Is Jackson, Mississippi, Safe?

by | Nov 9, 2022

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Let’s talk about Jackson, Mississippi. If museums are your thing, you can choose from the Civil Rights Museum, Eudora Welty House Museum, Manship House Museum, Old Capitol Museum, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, and more. The city is home to six markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail—part of the reason it’s nicknamed the City with Soul—and a chunk of the Mississippi Freedom Trail. Its humid subtropical climate is ideal for those looking to escape long, cold winters. Jackson may not get the attention of cities like New York and Los Angeles, but it offers a lot for those looking to relocate or visit. But is Jackson, Mississippi, safe?

Jackson, Mississippi, Crime Rate

Founded in 1821, Jackson is both Mississippi’s state capital and its most populous city, with 153,701 residents as of 2020. It’s located roughly halfway between Memphis and New Orleans, and Shreveport and Birmingham, earning it the nickname “the Crossroads of the South.”

Jackson’s per capita income of $22,815 is upper-middle class relative to the rest of the state, but lower-middle class compared to the rest of the country. It’s possible to find extreme wealth and extreme poverty in Jackson. That disparity is often a recipe for high crime rates.

So how safe is Jackson? According to residents, 45% feel “pretty safe,” 40% feel “somewhat safe,” 9% feel “not safe,” and 5% feel “very safe.” However, the data tells a different story.

Overall Crime in Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi, is widely considered one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country in terms of crime.

It performs poorly on NeighborhoodScout’s Crime Index. On a scale where 100 is safest, Jackson earned a 4, meaning it’s safer than just 4% of American cities and towns. It was also ranked as the second most dangerous city in the country, behind only St. Louis and just above Detroit.

Among other factors like high unemployment, crime is a big reason why Jackson’s population is actually shrinking. For most of its existence, the city experienced substantial population growth. But that changed starting in 1990 when it saw a 3.1% year-over-year decrease. The same thing happened in 2000 (6.3% decrease), 2010 (5.8% decrease), and 2020 (11.4% decrease). In fact, that 11.4% drop between 2010 and 2020 was the largest of any American city.

The City of Jackson reported 1,288 violent crimes and 6,425 property crimes in 2020. That gives it an overall crime rate of 50.18 per 1,000 residents. The national crime rate? Less than half, at 23.43 per 1,000 residents. Overall, you’ve got a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of a crime while within the Jackson city limits.

How Dangerous is Jackson?

In a word: very. Or, at least, it can be.

Violent crime is a serious issue in Jackson. You’ve got a 1 in 119 chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime in Jackson, compared to 1 in 343 for the state. The violent crime rate of 8.38 per 1,000 residents is nearly 3x higher than Mississippi’s average rate of 2.92 and more than double the national median of 4.

In fact, the rate of violent crimes is higher than the national average in every category:

  • Murder: 0.47 per 1,000 residents (0.06 nationally)
  • Rape: 0.82 per 1,000 residents (0.41 nationally)
  • Assault: 4.13 per 1,000 residents (2.83 nationally)
  • Armed Robbery: 2.93 per 1,000 residents (1.36 nationally)

The murder rate has increased to new record-setting levels over each of the past three years. There were 128 murders in 2020, giving Jackson the second-highest murder rate in the country, slightly behind only St. Louis. For the year, someone was shot and/or killed in Jackson every 31 hours on average.

Despite the city’s many appeals, it can be a very dangerous location. Exercise extreme caution, at even the best of times. 

Property Crime in Jackson

Violent crimes may get most of the press, but property crime is quite high as well. The property crime rate for Jackson is 41.8 per 1,000 residents, which is roughly double the state average of 21.06 and the national median of 19.

And its individual property crime rates are all higher than the national average:

  • Burglary: 11.06 per 1,000 residents (5 nationally)
  • Larceny/Theft: 28.74 per 1,000 residents (20.43 nationally)
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: 5.59 per 1,000 residents (2.84 nationally)

You have a 1 in 47 chance of becoming the victim of a property crime in Mississippi, but a 1 in 24 chance in Jackson itself.

So is Jackson, Mississippi, safe? Not really. You need to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property. Make it a top priority.

The Safest Neighborhoods in Jackson

But that’s not to suggest that every nook and cranny of Jackson suffers from crime. The city has 50 constituent neighborhoods, after all.

The safest ones, according to NeighborhoodScout, are:

  1. Northeast / Heatherton: This area scores high on safety, peace, and quiet. The neighborhood is more retiree-friendly than 98.3% of neighborhoods in the state, and 43.9% of its residents have advanced degrees.
  2. Briarcliff / Sunkist: Located in the southwest, the area is predominantly blue-collar and lower-middle income. 
  3. Olin Park / Jackson State University: A suburban area just south of the downtown core, this neighborhood has grown around the university campus. As you might expect, 69.2% of its residents are current students.
  4. Hibernia Hill / Westchester Hills: As the name implies, you can find this neighborhood to the west. It too has a sizable segment of college students, at 18.7% of its residents. 
  5. Woodville Heights: More than 20% of households in this southwest suburban neighborhood are run by single mothers (one of the highest rates in the country).
  6. Heatherwood / Colonial: More than half of this middle-income area’s residents work in executive, management, or professional jobs. 
  7. Rolling Wood Beautiful / Sherwood-Audubon Area: This area is primarily upper-middle income and home to many executives, managers, and professionals. 
  8. Mayfair / Heritage Estates: This neighborhood is the southernmost in the city. It’s upper middle income and popular with government employees.
  9. Brookhollow / Western Hills: The westernmost neighborhood in Jackson, it’s popular with executives, government workers, and single mothers (19.8% of households). 
  10. Belhaven University: Centrally located in one of Jackson’s most historic areas, Belhaven University was founded in 1883. The surrounding neighborhood is home to students and working professionals alike.

Of course, you can’t truly appreciate the safest places without knowing about the unsafe ones, too.

The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Jackson

You’d be wise to avoid or use caution in some areas. Based on violent crimes compared to Jackson as a whole, those neighborhoods include:

  1. Maddox Road (violent crime rate of 45.0 per 1,000 residents)
  2. Skyline Drive (violent crime rate of 44.9 per 1,000 residents)
  3. Enochs Street-Hyde Park (violent crime rate of 31.8 per 1,000 residents)
  4. Queens-Magnolia Terrace (violent crime rate of 29.2 per 1,000 residents)
  5. Presidential Hills (violent crime rate of 17.3 per 1,000 residents)
  6. Georgetown Community (violent crime rate of 14.0 per 1,000 residents)
  7. Tougaloo Community (violent crime rate of 12.0 per 1,000 residents)
  8. Olin Park (violent crime rate of 12.0 per 1,000 residents)
  9. Bullard Hill (violent crime rate of 12.0 per 1,000 residents)
  10. Lakewood Drive (violent crime rate of 11.8 per 1,000 residents)

How do these 10 rates stack up against local and national averages? Maddox Road has 498% more crime than Jackson and 1,061% more violent crime than the national average. Lakewood Drive has 60% more crime than Jackson and 203% more violent crime than the national average.

Is Jackson, Mississippi safe? When a crime of some sort occurs every 23 minutes on average and the combined crime rate is 121% higher than the Mississippi average, the answer is an emphatic no.

Visit or live cautiously.

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