The Safest Neighborhoods In Memphis: 2022's Ultimate List

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

Memphis is an iconic and historic city in Tennessee that is unfortunately quite dangerous. It can be difficult to feel safe when you settle into a community in Memphis considering how much crime there is. So, what are the safest neighborhoods in Memphis?

The safest neighborhoods in Memphis are Windyke-Southwind, Eads-Fisherville, and Cordova-Appling. Areas such as River Oaks-Kirby Balmoral and Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale are safer than the average neighborhood in Memphis. Crime rates in East Memphis-Colonial Yorkshire and Raleigh are lower than most Memphis communities.

Crime statistics, population density, and FBI data help determine the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. Sadly, Memphis is a dangerous place to live and even some of the safest communities have high crime rates. Follow along as we explore the safest neighborhoods in Memphis.

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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.

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:

  • Windyke-Southwind
  • Eads-Fisherville
  • Cordova-Appling
  • River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral
  • Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale
  • East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire
  • Raleigh

Let’s explore each of these communities in detail, along with their characteristics, amenities, crime rates, and livability.

1. Windyke-Southwind

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 223
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 908
  • Population: 10,884

Windyke-Southwind is among the safest neighborhoods in Memphis, and it consists of two communities. This neighborhood is roughly 23 miles from central Memphis, and it is safer than every other neighborhood in the city. The cost of living in Windyke-Soutwhind is 11% more expensive than the rest of Memphis, but it’s worth it.

Windyke-Southwind may be pricier than most of Memphis, but the high cost comes with safety. Both violent crimes and property crimes are uncommon in Windyke-Southwind, especially compared to central Memphis. There are only 223 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, and property crime is below the Memphis average in Windyke-Southwind.

2. Eads-Fisherville

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 241
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 1,260
  • Population: 14,121

Residents often combine Eads and Fisherville into one community, and the area is one of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. Eads-Fisherville is 30 miles east of downtown Memphis, and the area is known for its rural atmosphere. Compared to the rest of Memphis, Eads-Fisherville has a quiet community vibe, and that explains the low crime rate.

Crime is 40% below the national average in Eads-Fisherville, and it’s much safer than the average Memphis neighborhood. Eads-Fisherville isn’t known for having great amenities, but it is close enough to iconic attractions in the city that there is no shortage of things to do.

3. Cordova-Appling

  • 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.

4. River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 774
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 4,542
  • Population: 42,038

River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral is a large community made up of 3 small, safe neighborhoods. This neighborhood is a 20-mile drive southwest of downtown Memphis. The famous Shelby Farms Park is located in River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral, and it consists of 4,500 acres of greenery.

Families flock to the area because of the low crime rate, affordable housing, and quiet atmosphere. The crime rate in River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral is below the Memphis average, but higher than the Tennessee average. Even still, this community is one of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis.

5. Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,465
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 4,690
  • Population: 92,024

You can find Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale 22 miles southeast of central Memphis where the environment is much safer. Crime is 26% less prevalent in Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale than in the rest of Memphis. The low housing costs and crime in the area attract families and first-time homeowners.

Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale is home to several churches, shopping centers, boutiques, and a farmer’s market. The cost of living in Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale is 17% below the national average which is just as enticing as the low crime rate.

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.

7. Raleigh

  • Violent Crimes Per 100K: 1,658
  • Property Crime Per 100K: 6,175
  • Population: 54,460

Housing costs are 47% below the national average in Raleigh, and it’s one of the safest neighborhoods in Memphis. Sadly, crime is still common in Raleigh, and that is a testament to how dangerous Memphis is as a whole. Overall crime is nearly 220% higher than the national average in Raleigh, but it’s still safer than the average Memphis community.

The low housing costs and abundant amenities are the main selling point for Raleigh. Crime may seem high in Raleigh, but it is still safer than neighborhoods like White Haven-Coro Lake or Downtown Memphis. The total crime rate in Raleigh is 6% below the average for Memphis.

Safest Neighborhoods in Memphis for 2020

RankNeighborhoodPopulationViolent Crime (per 100K)Property Crime (per 100K)
4River Oaks-Kirby-Balmoral42,0387744,542
5Hickory Ridge-South Riverdale92,0241,4654,690
6East Memphis-Colonial-Yorkshire107,7531,6115,717

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.

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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.

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Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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