Mississippi : Safety by City
- Holly Springs
- New Albany
- Pass Christian
Southaven, Mississippi, is a Memphis suburb just south of the Tennessee state line.
While mostly residential, it’s a safer and most suburban place to stay compared to the higher crime rates in Memphis.
The city includes a major stretch of I-55, offering hotels along the way with easy access north or south.
The traffic flow helped bring shopping and dining to Southaven, including the Tanger Outlets Southaven and Southaven Town Center.
In a wider snapshot, visitors here can explore all the DeSoto County communities, including Horn Lake and Oliver Branch.
I lived in Memphis about 20 years ago, and I’m simply amazed at how much this region has grown.
Back then, Southaven was a more rural place, and people would move there for starter homes.
Now it’s a destination all its own.
Known as the Mid-South, this region offers the charm of Southern living with the vibrancy of a big city.
The rich music scene covers both sides of the state line.
Warnings & Dangers in Southaven
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Southaven has a low risk, but that's with the understanding that it's a whole different story across the Tennessee state line in Memphis. It's also a city with a violent crime rate that has doubled since 2016. Take the "low risk" to mean that it's one of the safer places in the Memphis area and Mississippi, but it doesn't have exceptionally low crime rates.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
The Memphis MATA bus system doesn't go as far as Southaven, so you'll need a rental car to get around. Taxis and rideshares are also available. You can pick up the MATA system less than three miles north of Southaven, but with the crime rate in Memphis, that's not the safest choice.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
Pickpocketing is a low risk, but with such a large shopping area, you'll want to carry as little as necessary with you and keep your purse close to you and your wallet in your front pants pocket. Car break-ins are much more likely than a pickpocket or purse snatching.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
This part of Mississippi can get dangerous weather throughout the year. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are an ongoing risk, but winter weather can hit northern Mississippi in the form of snow storms or ice storms. Even what would be a minor winter storm in the north can cause major problems here with traffic, burst pipes, and power grid issues. Earthquakes are another risk as the New Madrid fault line is nearby.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
This is a low risk, but the largest category of robberies was in public places like on sidewalks, roads, or parking lots. There's definitely a risk of crime spilling over from Memphis.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Being part of the Memphis area, which is a major distribution hub, there's definitely an elevated risk. You'll also get added security and law enforcement presence, especially during a major event or busy travel seasons. The Terrorism Advisory Bulletin is updated regularly through Homeland Security. You can sign up for emails when a new one is issued.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
We're giving this a medium risk because the 2022 crime data shows fraud of all kinds happening there, from identity theft to con games. Fraud was up 30% in 2022 with less than 14% of those cases solved. The medium risk is a cautionary warning to protect your personal information, like by keeping receipts instead of throwing them in the trash.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
This is another low-risk category as Southaven is one of the safer parts of the Memphis community for women, solo travelers, moms, and seniors. Again, that low risk only goes as far as the Tennessee state line.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. You'll want to check the city's social media sites for any urgent issues with water quality and pay special attention if you happen to be there when temperatures are near freezing. Frozen pipes can burst, causing pressure issues, which leads to boil orders.
Safest Places to Visit in Southaven
The Southaven city website has a Discover Southaven section with links to many resources, including parks, events calendar, and the local magazine.
You can also check out VisitDesotoCounty.com to get information about the region.
Memphis Travel is the name of the website for the metro area.
If you love shopping, you’ll love Southaven.
Head to Tanger Outlets, where you can browse a wide range of stores and restaurants, including well-known brands and local boutiques.
Southaven Towne Center is a must-visit destination, boasting a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, including a movie theater and bowling alley.
Dining options between the two cover fine dining to fast food and include some traditional Southern cuisine.
Take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the beautiful trails at Central Park, which offers picturesque views of the city.
You get lakeside views and playgrounds for the kids with some sporting fields for watching or joining the game.
Art lovers won’t want to miss the chance to explore the DeSoto Arts Council, which showcases the work of local artists and hosts a range of events throughout the year.
BankPlus Amphitheater at Snowden Grove is a premier outdoor venue that hosts concerts and events all year round.
Elvis Presley’s home Graceland is just four miles up the road in Memphis, with audio tours through the home and the outdoor spaces, with a memorial section where Elvis and other family members are buried.
Lisa Marie Presley was buried there in 2023.
Less than 30 minutes south, you’ll find Cedar Hill Farm, which offers holiday events throughout the year, whether you’re looking for a haunted hayride or a Christmas celebration much like a Hallmark movie.
Places to Avoid in Southaven
Southaven is built around I-55 and most of the places to visit, stay, and explore are along that corridor.
Driving west down Goodman Road or Highway 302 to Olive Branch will take you to another gathering of hotels and entertainment areas on Highway 78.
Aside from the regular traffic, there’s really no part of the city to avoid and even taking traffic detours won’t bring you into a dangerous part of town.
Southaven is directly south of Memphis, whereas Olive Branch is south of the suburban area.
I laugh as I write this since Germantown is one of the “fancy” suburbs east of Memphis.
