Is Dallas Safe? Neighborhood Guide + Where To Avoid (Local Tips)

Last Updated on March 27, 2024

Asking yourself, is Dallas safe, is an important question to ask when considering a visit or move to Big D.

After the pandemic, a lot about the city changed with the massive increase in residents, neighborhood development, and crime statistics. On top of that, there’s a lot of misinformation online riddled with stereotypes. Most information out there contradicts itself depending on who you ask, which can lead to a lot of confusion. I’m here to clear all that up so you can have a clear look at the city.

I’ve lived in Dallas for seven years and have explored the neighborhoods extensively over that time. In this guide, I am going to walk you through the crime statistics, data, and my take on safety in Dallas so you have all the information you need during your visit. 

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An aerial view of the Dallas skyline during the day.

 

Is Dallas Safe?

For the most part, Dallas is a safe city to visit as long as you follow basic safety as you would in any other major city.

As far as crime goes, property crime, a moderate homeless population, and traffic accidents are the most prevalent safety concerns in Dallas. 

What’s tricky about deeming Dallas “safe” or “unsafe” is the fact that there are rough parts of nearly every neighborhood in the city. Some are worse than others. The difference can be drastic even by a few streets. For this guide, I’ve made maps you can reference and laid out the details of individual neighborhoods so you know what to expect. 

If you stick to the main parts of the city, you’re likely going to be just fine. I’ve never had issues in the time I’ve lived here, even when I wasn’t as familiar with neighborhoods. Keep your street smarts in your back pocket and you’ll be gucci.

 

Crime in Dallas

Crime in Dallas has fluctuated over the years. 

According to the crime dashboard of Dallas City Hall, the top five crimes committed in Dallas are motor vehicle theft, simple assault, theft from a motor vehicle, destruction and vandalism, and drug/narcotic violations

That being said, only a select few areas make up all the total violent crime in Dallas. The Chief of Police adopted a crime reduction plan back in 2021 to reduce the frequency and severity of crimes happening in these areas. Since its implementation, the city has made strides with a 10% annual drop in homicides, a 5% drop in aggravated assault, and an overall reduction in crime and arrests. 

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Dallas ranked 50+ in a list of US cities organized by crime rate. In terms of crime, it ranks significantly lower than many other major cities across the country. 

 

An aerial view of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge crossing over the Trinity River. It crosses two neighborhoods that makes visitors wonder, is Dallas safe?

 

Overview of Dallas Neighborhoods

I’m about to dive into the different neighborhoods of Dallas so you can get a good lay of the land, whether you’re just visiting or looking to move. However, I want to preface the rest of this article by saying that no matter where you are in Dallas, or anywhere else for that matter, there’s potential for something bad to happen. 

Use this breakdown as a guideline, but always keep your street smarts in your back pocket and always trust your gut. That’s more important than any arbitrary neighborhood boundaries.

 

What’s considered “Dallas”?

Although the boundaries of Dallas County span from Richardson in the north, Cedar Hill in the south, Sunnyvale in the east, and Grand Prairie in the west, the locals know Dallas proper as everything south of the 635 highway, or “the loop”.

See the unofficial boundaries on the map below.

A Google map highlighting the main neighborhoods of Dallas.

You would be here all day if I covered every single nook and cranny of the city, so I’ve kept things simple with all the main areas of Dallas proper. These areas host all the best things to do and are more than likely where you’ll be spending your time, or considering for your move.

 

Safest Neighborhoods in Dallas

There are plenty of safe neighborhoods to visit in Dallas. If you’re looking to move to Dallas, all of these areas have great residential pockets to find an apartment, condo, townhome, or rental property.

Although I have labeled these as the “safest” neighborhoods, it does not make you immune to something bad happening to you. As with any city, crime happens in any neighborhood, it just happens less in the ones I have listed. 

These areas have some of the lowest crime rates in the city and are also where I’ve felt the safest as a local.

 

Quick list of safe areas

University Park: Area that hosts Southern Methodist University and the George W. Bush Presidential Center. It’s one of the safest neighborhoods in Dallas, which is mostly residential neighborhoods and wealthy families.

Highland Park: Another wealthy neighborhood in Dallas with huge residential properties and luxury shopping.  

Uptown: The most affluent part of Dallas just north of Downtown. Tons of fine dining and drinking options, all very close to each other.

Lower Greenville: The southernmost part of Greenville Avenue with fun bars and restaurants within walking distance of one another.

Knox/Henderson: Vibrant nightlife district with many residential pockets. Late-night cafes, gastro pubs, fine dining, bars, and shopping are throughout the neighborhood. 

Oak Lawn: LGBTQ+ friendly district just north of Uptown. 

Arts District: Cultural hub within Downtown with museums, live music venues, and a handful of restaurants.

 

Neighborhoods to Avoid in Dallas

Many of the major areas to avoid in Dallas are going to be south of I-30, which I listed below. 

What makes these neighborhoods stand out for this section is that they have the highest crime rates and are avoided if you’re not from or familiar with those areas. Ending up in Balch Springs is not the same as running into a scrappy part of Old East Dallas. If it’s your first time in Dallas, you’re probably not going to end up in these areas, but it’s important nonetheless.

A good rule of thumb, even for us locals, is that if you don’t know anyone from South Dallas, don’t go to South Dallas. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule: Bishop Arts and Fair Park (during the Texas State Fair). More on those below.

 

Quick list of areas for increased caution

Fair Park: One of the poorest neighborhoods in Dallas. You typically aren’t in the area except for the Texas State Fair at Fair Park or a concert at the Dos Equis Pavilion. 

Cedars: The neighborhood just south of Downtown Dallas. The Southside Ballroom hosts fun concerts and there are a handful of awesome local spots that have been popping up. Exercise increased caution.

