How Safe Is Memphis for Travel?

Memphis, United States
Safety Index:

Memphis, a huge metropolitan area resting in the southeastern part of the United States, is the second-largest city in the state of Tennessee.

What tourists rush to see as soon as they get to Memphis, is Graceland, the mansion Elvis Presley lived in during his later years.

More important than that is the fact that Memphis is considered to be the cradle of blues music.

What’s unique about this city is that it has kept its vintage charm of a city that’s been through a lot, yet developed a new style, a mix of old and new which brings a new feel to it.

It’s continually renewing and developing yet never abandoning its roots and initial charm.

For example, neighborhoods of Beale Street and Mud Island are now relatively safe, and citizens are trying their best to make downtown Memphis safe again.

It is turning into a city where you can unwind and have a good time after years of abandonment.

Warnings & Dangers in Memphis

Overall Risk


Memphis isn't the safest city though it's slowly regaining some safety on its streets. It has some extremely dangerous areas that should be avoided. You are advised to remain vigilant around tourist landmarks, since pickpockets are an issue there, and keep an eye out for suspicious activities wherever you go.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Trolleys and taxis are considered safe in Memphis, and they operate in the downtown area. However, if you want to visit more than downtown Memphis, traveling by car is your best bet. Also, there is a bus service provided by the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) that will drive you across the city. Just be careful at night and during weekends, as the routes tend to change, so remain informed so you don't end up far from your wanted destination.

Pickpockets Risk


The most common types of petty crime are pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, car break-ins and car thefts. Apply common sense like holding your purses tightly and being wise when carrying them, keeping wallets in front pockets, and being alert to one's surroundings. This should be enough to prevent these incidents.

Natural Disasters Risk


When it comes to natural disasters in Memphis, the most dangerous threats come from occasional earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

Mugging Risk


When it comes to chances of being mugged or kidnapped, they are moderate in Memphis, as long as you don't wander off into dangerous areas. Stick to the main streets and avoid suspicious areas and neighborhoods, or getting in altercations with individuals that appear to be gang members.

Terrorism Risk


Memphis hasn't been the target of any terrorist attacks recently, but possible attacks shouldn't be ruled out. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


Just like in other tourist destinations, there will be people trying to scam you in Memphis, too. Be wary of anyone trying to distract you, flashing large signs in front of you or ATMs that look like they've been tampered with.

Women Travelers Risk


The city of Memphis isn't the safest option for women to travel to unaccompanied. You should avoid dangerous neighborhoods (and this doesn't only apply to women). Just follow your basic common sense and general rules of things to avoid, like poorly lit streets and deserted areas and you should be fine.

So... How Safe Is Memphis Really?

As for safety, while some parts of Memphis have regained safety like Beale Street, it is still not too safe for tourists in Memphis.

Crime rates are generally higher throughout the city than in other cities in its vicinity.

In 2015, Memphis was ranked the 3rd most dangerous city in America which says enough about the current situation which is probably – well, not great still.

There are many areas and neighborhoods in Memphis where walking at night should be avoided or at least conducted with caution and accompanied by someone.

These areas are in North and South Memphis, and they have very high rates of crime.

Never leave any valuables in plain sight in your car and remain informed on where you shouldn’t be going, especially at night.

You’re likely to see homeless people asking for money.

It is so likely, that there are signs throughout the city asking you not to give them anything.

If you feel inclined to do so, however, never take out your wallet, as they might grab it.

Instead, give them loose change.

How Does Memphis Compare?

CitySafety Index
Los Angeles56
New Orleans57
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information

  • Visas - The US is famous for its harsh policy for acquiring a tourist, let alone a resident visa. The US embassies usually ask for interviews before granting tourist visas, and tourists usually have to pay up to 160 USD to get a visa. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - The United States dollar is the official currency in Memphis. Credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere, and ATMs are widely available. The prices vary but you can plan on spending about 100 dollars per day.
  • Weather - Memphis can get extremely hot in the summertime, which is another thing tourists should bear in mind. Moreover, the humidity there can make the temperatures feel even hotter! If you have health problems during high heat and humidity, avoid visiting Memphis during July or August.
  • Airports - Memphis International Airport is a civil-military airport serving the city of Memphis. It is located about 11.2 km southeast of downtown Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee, United States.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Memphis, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Memphis Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 5° C
Feb 7° C
Mar 13° C
Apr 18° C
May 22° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 25° C
Oct 18° C
Nov 12° C
Dec 7° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

39 Reviews on Memphis

  1. Just chill Memphis is fine

    I visited Memphis June 2-5 of this year 2019. I did not feel threatened by anyone, nor did I see the streets overrun by homeless people. To me Memphis was beautiful and I will be moving there soon.

