Nestled in the southwest corner of Tennessee on the Chickasaw Bluffs, Memphis overlooks the majestic Mississippi River. The roughly 650,618 residents who call this city home consider Memphis to be a southern gem. Many choose to settle down in Memphis for its low cost of living, and fantastic work opportunities, and then they choose to stay because of the music, barbecue, and relaxed lifestyle. Home to Beale Street, Sun Studio, and Graceland, Memphis offers plenty to enjoy, against a framework of rich history and southern hospitality.
This city really takes its southern hospitality seriously; you can expect friendly neighbors and a warm welcome virtually everywhere you go. With such a low cost of living, quality of life is very high in Bluff City. Its historic leafy neighborhoods, patio restaurants galore, thriving art scene, world-class music, and other cultural amenities, make it hard not to understand why people choose to move to this southern locale. It can be a great place to start your career or perhaps start a family, as buying a home is very affordable when compared to other cities of similar size.
If the great outdoors is your thing, you’ll find running rivers and lush landscapes to explore in Memphis. The city is also home to gorgeous parks, endless trails, forests, and botanical gardens that can be enjoyed almost year-round. Memphis truly has something for everyone.
If you’re planning on relocating to Bluff City, you’ll have over 46 neighborhoods to choose from. Many decide on their new home based on local amenities or their particular income bracket. However, one consideration, regardless of where you are moving to, remains the most important priority: safety.
Table of Contents
- What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis?
- 1. Windyke-Southwind
- 2. Eads-Fisherville
- 3. Cordova-Appling
- 4. River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral
- 5. Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale
- 6. East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire
- 7. Raleigh
- Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis for 2020
- Is Memphis Safe?
- Tips for Staying Safe in Memphis
- Wrapping It Up
What Are The Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis?
It’s no secret that Memphis has struggled to get its crime rate under control over the last several years. In fact, it still remains particularly high with its total crime rate 357% above average, and violent crime a staggering 711% above. A relatively new study, from October of 2019, ranked Memphis as the second most dangerous city in the United States.
Although this is certainly something that should not be taken lightly, it does not mean that Memphis is without safe areas. The key to staying safe in this city is knowing which neighborhoods to avoid, and which to stick to. Whether you’re moving to Memphis for a new job opportunity, or to start a family, selecting a safe neighborhood will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy all that Bluff City has to offer.
In order to determine the safest areas in Memphis, we took a look at published FBI crime statistics. More specifically, we analyzed population, property crime, violent crime, and total crime in the city’s individual neighborhoods. Those communities that experienced the least number of crimes per 100K people in 2020 made our list of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis:
- River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral
- Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale
- East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire
Let’s explore each of these communities in detail, along with their characteristics, amenities, crime rates, and livability.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 223
- Property Crime Per 100K: 908
- Population: 10,884
The Windyke-Southwind neighborhood is comprised of two conjoining communities with a population of approximately 10,884 residents. The area is located about 23 miles southeast of the Memphis city center. It borders Cedar Lake to the north, Lake of Forest Hills to the south, the Windyke Country Club to the east, and Richwood to the west.
The country club is one of this neighborhood’s most prominent features, offering an Olympic size pool, tennis courts, dining, event spaces, and multiple golf courses. Windyke-Southwind is a good mix of residential areas with commercial properties. Amenities include a Costco, hotels, auto dealerships, churches, a number of dining options, and convenient access to schools in the area. Although the cost of living is slightly lower than the national average, it is 11% higher than the Memphis average.
Regardless, the slightly premium price you are paying for housing is primarily for the area’s safety. With the lowest reported crime rate of all the communities in the city, Windyke-Southwind can be considered the safest neighborhood in Memphis. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 223 and property crime per capita is 908 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 241
- Property Crime Per 100K: 1,260
- Population: 14,121
The neighborhoods of Fisherville and Eads are considered two separate unincorporated communities but are combined for zoning purposes. Eads is located just north of Fisherville and both are about 30 miles east of downtown Memphis. While some of this area still remains unincorporated, much of it has been annexed by the city.
Being located so far outside of the city Eads-Fisherville has a very rural feel, where homes are spread far apart and situated on large properties. Few amenities exist in the respective downtown areas, and it’s about a fifteen-minute drive to more densely populated commercial districts that feature big-box grocery stores, fast food joints, shopping centers, and more.
