Is Dallas Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know Before Traveling


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is dallas safe

No city in Texas embodies the motto "Everything is bigger in Texas" better than the city of Dallas. Dallas is the second most populous city in Texas and home to the Cowboys, the Mavericks and a slew of other professional sports teams. It is a well rounded city with arts, music, culture and people of all walks of life.

If you are thinking about visiting Dallas and have qualms about the safety of the city, we go you covered. We deep dived into the statistics, crime reports and talked to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe the safe the city really is.

Is Dallas Safe To Visit?

If you only look at the statistics, Dallas is a slightly unsafe place to visit. According to statistics recently released by the FBI, Dallas had the 31st highest Violent Crime rate in the country in 2019, 774.64 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also ranked 60th for Property Crime rate in the country, 3185.09 per 100,000 residents.

It was not ranked in the 50 most dangerous cities in the United States list, however there were a few cities in Texas that made it onto the list. Most notably, Houston at 19th, Beaumont at 21st, Odessa at 23rd, Lubbock at 24th and Corpus Christi at 43rd.

The average violent crime rate for the United States is 366.7 per 100,000 residents and the average property crime rate for the United States is 2,109.9 per 100,000 residents.

Dallas’s violent crime rate is a little bit more than twice the national average and Dallas’s property crime rate is 1.5x the national average.

Dallas Crime Stats

In 2020 Dallas reported 252 murders, which was a 24% increase from 2019. The number of murders reported in Dallas are the highest they have ever been in 20 years.

However, As of October of 2021, Dallas has reported 158 homicides compared to 168 during the same time period in 2020 which is a 5.9% decrease and violent crime has dropped 6% compared to last year. Violent crime also decreased 6.3% from January to August 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, and robberies have decreased 24.8%.

Officials attribute the reduction in violent crime to the crime reduction plan that was implemented in May.

The crime reduction plan include strategies like hot spot policing and urban blight and disorder abatement.

As a testament to the success of hot spot policing, violent crime dropped almost 46% in the areas that police had targeted for additional attention.

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared with 2019:

  2019 2020 Percentage Change
Homicide 203 252 +24.14%
Rape 617 485 -21.39%
Robbery 4,668 3,457 -25.94%
Aggravated Assault 6,468 7,986 +23.4%
Burglary 8,932 8,017 -10.24%
Larceny/Theft 27,630 27,261 -1.3%
Motor Vehicle Theft 11,047 10,665 -3.46%

**All data is from the 2020 Dallas Police Crime Report**

Dallas’s Crime Rate vs The Rest Of Texas

Looking at the table below, you can see that in terms of violent crime, Dallas ranks 2st among the most populous cities in Texas and it ranks sixth behind Garland for property crime.

According to NeighborhoodScout, you have a 1 in 114 chance of being a victim of violent crime in Dallas. Compare that to 1 in 77 chance in Oakland, 1 in 55 chance in Detroit and 1 in 52 in St. Louis.

If you look at Austin, you have a 1 in 245 chance of being a victim of violent crime, which is twice as less.

If you look at Houston, you have a 1 in 91 chance of being a victim of violent crime, which is 20% more.

City Population Violent Crime (Per 100,000)

Property Crime (Per 100,000)

Houston 2,338,235 1095.23 4128.41
Dallas 1,338,551 774.64 3185.09
San Antonio 1,520,712 707.5 4844.84
Corpus Christi 329,256 702.49 3565.31
Fort Worth 873,069 560.21 3215.32
Arlington 397,377 516.89 3197.72
Austin 971,949 414.84 3189.57
El Paso 688,667 378.85 1818.88
Laredio 260,669 321.86 2483.61
Garland 236,243 316.62 3032.47
Irving 242,062 226.8 2539.43
Plano 290,413 149.79 1733.74

*All data is from the 2019 FBI Crime Stats Report**

*Crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Violet Crime In Dallas Is Concentrated In A Few Small Areas

Violent crime in Dallas is geographically concentrated in a small number of areas within Dallas. Researchers who analyzed a year of violent crime in the city found that 5.9% of the grids* accounted for all reported violent street crime in Dallas in 2020.

Historically, beats 318 in the Southeast Division , 454 in the Southwest Division, 744, and 731 in the South Central Division have consistently ranked as the most violence-prone areas in Dallas.

*Dallas PD’s seven patrol divisions are divided into 225 beats. Beats are further broken down into 1,156 small reporting areas and even smaller 330’ x 330’ grid square.

The worst neighborhoods in Dallas

Income and crime are inversely correlated. This maps gives you a really great starting point on which parts of town are safest.

dallas worst neighborhoods

Driving tour of Dallas’s worst neighborhoods:

https://youtu.be/M_XOTv3Xijk

Is Downtown Dallas safe?

Downtown Dallas is a generally safe area to visit. If there is a special event, it’ll be pretty busy around the venue but for the most part it is pretty deserted at night. There is a homeless problem in certain areas but they are harmless for the most part.

