Home to Graceland and other music attractions, Memphis is on many people’s travel bucket lists. However, you may wonder, is Memphis safe?
Before you head to the city, it’s worth learning more about the potential risks and how to protect yourself so that you can enjoy your vacation with greater peace of mind. So read on as we delve into everything pertaining to Memphis and its safety.
Is Memphis Safe to Visit in 2022?
Memphis can be safe to visit, but you need to plan your trip well. The city is one of the most dangerous in the United States. It can also be easy to become a victim of a crime if you stand out as a tourist.
If you stay in the safer areas or go out in a group, you can stay relatively safe. However, visiting Memphis still comes with risks that you should evaluate. Then, you can decide if the risks are worth it to visit.
Crime in Memphis
Pickpocketing is one of the most significant crime risks in Memphis. It’s particularly risky for visitors, but residents can become victims as well.
Overall, the city has one of the highest rates of crime in the US. In general, crime rates have slowly declined over the past few years. However, major violent crime has increased, as have murders and gun violence.
The aggravated assault has also increased. However, major property crime rates have decreased, and the rate of robberies has gone down. Compared to nearby cities, Memphis is still one of the most dangerous.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Whether you’re visiting or want to move to Memphis, you should consider how safe the various neighborhoods are. Some of the safest neighborhoods include:
- East Memphis
- Overton Square
If you want to visit or live on the Arkansas side, West Memphis is also relatively safe. However, you should avoid some of the worst neighborhoods:
- Bethel Grove
- Hickory Hill
- New Chicago
- North Memphis
- South Memphis
- Washington Heights
When visiting the previous neighborhoods, you should be careful. Then, you can reduce the chances of something bad happening. Of course, the best way to avoid bad neighborhoods is to stay in safer areas.
If you must travel through bad areas, drive yourself. Then, you can get through the neighborhood more quickly and not have to get out on foot. If you’re visiting, you can plan your trip to remain in safer parts of town. Make sure you book a hotel downtown, for example.
Then, you can use a rental car or take a taxi so that you don’t need to walk around the more dangerous areas. When moving to Memphis, look for places in nicer neighborhoods.
Consider getting a roommate if you can’t afford to live in a better area alone. Living with someone else will be much safer than living on your own, especially in a worse neighborhood.
Reasons to Visit Memphis
Despite the high crime rate, Memphis offers multiple attractions to visitors. Probably the most famous reason to visit is to see Graceland. You can see where Elvis lived, and the home now features a museum and other attractions.
You can also visit other music venues to watch live performances. Memphis has a fantastic music scene for residents and tourists. If music isn’t your thing, you can also visit the National Civil Rights Museum.
The museum hosts events and speakers, so you can see what’s going on during your trip. Another excellent reason to visit Memphis is for the food. Whether you like barbeque or soul food, Memphis has it all.
Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Tennessee in 2022
Best Months to Visit Memphis
If you want to visit Memphis, the best times to go are during the spring and fall. Specifically April, May, October, and November. During those months, the weather isn’t as severe as the summer or winter.
That means you can walk around town during the day without worrying about the heat or cold.
Also, you can avoid the crowds that flock to the city during the summer and other school breaks. You’ll have more time to explore the various attractions. Waiting to eat at a restaurant also might not take as long.
Tips to Save Money in Town
To stay safe in Memphis, you may want to pay a bit more for a better hotel. Fortunately, you can do a few things to save money on the rest of your trip. Along with Graceland, Memphis is home to three other amazing music attractions.
You can purchase a Backstage Pass to save money on tickets to each venue. Then, you’ll be able to save over 20%, so you can spend that money on other music museums and studios. As mentioned, the summer can be very busy, and that means hotel rates can skyrocket.
If you can visit in the spring or fall, you might be able to get a better hotel for less money. Memphis also offers free stuff to do around town. The specifics will depend on when you visit, so consider what’s available when you book your trip.
Getting Around Memphis
When you visit or move to Memphis, driving is the best transportation option. Of course, you can use your car if you drive to town. Otherwise, you can rent a car so that you don’t have to rely on public transportation to get where you need to go.
If you can’t or don’t want to drive, you can take a cab, but the cost will add up. Another option is to ride the city bus or trolley. You can also rent a bike in the city if you want to go somewhere off the bus and trolley lines.
Walking is possible, but you don’t want to walk too far. You should especially avoid walking in bad neighborhoods. It’s also important not to walk at night since crime rates tend to increase when there aren’t a ton of people around.
Getting to Memphis
Of course, you’ll need to get to Memphis, so you can drive if you live nearby. You can access Memphis from Interstates 40, 55, and 22. When traveling from farther away, you can fly to the Memphis International Airport.
The airport is on the south side of town. You’ll be able to rent a car from the airport, or you can take a cab or shuttle to your hotel. If you don’t want to fly directly into Memphis, you can fly into Nashville or Little Rock. Then, you’ll be able to take the interstate to Memphis.