    1. E
      Evie Ward says:

      You must have visited on a good day, there was another shooting at Cars on Sam Cooper, I was stuck in Traffic then I saw Blue Lights and a car with window shot out. Apparently shootings had been under reported for 2019.

      1. R
        Real Estate Investor!! says:

        Chill in Memphis!!

        I Agree!! Chill!! CRIME is EVERYWHERE!!!!!

    2. A
      Anonymous says:

      Have u ever watched first 48? About every other episode is from Memphis tn

    3. I was there in June of 2021, ate at kooky kanucks, right across from the Peabody first night in town, there was a shooting right outside the restaurant while we were eating, many people ran to the back of the restaurant (I had some drinks and was feeling bulletproof so I just stayed at the bar).

      Next day, in broad daylight some guy came out of a back alley on Beale street, with his eye cut open bleeding all over himself. Lots of cops on Beale at night which made me feel better.

      This was my only time in town, but both days I saw some violent crime… cool town though, didn’t stop me from going to be bb kings the second night, great music. All in all I’d go back, Graceland was cool. I wouldn’t let the crime necessarily scare you off, just be vigilant, keep your eyes open, don’t walk too far at night, stay out of trouble and be ready to fight if you need to.

    4. K
      Kenny D. says:

      1000%'s not safe

      Completely disagree…you must’ve been walking around with your eyes closed….filthy, trash ridden, and homeless everywhere. We were told by locals and hotel workers not to walk around alone at night and keep valuables in room! Everything everywhere is run down, or broken for the most part. Food was awesome though.

  2. A
    Anonymous says:

    uhhh….no it is not!

    1. R
      Roadtripper says:

      Safe place to stay near Memphis

      Found a safe place to stay!!
      We stayed right outside of Memphis in Arlington, TN. Safe area-more residential and quiet. We stayed in the Fairfield Inn there-it was clean, beds were comfortable and they had great breakfast options and amazing coffee-highly recommend!

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    Memphis is NOT safe

    I have lived here for 40+ years and it just keeps getting worse…even right outside Memphis, I can not wait to retire and leave this area!!!

  4. A
    Anonymous says:

    Memphis is extremely dangerous

    I’ve lived in and around Memphis for my entire life. 72 years. Over the past 30 years Memphis has degenerated into an extremely violent third world cesspool. It’s heartbreaking to see what’s become of this once proud, beautiful city. I’ll be retiring in the mountains soon far from Memphis where there’s very little concern about getting carjacked, mugged and shot. The statistic about Memphis being the third most dangerous city in America says it all. This article is quite misleading. Come to Memphis at your own risk.

    1. R
      Roseanne says:

      Lord help us!

      Absolutely correct!! Everybody and their brother is trying to rip everyone off, and that’s putting it extremely positively given the reality of it. Memphis used to be cool. No more.

  5. N
    Never Meant to Live Here says:

    It's truly not safe

    I’ve lived here for nearly 34 years. You have to be smart about your surroundings. It’s definitely become less safe since I moved here in 1985. There are some neighborhoods you never go to, and there are some you only go to during daylight.

    I know of several people living in $500k to $1M East Memphis houses who have been robbed in their driveways, so don’t let the C&VB and the foolish millennials from other places say that crime is hyped. A lot of the millennials who think it’s cool have moved here from better cities because they couldn’t get jobs in their hometown cities. I know this because they talk about it.

    Stay in Germantown, Collierville or East Memphis, and you will most likely be fine. Be careful when you’re downtown – crime statistics are covered up to boost the city’s image for business and tourism. I don’t know why you’d want to visit Bartlett or Cordova, but they are okay, but be smart because they still have murders and theft.