The cost of living in Eads-Fisherville is higher than the Memphis average, but still quite a bit lower than the rest of the country. Though, you can expect the housing costs to be a bit higher than both the state and city averages, with a median home price of $197,233. Based on statistics, Eads-Fisherville claims the second spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 241 and property crime per capita is 1,260 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 525
- Property Crime Per 100K: 2,544
- Population: 83,223
The Cordova-Appling area is a large community of roughly 83,223 residents that lies east of Memphis, northwest of Collierville, north of Germantown, and south of Bartlett. It is located approximately 23 miles from the city center. While the majority of the neighborhood has been annexed to the city, the small remainder is a part of unincorporated Shelby County. Although the Wolfchase metropolitan area is not technically a part of the Cordova-Appling neighborhood, it is often referred to as such by association.
This area grew from a quiet country farm village of 150 people in 1912 to become one of Memphis’ fastest-growing neighborhoods. Retail growth exploded in the 1990s because of the Wolfchase Galleria shopping mall, which was once the largest retail center in Shelby County outside of the Memphis city limits. Cordova’s historic downtown seeks to preserve its past with annual festivals and their own Fourth of July parade.
Residents describe Cordova-Appling as a quiet, kid-friendly, clean, and safe working-class community. They enjoy convenient access to restaurants, churches, stores, movie theaters, schools, local parks, and the interstate system for commuting into the city. While crime rates in this neighborhood are higher than national averages, they are substantially lower than the city average.
Therefore, Cordova-Appling earns its designation as the third safest neighborhood in Memphis. Violent crimes per 100K people come in at 525 and property crime per capita is 2,544 for 2020.
4. River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 774
- Property Crime Per 100K: 4,542
- Population: 42,038
The River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral area is a large community that is comprised of many smaller subdivisions and micro-neighborhoods. It is home to roughly 42,038 residents and approximately twenty miles southwest of downtown Memphis. The neighborhood is a mix of residential areas, commercial districts, and extensive green spaces.
Residents describe River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral as a community of hard-workers, active people, families, and older couples. Although some of Balmoral has declined in recent years, much of the area’s subdivisions are well-maintained and beautiful. It is considered one of the ideal places to raise a family, and often understood as a “best kept secret” in Memphis.
Those who reside here enjoy an abundance of amenities including the massive Shelby Farms Park, situated on the neighborhoods north end. This park consists of 4,500 acres of green space, 40 miles of paved and unpaved scenic trails, more than 20 lakes for fishing, boating, or kayaking, and two restaurants.
Although crime here is significantly higher than national averages, it is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis due to the fact that it experiences 36% less crime than the city average. By our calculations, the River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral neighborhood is the fourth safest neighborhood in Memphis. Violent crimes per 100K people come in at 774 and property crime per capita is 4,542 for 2020.
5. Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,465
- Property Crime Per 100K: 4,690
- Population: 92,024
With a population of around 92,024 residents, the Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale neighborhood is a massive Memphis community. It is located about 22 miles southeast of the city center and is comprised of many subdivisions and micro-neighborhoods. Due to its size, the area is home to virtually every amenity imaginable including a farmer’s market, diverse dining options, churches, shopping centers, parks, and so much more.
Living in Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale is very affordable as the cost of living and housing prices are well below average. Residents describe this area as being safe for kids, relatively quiet, friendly, peaceful, and conveniently located to all types of restaurants and stores (within five minutes). Some even describe Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale as the ideal place to purchase a starter home.
When it comes to safety, the crime rates are significantly higher than national averages. However, it is a much safer neighborhood than inner-city areas and experiences 26% less crime than the Memphis average. Just looking at statistics, the Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale community earns the fifth spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 1,465 and property crime per capita is 4,690 for 2020.
6. East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,611
- Property Crime Per 100K: 5,717
- Population: 107,753
The East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire neighborhood is one the largest in the city, combining the best of urban amenities and suburban living. Not only is this community home to the University of Memphis, but it also has some of the city’s most popular outdoor recreation areas. As far as housing goes, here you’ll find everything from affordable apartments and trendy townhouses to Craftsman-style bungalows and a ton of property for new construction opportunities. The cost of living is low and housing prices are only slightly above the Memphis average, with a median home price of $133,731.
