • Have a phone on you at all times
  • Let friends and family know where you will be

Final thoughts on the safety of Memphis

It is no doubt that Memphis has its past reputation of being a crime-ridden city, however, it is making major improvements each year. The citizens of the city take pride in their eclectic and vast history and are making the best efforts to do what they can to continue to make it a safe place for people to live and visit. Memphis, Tennessee is a safe place to visit when educated about the potential dangers of the area.

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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