    If you visit the Wolfchase mall area, be very careful.

    Here’s your data:

    I’ve worked with a lot of people retire and move elsewhere because of the crime even though this was their birthplace. People don’t leave cities they love if they can help it.

    1. A
      Anna Marie says:

      Memphis is a decent city

      I’ve lived in Bartlett for 13 years and it’s been VERY safe. We have been downtown for years without any issues. Of course, there are some areas you should avoid–just like OTHER cities. I moved here from Germany, which is safer than any area around here. Never had any issues living in Bartlett. We visit downtown on family outings every month. No issues in Memphis. I have students who are Engineering majors at UofM. I don’t know what negative feelings you have, but it’s false. You’re giving the city a bad reputation. If anything, the news stations here HYPE up crime all of the time, so I do not understand why you say “cover up.”

      1. A
        Anonymous says:

        I agree Memphis id my home anf i live here I’ve been to Nashville – Virginia- Las Vegas and Jacksonville- Olive branch , Missippissi wit no problem //But i love Memphis TN 🇺🇸

  6. This article is trash. As with any other city in the world, stay away from areas deemed to be of ill-repute. Memphis is as safe as any other city in the world, and a beautiful place to live and work.

  7. R
    Randy Johnson says:

    Safe City... I don't think so...

    I was much more comfortable walking the streets of Baghdad after dark then I am walking the streets of Downtown Memphis and/or Beale Street at any time of the day…All cities have their problems but with Memphis staying at or near the top of the list for violent crimes for the past 20 years or so it is a city to be wary of if visiting or relocating…It is easy to do your own research for the FBI keeps records of every city in America, take a look and decide for yourself…

  8. R

    I visit Memphis every year in August and walk from Graceland down to Marlows and and even down to Wal-Mart without any problems at all I love Memphis and am planning on moving there when I retire in 3 years time from NEW ZEALAND

    1. G
      Gretchen Newsom says:

      Well you were lucky
      Not safe…
      I was born in Memphis
      Nowhere is safe anymore there
      If anyone tells you different then I would take it with a grain of salt.
      Memphis even when I was a child was a dangerous place. That was in the sixties. If you go to visit especially in the Elvis Presley Blvd area
      Be smart
      Be safe

  9. It's Really Not That Serious

    Honestly the only people who feel like Memphis is dangerous is older white people who are afraid of black people, considering that most of the black people in the entire state of TN reside in Shelby County. I am a female who lives in North Memphis and have not once ever felt unsafe or in fear of my life. Mind your own business, use common sense when you go out like you would anywhere else hopefully, and you will be fine.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Are you black? I’m white and live near and shop in a black area and never had a problem.

  10. R
    Real Estate Investor says:

    I Love My Memphis Family!!

    I grew up and graduated from HS in Memphis, I Loved Memphis and then I moved to California and really fell in Love with CALIFORNIA!! I visit Memphis Often to visit my Family and Friends!! I’ve Never Been had any problems or been a Crime Victim!!! I still Love and Enjoy my Visits to Memphis!! I do not like the Real Estate Economy there—I Sold my properties and Re-invested in Cities of Real Estate Growth!! I do believe that INVESTORS RENTALS are the way to go as you earn equity with each rental payment because at the end of the day, Property Values will depreciate, my personal experience!!!

  11. J
    John everyman says:

    I lived in Memphis for 35 years before I decided that I had had enough of the crime, the prejudice, the bad housing I only go back to visit my brother and then leave as quickly as I can horribly place to live

  12. Memphis is amazing

    This article is trash. I walk through downtown Memphis everyday and never have a problem. If you are just visiting, you would have no reason to go to North Memphis anyway. It’s just neighborhoods with mainly drug or gang related crime. Don’t do anything stupid and you’ll be fine.

  13. M
    Memphis born and raised, I'm 55yrs old with two college degrees says:

    Don't raise your children in Memphis.

    We are a product of our environment. That being said, Memphis city schools are not providing skills/educations needed to prepare children for a prosperous life, Unfortunately. Nor with a education capable to enter college. Or the income necessary to do so. The largest lessons provided by the Memphis city school’s is the lessons of hard knocks. Leading to vicious life cycles. It’s not a racial thing it’s a poverty thing. Making the city less livable. Hence the City of Memphis Tennessee.