Residents describe East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire as being a clean, safe neighborhood, ideal for families with children. Locals enjoy an abundance of shopping and restaurants nearby, great public and private schools, friendly neighbors, and a sense of community.
Unfortunately, like many Memphis communities, East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire does have some high crime rates. However, this area experiences 12% less crime than the rest of the city, earning a spot on our list. East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire is considered the sixth safest neighborhood in Memphis. Violent crimes per 100K people come in at 1,611 and property crime per capita is 5,717 for 2020.
- Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,658
- Property Crime Per 100K: 6,175
- Population: 54,460
Closing out our list is the Raleigh neighborhood, located in north-central Memphis. It is home to roughly 54,460 residents and got its name from a former unincorporated village that used to be at its center. Raleigh is bound to the west by Frayser community, to the east by the Bartlett suburb, to the north by the Memphis city limits, and to the south by Interstate 40 and Wolf River.
Raleigh is considered one of the highest points in the city and it’s never a far drive to reach grocery stores, shopping centers, or nearby schools. Residents describe Raleigh as having pockets of some undesirable areas, while other subdivisions are quite peaceful, safe, and well-kept. It takes just fifteen minutes to reach downtown from Raleigh, offering a convenient commute for those who work in the city.
While the neighborhood experiences some heavy crime, higher than national averages, it still earns a spot on our list. Just like most places in the world, you are going to have areas where crime is concentrated, which can make it difficult when analyzing based on statistics alone.
However, Raleigh has 6% less crime than the rest of the neighborhoods in Memphis and claims the seventh spot on our list of the safest neighborhoods in the city. The violent crime rate per 100K people comes in at 1,658 and property crime per capita is 6,175 for 2020.
Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis for 2020
|Rank||Neighborhood||Population||Violent Crime (per 100K)||Property Crime (per 100K)|
|5||Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale||92,024||1,465||4,690|
Is Memphis Safe?
Based on crime statistics, Memphis is not considered a relatively safe city. However, it is slowly reclaiming some safety on its streets. Most of the crime is concentrated in particularly dangerous areas of the city that should be avoided and property crime tends to be most prevalent. With Graceland, Beale Street, and a number of other popular tourist attractions, the city sees around 10 million visitors a year. As a result, you can generally expect pickpocketing to be an issue and you should always remain vigilant, whether you are a resident or tourist in Memphis.
Just like any other populous city in the nation, the crime tends to be worse in the city itself rather than in the surrounding neighborhoods or cities of the Greater Memphis area. As you long as you know which areas to stick to and which to avoid, you can be safe in Memphis.
Tips for Staying Safe in Memphis
In 2018, Memphis was ranked 4th for violent crimes in the United States, making it a not-so-safe city when you look at statistics alone. However, as long as you take the necessary precautions, most tourists and residents will be unlikely to experience any problems in Memphis.
- Keep an eye on your belongings. When strolling around the city, keep a close watch on your things, especially in crowded areas downtown. You’ll likely encounter panhandlers asking for money if you ever wander down Beale Street. Although most of them are harmless, you never want to take your wallet out when giving them money as someone could come by and snatch it out of your hand.
- Use a cab or trolley at night. If you’re visiting downtown Memphis after sunset, consider using a cab or trolley instead of walking around. You should especially avoid walking if you’re alone. There tends to be a significant spike in crime after dark in the city center.
- Special caution in Graceland. As someone who is either new to the city or visiting, you’ll likely make your way over to Graceland at some point. This area of Memphis can be rather dangerous and while that should not deter you from visiting, you should use special caution. Don’t wander too far from tourist attractions, lock your car doors, don’t leave any valuables in plain sight, always be aware of your surroundings, and avoid traveling alone.
- Exploring the suburbs. The areas that most contribute to Memphis’ high crime rates tend to be downtown, Beale Street, and suburban areas that are very far from the city. Always do your research before visiting an area, as safe and unsafe areas could be separated by just a few blocks. Overall, East Memphis tends to be the safest, and South and North Memphis suffer the most from the worst crime.
Wrapping It Up
Although Memphis does have some pretty high crime rates across the board, this should not completely deter you from visiting the Bluff City. High crime rates almost never equates to a city that has 100% dangerous neighborhoods. As always, the key to staying safe in any populous city, Memphis included, is to do plenty of research, stay vigilant, and know which areas to avoid and which neighborhoods to stick to.