Uptown is going to be more lively at night, and safer to walk around as well

Here’s what some residents have to say about Downtown:

  • A good rule of thumb for downtown at night is to stay within the region bounded by Commerce to the South and of course avoid the West End as it can get sketchy sometimes. If you know how to deal with the homeless and they don’t bother you, then the whole area is just as safe as any other downtown metro.
  • There are some cool things to do downtown, but for the most part, it’s kind of a dead zone for social activities.
  • Downtown is fine but don’t really venture into the Fair Park area, it is not a safe place. Deep Ellum is ok too, but they have had their issues in that neighborhood.
  • Downtown Dallas has a lot of homeless walking around but they are mostly harmless and Uptown is a clean place with lots of options for walking.
  • There’s not much going on in downtown at night, it’s kind of dead. Some of the homeless can be pushy and aggressive. I would stick to Uptown/Victory park, Knox-Henderson, Deep Ellum areas
  • Downtown Dallas is business center so there are not a ton of people out at night.
  • Deep Elum thru Uptown and through Oak Lawn, you should be fine

Driving tour of Downtown Dallas:

What do residents of Dallas say about its safety

  1. Much of the crime in Dallas is pretty specific to the perpetrator and the victim. Avoid gangs, avoid drugs, avoid drug deals with people in gangs, and don’t buy drugs on the street. That gets you pretty far in terms of staying safe.Stay away from South Dallas.
  2. South Dallas is a sh*t hole, East Dallas is quickly heading in the same direction. Anything in North Dallas is rich people territory, anything west of Dallas is the middle class.
  3. Avoid South Garland and South Dallas and the area around Park Lane off of 635.
  4. The thing about Dallas is that it is very spotty. One neighborhood can be fine, and the neighborhood one block over can have issues.
  5. North-West Dallas aka ‘Nawf’ Dallas aka ‘Nawfghanistan’, stay away.
  6. Walking through downtown or Deep Ellum at night you will get approached by a LOT of homeless asking for money, day or night. If you’re a woman I wouldn’t recommend downtown or Deep Ellum by yourself at night.
  7. Pleasant Grove should be avoided. I wouldn’t even want to be in the area during the day.
  8. I made the mistake of moving to Oak Cliff when I moved to Dallas. I heard rapid fire gun shots at least 3 times a week and sometimes daily.
  9. The neighborhoods east and south of Fair Park have a fair amount of homeless and crime.
  10. My husband is with Dallas Police. Do NOT go South of I-30. That is bad, ESPECIALLY Fair Park area. Downtown area is fine, but don’t go south of I-30 whatever you do. Stay north of 30 and the worse that’ll happen is your car may get broken into.
  11. As one who has spent a lot of time in an ambulance in the Oak Cliff area I would say that there is always a great deal of police activity. Just saying.
  12. The only part of North Dallas you should be alert of is North-West Dallas, North-East Dallas and Midtown and Springvalley Road…if you aren’t in those areas you are okay. Far North Dallas takes you into the suburbs.
  13. I have lived in Oak Cliff for over two decades and I can say that area is not a great place. Most areas east of 35 and south of 30 are going to be sketchy.
  14. In my many years of of living in Dallas, I would say it is a pretty safe city. Even the most dangerous parts of Dallas are nothing compared to areas like Detroit, Chicago, St Louis, Milwaukee, or Oakland.

Is Dallas safe at night?

Like any large city, there are areas where you shouldn’t think of going at night, namely Fair Park, Oak Cliff, and Pleasant Grove and most of South Dallas and North West Dallas. These are the most dangerous areas and even long time residents have qualms about going there.

Is it safe to visit alone?

Dallas can be a safe place to travel alone as long as you know which areas to avoid. Dallas is a BIG city, and there are risks involved when you’re in a big town by yourself. As well as being more of a target for petty theft.

Research the areas in Dallas that you want to visit and Use Google Maps street view to see if the areas are sketchy.

Tips to stay safe in Dallas

  • Stay where the streets are well lit and where there’s more foot traffic and plan your routes ahead of time and don’t take shortcuts.
  • Always be aware of your surrounding. Don’t wear headphones and don’t get lost in your phone.
  • Restrict your sight seeing for the day time.
  • Make sure your car is filled with gas. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy part of town, in the middle of the night.
  • Don’t wear anything flashy or fancy. Doing so will only make you a target.
  • Educate yourself with the layout of the city. Understand which areas you should and shouldn’t go to.
  • Don’t overdo it with alcohol. You want to have all your mental faculties in place when in a new area.
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car or in plain sight in your car.
  • If you turn down one of a streets and it seems sketchy AF don’t go down there.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night. Take an Uber or get a taxi.

Final Thoughts

For the most part Dallas is a moderately safe place to visit. The crime stats are not staggering and most residents agree that Dallas is pretty safe with exception to certain areas which include; South Dallas, Fair Park, Oak Cliff, Pleasant Grove and parts of East Dallas, North West Dallas and North-East Dallas. Something else to keep in mind is that most violent crime in the city is concentrated in only several parts of the city.

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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