Tips to Stay Safe in Memphis
Memphis might not be one of the safest places to visit or live. However, you can do a few things to keep yourself safe and reduce the risk of experiencing crime. Consider the following when planning and executing your trip.
Don’t Travel Alone
If you travel alone, you can be at risk of pickpocketing, mugging, and other crimes. At the very least, you should travel with one other person, but larger groups are ideal.
Traveling alone can be particularly risky for women and younger or older adults. Always walk in groups, and stay in well-lit areas. Luckily, taxis are relatively safe, so you can get a ride across town if necessary.
If you must travel alone, let someone know where you’re going. Tell them when you expect to arrive and message them when you get to your destination. Then, your friend or relative will know to call the police if you don’t respond.
Hide Your Valuables
If you rent a car or drive to Memphis, make sure not to leave any valuables in your vehicle. Someone may see the item and break into your car. Some examples of what not to keep in your car include:
- Musical instruments
Ideally, you’d keep the valuables with you or in your hotel room. However, you can hide the items, such as in your glove box, when necessary. If you do that, be sure to lock the glove box just in case someone breaks into the car.
Assuming you’re traveling with others, you can also have someone watch the car. This can help deter thieves if you need to go inside somewhere, such as to use the restroom.
Hold Your Bag Tight
When walking around town, make sure you hold your bag tight and towards your front. You should also keep your wallet or phone in your front pocket.
If you have to use a backpack, consider carrying it on the side so that you can watch the pockets more easily. Pickpockets are common in Memphis, so you don’t want to risk it.
If you keep valuables behind you, it will be easier for people to steal from you. Another thing you can do is to zip up your bag so that it’s harder to get into. You might even want to get a lock to put on the zipper.
Plan Your Route
Before you go out for a day in the town, plan your route. You can use a GPS on your phone or use a paper map. However, you should have a good idea of your route before you leave your hotel room.
Then, you can reduce the chances of looking or getting lost. If you look lost, people may realize you’re a tourist and target you with crimes or scams. You can ask for directions, but try to ask a local business rather than a stranger on the street.
Of course, you might need to adjust your route if there’s construction. Consider an alternate route or two, and change your path quickly to avoid looking like you don’t know where to go.
As you walk around town, pay attention to who and what is around you. That can help you keep an eye on who might want to steal from you or hurt you in some way.
Try not to talk on the phone too much since that can distract you. If you need to talk on the phone, be sure someone else is walking with you who can pay attention to the area. Stay right next to your friend so that you both stay safe.
Even if you aren’t on the phone, try not to look at the ground too much. While you don’t have to be friendly to people you pass, you should be aware that they’re there.
Find a Tour Guide
If you know someone who lives in Memphis, ask them to give you a tour of the city. They’ll know the safest places to stay and how to get to them. You can also look for tour guides to hire if you don’t know anyone in town.
Either way, you should have someone who can show you around. Another option is to ask your hotel concierge for recommendations. Try not to explore the city on your own without some idea of the safest places.
Things to Consider
When you’re traveling in Memphis, you may want to consider a few things so that you can stay safe and enjoy the city.
- Use a car when possible
- Find daytime activities
- Share your location with your travel companions
Whether you drive or take a cab, a car can help you get around town safely. The day will also usually be safer than the night, and you can enjoy your evenings in your hotel. Sharing your location can also help if you split up as a group. Then, you’ll know how to find each other easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still want to visit Memphis, you may have a few questions. Here are some common queries others have had.
Is Memphis a safe city to live in?
Memphis isn’t a very safe place to live due to the high crime rates. While some neighborhoods are safer, a lot of them are more expensive.
Is Nashville or Memphis safer?
Nashville is safer than Memphis, but it still has its fair share of crime. However, both cities have safer neighborhoods where you can live or visit and not worry as much.
Where do the rich live in Memphis?
The rich generally live in Germantown on the east side of the city. It’s one of the safer neighborhoods, which is probably why rich people live there.
Is Memphis rich or poor?
Memphis has rich people, but it has one of the highest poverty rates among cities of at least 500,000 people. Over one-fourth of its residents are in poverty.
Is it worth going to Memphis?
Despite the potential crime, it can still be worth visiting Memphis. You can visit Graceland, hear blues music, and try the local barbecue.
Is it safe to walk around Memphis?
Walking around Memphis may or may not be safe. In Downtown Memphis, walking is usually safe since there’s a good amount of police. However, walking at night in some of the bad neighborhoods is more dangerous.
Is Graceland in a safe area?
Graceland isn’t in one of the safer parts of the city. It’s best to visit the mansion and museum during the day when more people are around. You can stay downtown or in another neighborhood.
So, Is Memphis Safe to Visit?
Memphis isn’t very safe, but you can do things to protect yourself. Be sure to travel in a group and stick to daytime activities. You can also visit during the spring or fall to avoid high hotel rates and larger crowds. Happy travels!