    1. N
      Nicole 😍🥰🤪💦 says:

      I was born there and raised there till I was 13 and moved to SC it’s crazy in Memphis but I miss my home town

  14. A
    Anonymous says:

    It’s dangerous asl

    Y’all are crazy Memphis is always ranked 3 are higher in America but it is a big city so of course they drag it to say it’s not dangerous for money and house owners to real people in to come here y’all crazy if y’all believe that’s true the crime rate it’s crazy and it’s not changing

  15. J
    Johnny B Good says:

    Niagara falls

    Memphis is so cool. Come get robbed for fun.

  16. Memphis, Tn First 48

    Yea I’m pretty sure Memphis isnt a place anyone should move to. Hince the fact that every other episode of first 48 is in Memphis tn.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      Memphis, TN just happen to have the first 48 crime lab here just like Texas and Florida. So you will see and here about dangerous things in these areas. If every state had a first 48 crime lab there you would see all the dangerous areas it would take over the news, tv shows, commercials, etc.

  17. Some of these comments from “long-time” residents? I have been in & out of Memphis multiple times and have lived here over 20 years. Over the last 10 years, it consistently ranks in the to 3 – 5 most violent cities in the USA. Crime is everywhere in Shelby County and the peripheral areas. Memphis is, and continues to be, slow, broke, dirty and going nowhere. Sure it has a few nice areas, but crime is higher than the national average in those areas too. Unless your job has your assigned here, there is ZERO reason to be or stay here.

  18. C
    Concerned citizen says:

    Not just unsafe in the city, unsafe on the freeways too

    They had 80 freeway shootings on I-240 last year which loops around the city. 80! Trying to commute to work is a nightmare. Never honk, flip the bird, or flash your lights at anyone since I have seen road rage like no other here. Homeboys driving over 100 mph, weaving thru the freeway traffic, no regard for human life. They have terrible wrecks all the time and you can still see the scars on the retaining walls all through the city and outskirts of the city where vehicles have burned up from high-speed impacts. And I have only seen cops pulling people over one time. I’m not sure what the cops are doing but they sure do not patrol the highways. I guess the cops are busy responding to all the other crime. All you have to do is Google Memphis and it’s always in the top 10 in violent crime. Not sure that’s going to change anytime soon.

    I don’t go in the city unless I’m absolutely forced to or if I have to drive to work. The suburbs like Germantown and Collierville are great places to live, very safe and beautiful plus have a high police presence. But they are boring places if you’re in your twenties/thirties and single. Better off being bored than being robbed or dead though. There’s a few places to go out in Cordova but honestly Cordova is not that safe either. But it’s mostly petty crime there, a lot of car break ins.

    1. D
      Disappointed says:

      Stay away

      YES!!! Your description of the hwy is 100% accurate!! We made a visit in 2008 and again in 2022…the decline of the city and safety is astounding!! We will not be back…EVER!!

  19. A
    Anonymous says:

    I stayed a couple of nights at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. I was warned by locals to not leave the hotel at night. I couldn’t even sleep at night in the room, with all the hot rodders and drag racers making so much racket.

    Memphis is a very depressing city.

  20. N
    Not happy here says:

    Wrong move

    I moved here less than 1yr ago. It was the biggest mistake! My job is horrible, the area is horrible. I don’t know why anyone would move here. As soon as I can get out, I will….I have never seen so much depressing things. Girls wearing bonnets out in public like it’s a hat. Slippers like it’s bed time. I have never been so ashamed.

  21. J
    JustaPerson says:

    is what it is

    Have visited Memphis quite a bit over the past few years, as wife is a native Memphian. Ended up moving here. Spend most of my time outside of Memphis in Baltimore as I have family there.

    Neither place is Disney World. But both have their charms.

  22. D
    Disappointed traveler says:

    Sad, awful decline

    Theft from our hotel room while staying at the Peabody. Dirty streets… overflowing garbage in the historic areas. Guess the revival of the 1990s is truly faded away. Earlier in the week stayed in Santa Fe NM in a historic hotel. The contrast couldn’t be more dramatic.

Rated 3.03 / 5 based on 39 user reviews.

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