Memphis Crime Rate and Safest Neighborhoods

by | Jun 14, 2023

Memphis Crime Rate

One of the largest cities in the southeastern United States, Memphis is a hotbed of history and culture. Visitors enjoy great music, delicious food, and noteworthy sites like Graceland and the National Civil Rights Museum. But if you’re planning to live there, an important question lingers: is Memphis safe? And where are the best places to live in Memphis and its suburbs? Let’s take a look at the Memphis crime rate and how you can protect yourself in the city.

Is Memphis Safe?

If you’re relocating, you probably want to know all about the relative safety of your new hometown. How dangerous is Memphis, really? How common is crime, and what are the chances of you becoming a victim? Knowing all about the Memphis, Tennessee, crime rate will help you make an informed decision about your move.

Memphis Crime Rate

Looking at a city’s crime rate is the most basic way of estimating how safe you’ll feel there. And the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer is the ultimate source of crime information. (An obligatory caveat: standardized crime rates don’t capture the full picture of safety in a community, so take this data with a grain of salt.) What can you learn from Memphis crime statistics?

In 2021, the Memphis Police Department received about 51,000 crime reports. Given the city’s population, that means the overall Memphis crime rate is 80.5 crimes per 1,000 residents. By comparison, the national crime rate is around 23 per 1,000. Even Tennessee’s state above-average state crime rate is only 29 per 1,000.

So is Memphis dangerous? It certainly seems that way.

Crime - USA vs. TN vs. Memphis

Examining Memphis Crime Statistics

Sure, the crime rate is high. But not all crimes are created equal, so to speak. What kinds of crime are you most likely to encounter in Memphis?

With more than 16,000 violent crime reports per year, the Memphis violent crime rate sits at a staggering 25.2 per 1,000 residents—more than 6x the national average. NeighborhoodScout’s list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the United States, which accounts for violent crime, ranks Memphis at #5. And, speaking of rankings, CBS named Memphis #9 on its list of cities with the most murders.

The city’s property crime rate is also high, at 55.4 per 1,000. By comparison, the national average is 19 per 1,000. This category includes offenses like burglary, theft, and arson. Insurify ranks Memphis #4 on a list of cities by burglary rate.

Is Memphis dangerous? No matter what way you slice it, Memphis has one of the highest crime rates of any city in the country.

Feeling Safe in Memphis

Of course, there’s more to “safety” than crime rates. Safety is a feeling. What informs that feeling besides crime? A strong and visible police force, community resources, strong infrastructure, and so on.

What do the locals say? Is Memphis safe?

In a poll on AreaVibes, residents responded with how safe they felt in the city at night. A full 87% said they felt “not very safe” or “not safe at all.” That said, the site also reported that Memphis has 20% more police officers per capita than the national average. Similarly, a Niche revealed that most residents think the police are visible but may or may not respond quickly enough.

So, how safe is Memphis? Not very, if you look at the data and local opinions. But, as in any city, location makes a big difference.

Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis

Where will you feel safest in the city? Let’s look at the safest neighborhoods in Memphis based on information provided by NeighborhoodScout.

  1. Spring Creek / Crossroads
  2. Sanga Point
  3. South Germantown
  4. Windyke Area
  5. Lakes of Forest Hill
  6. Lenow
  7. Ragan Farms
  8. Richwood
  9. Normandy Meadows East / Richland Acres
  10. Sea Isle Park East

Unsurprisingly, the safest areas in Memphis are on the outskirts of the city. The further east you are from downtown and the Mississippi River, the less likely you are to experience crime. If you’re looking for the best suburbs of Memphis to stay safe, head northeast to Brighton or Mason.

This Memphis crime map can help you visualize where you’ll find the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. (And the most dangerous, too.)

Memphis Crime Map

Most Dangerous Memphis Neighborhoods

There are also areas in Memphis where you’ll want to be more careful and take precautions to protect yourself from crime. According to AreaVibes, here are the top 10 worst most dangerous neighborhoods in Memphis, measured in violent crime.

  1. Downtown (38.0 violent crimes per 1,000 residents)
  2. Parkway Village–Oakhaven (34.2 per 1,000)
  3. Shelby Forest–Frayser (30.1 per 1,000)
  4. Berclair–Highland Heights (29.8 per 1,000)
  5. Midtown (29.7 per 1,000)
  6. White Haven–Coro Lake (25.9 per 1,000)
  7. Raleigh (20.4 per 1,000)
  8. East Memphis–Colonial–Yorkshire (19.8 per 1,000)
  9. Hickory Ridge–South Riverdale (18.0 per 1,000)
  10. River Oaks–Kirby–Balmoral (9.5 per 1,000)

As you might expect, the most dangerous neighborhoods in Memphis are primarily clustered in the city center. If you’re in downtown Memphis, keep your wits about you.

The Best Places to Live in Memphis: Other Factors

Of course, there are other reasons to pick certain Memphis neighborhoods beyond safety. Depending on what’s most important to you, here are the other best places to live in Memphis.

Top-rated public schools (from NeighborhoodScout):

  • Macon Rd / Gillham Dr
  • University Area / Bremington
  • Macon Cv / Resources Dr
  • Haley Rd / Nixon Dr
  • Normandy Meadows East / Richland Acres

Walkability (from Walk Score):

  • East Midtown
  • Idlewild-East End Historic
  • Barry F. Homes
  • Annesdale Park
  • Colonial View Civic Club

Highest real estate appreciation (from NeighborhoodScout):

  • North Memphis
  • Uptown
  • The Edge / Victorian Village
  • Harbor Ave / Port St
  • Lauderdale Courts / Winchester Park

Most affordable (from AreaVibes):

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

Memphis offers a variety of neighborhoods and suburbs to choose from, so you’re bound to find the perfect place for you. Evaluating the best places to live in Memphis ultimately depends on what fits your needs and desires.

Staying Safe in Memphis

Crime is everywhere, and Memphis is no exception. Regardless of the neighborhood you choose, it’s always wise to follow fundamental security guidelines. Taking these precautions will help ensure your peace of mind no matter where you decide to live.

First, look at your property from the outside as if you were a burglar. Can you see any easy hiding spots? How about weak entry points? Are any valuables in plain sight? If so, it’s a good idea to make some changes. Use the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design to make your home less attractive to criminals. Simple changes—putting up a fence, planting thorny bushes, installing floodlights, or picking up litter—can make a significant difference.

You should also familiarize yourself with your local police force and any crime prevention resources they offer. The Memphis Police Department has several outreach programs to strengthen its relationship with the community. Memphis also has an active Neighborhood Watch program.

The most crucial step you can take is investing in home security cameras. While many cameras capture evidence after a crime has occurred, the right system can actually deter criminals. Deep Sentinel offers AI-powered cameras backed by live security camera monitoring and intervention. This combination means you get reliable protection without false alarms.

By taking these precautions and staying vigilant, you can help prevent yourself from becoming a statistic in the Memphis crime rate. Prioritize your safety with Deep Sentinel.

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