One of my friends bought a home in Olive Branch when the city was just starting to grow.
She referred to it as “South Germantown” to keep up with the prestige and safe reputation of the community.
I bring that up to tell you that Olive Branch has a direct shot to Cordova, Germantown, and Collierville – the safer suburbs of Memphis, while Southaven is a straight shot north for those wanting to get to downtown or midtown Memphis.
Southaven is also directly under the flight path to Memphis International Airport, so you’ll be dealing with airplane noise.
You can see a map of the area most impacted by airport noise and learn about noise control on the airport’s website.
Look for the Noise Control FAQ.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Southaven
- Southaven does have its own police department, as does Olive Branch and Horn Lake. The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office overseas the unincorporated areas. It’s wise to follow all local law enforcement on social media since many people who visit Southaven will venture between the different cities. Southaven’s Facebook page is @SPD1980.
- Look for the Notify Me section of the city’s website to get notifications during your visit. The Alert Center is the most important, but you have dozens of other categories to choose from pertaining to everything from events to senior services.
- Since this is a popular retirement community, you might be researching the city’s safety ranking in anticipation of a move. Check out the Forever Young program throughout the city to see the abundance of activities for safe socialization among seniors. It is a program for Mississippi residents only, but they’d be happy to answer your questions or give you a tour during your visit. Call (662) 895-1138 for more information
- Golf carts are allowed on some Southaven streets, so don’t be surprised if you see a few of them sharing the road with you. There are strict rules and regulations you can review on the city’s website, and not just anyone can take a cart and ride. If you see someone going faster than 25 mph, please let the police know.
- Southaven has community shelters when severe weather threatens. The police and city will post the locations on the website and offer the information through those alerts we discussed above. You should also check with your hotel to find the location of the safe space in case a storm develops overnight.
- Spring brings a lot of construction to the area, as winter can really tear up the roads with freeze/thaw cycles. You can check with the city’s road construction section or get the 511 MS app to get updates on road construction, traffic, and accident information. Be patient as the roads here can be dangerous if the potholes aren’t fixed and surfaces aren’t smoothed out.
- If you have any information about a crime that happened or get new information about criminal activity, even if it’s just suspicious circumstances, call Crime Stoppers at (662) 429-TIPS (8477). You’ll be anonymous and still be eligible for a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.
- Southaven issues an annual magazine you can download online for free. This will cover new businesses, local events, and some hyper-local information about safety in the community.
- BankPlus Amphitheater is the premiere venue in the city and brings some great bands and entertainment in throughout the year. Review the rules and banned items on the Snowden Grove Amphitheatre website before you go or else you could be denied entry.
- Follow the City of Southaven Parks and Rec on social media to find local events, especially if you’re visiting during a holiday. Christmas, Easter, and the 4th of July bring great local events that are family-friendly to the town.
So... How Safe Is Southaven Really?
The biggest challenge cities like Southaven face is not being a victim of their own success.
I know I mentioned early that violent crime has doubled since 2016, but the city has also grown almost 10% since 2010.
The more people that move here, the higher the crime rate could be.
That said, the average crime rate in America is 396 violent crimes per 100,000 people and Southaven was at 250 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2022.
The theft rate is double the national average, but the largest percentage (43%) was because of car break-ins.
Unfortunately, the majority of those were due to cars being left unlocked or valuable items being left in the vehicle.
If you lock your car, roll up the windows, and remove personal belongings every time, you’ll exponentially lower your risk.
The vigilant safety steps you take should happen in the shopping areas.
Shoplifting accounted for more than 30% of thefts, meaning there are people capable of stealing around you.
Common sense and situational awareness go a long way here.
You would have to go through some dangerous parts of Memphis to get downtown from Southaven, so stick to the interstates for that trip.
With such a high crime area nearby, you shouldn’t be lulled into a sense of safety, but you shouldn’t have to sleep with one eye open here either.
How Does Southaven Compare?
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A passport and purpose-designated visa are required to get through Customs and Border Patrol at the airport. Work and student visas are faster than travel visas due to backlogs, but be honest about the purpose of your trip, or you'll have to start over. With so many steps in the process, you won't be able to trick the system.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency you can use here. Try to use credit cards for all purchases to protect against fraud and track your purchases. If you want to exchange currency, do so in the safety and surveillance of the airport. Taking care of that before you leave your home country will also save you money with lower fees.
For spring through fall, make sure to include lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for the warm and humid weather, as well as comfortable walking shoes. Insect repellent and sunscreen protect you from bugs and the strong Southern sun. Winter can be hit or miss with temperatures, so check the forecast for the day or two before you go to see if you'll need a thick coat. Most of the time it's not needed, but if your luck is anything like mine, you'll end up posing for a photo in front of Graceland freezing in a long-sleeved t-shirt (true story).
Southaven is just 10 minutes from Memphis International Airport, making it an easy drive to and from the airport.
Travel insurance should be strongly considered since severe weather can delay flights or cancel entire routes as storms sweep across the South. It's better to be safe than lose money.
Southaven Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Mississippi - Safety by City