Oak Cliff: Large neighborhood southwest of Downtown. If you’re visiting Oak Cliff, you’re likely going to Bishop Arts. Outside of that, exercise increased caution.

Bishop Arts: Dallas’ hipster and colorful neighborhood with a rich history, independent shops, and colorful street art. 

*Bishop Arts is an anomaly. It’s a bit like a gentrified island with its popular restaurants, bars, and boutique stores surrounded by Oak Cliff’s not-so-great reputation. Despite that, it’s one of my favorite parts of the city. You just need a touch more vigilance in this area and you’ll be fine.

Deep Ellum: Lively entertainment district with murals, beloved concert menus and the arts. Fine during the day but be cautious at night if you’re visiting the bars. If you’re out drinking, leave before the last call. You don’t want to be in Deep Ellum past 2 a.m..

Love Field: This is the area around the Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL). That area sandwiched between the Dallas North Tollway and I-35 E has some scrappy parts to look out for.

Balch Springs / Pleasant Grove: These two neighborhoods in southeast Dallas should be avoided entirely. There isn’t a way to accidentally get here, so you should be fine. Just be aware of it. I wouldn’t go here during the day.

 

Safest areas in Dallas map

This map I created gives you a general overview of what you can expect in Dallas’ neighborhoods. I want to mention again that just because an area is shaded green does not mean that it’s 100% safe- but there are lower chances of crime happening in those areas. 

This will give you a good feel for things if you’re looking to visit or move. Although, nothing compares to your own experience since safety can sometimes be personal. If you have a question, DM’s are always welcome on my Instagram

a map highlighting safe and unsafe neighborhoods of dallas using red, yellow, and green.

 

Common Scams in Dallas

Dallas doesn’t have any scams to look out for, at least that I’ve experienced. There will sometimes be people selling flowers or other things along the roads, but that’s about it in terms of scams. 

 

Weather and natural disasters

The weather in Dallas is typically relaxed, compared to many major cities.

We don’t experience wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or heavy snow. Rain isn’t very common throughout the year either. There are two times of the year when we experience a form of extreme weather: summer and two months of winter.

Summers in Dallas are extremely hot. Last year we had over a month straight of 100-degree temperatures through August. There will be plenty of A/C around the city to take refuge, but you want to make sure you’re hydrated throughout the day to stay comfortable. The type of heat is comparable to opening an oven. You start sweating almost immediately after walking outside. It’s brutal and still surprises me every year despite being here nearly a decade.

Dallas winters overall are mild. It doesn’t typically get very cold until the end of December. January and February are the coldest months of the year, and every February we have a notorious ice storm around Valentine’s Day.  If it does ice or snow, no matter how much, the city typically shuts down. I’d visit Dallas any month except these two.

Check out my guide to the best time to visit Dallas (coming soon) for more details about what you can expect each season.

 

Safety Tips for Traveling to Dallas

Don’t leave anything in your car. Burglaries can happen and you’re better safe than sorry. No matter where I park my car I always make sure there is nothing visible in my car and any extras/valuables are moved to the trunk.

Be aware of your surroundings. This is a big one. A lot of the city is being gentrified, so there are times when you’ll be traveling through a neighborhood, passing million-dollar houses, then the next street over is an entirely different story. It can be hard to get your bearings because of this. Be alert and pay attention to where you’re going. 

Don’t give money to panhandlers. You’ll see them Downtown, off Park Lane, Forest Lane, the Northpark Mall, and a couple of other streets around the city. I either ignore them entirely or politely decline.

Know the layout of the city. Dallas is a major city, but it’s also a massive metroplex so getting your bearings can be tricky. Peep the area before you go somewhere and use the information in this guide to help you assess.

Make sure your gas is full. I’ve nearly fallen victim to the low tank of gas, sketchy gas station scenario… Don’t let it be you!

Always check transit times before you leave. Dallas has become quite full over the years and so there is traffic 24/7. Car accidents happen pretty much daily on 75, so a quick commute can easily turn into 30 minutes depending on where you’re going. If you have reservations somewhere, check periodically before you leave so you’re not late.

Beware the drivers. Driving in Dallas is cutthroat- especially if you’re unfamiliar with the roads. Getting cut off or honked at is a rite of passage at this point. These roads are not for the weak, so bring your best assertive driving skills.

 

The Trinity River is in the foreground of a nighttime photo of the Dallas skyline.  

FAQ’s About Safety in Dallas

Here are some common questions people ask about is Dallas safe.

Is Dallas a safe place to live?

Yes, Dallas is a safe place to live.

I’ve lived here since 2017 and in those 7 years, I haven’t been a victim of any type of crime anywhere I’ve lived: suburbs, along the Dallas County line, and Dallas proper. 

Past that, I’ve spent a good amount of time in nearly all the neighborhoods. During the day or night. Solo or with friends. 

 

Is Dallas safe at night?

Yes, most of Dallas is safe at night. However, I recommend sticking to my list of safe neighborhoods in Dallas if you’re wandering around at night. 

 

Is Dallas safe for tourists?

Yes! It’s an exciting city with plenty of things to do whether you’re on a girls trip or a family vacation.

 

Is it safe to travel to Dallas alone?

For the most part, Dallas is safe to travel alone.

I’ve traveled all over Dallas as a solo female and have never run into trouble, day or night. I make sure to avoid problem areas, walking around alone at night, and drinking heavily. I recommend you do the same if you’re traveling to Dallas alone.

 

Is Dallas safe to walk around at night?

Yes and no. It depends on where you are.

Dallas isn’t a walkable city, so we rely on Uber or self-driving to get from one spot to another. This leaves the sidewalks rather bare. If you’re alone or even with a few other people walking around, you’re going to stick out which may make you feel unsafe.

It’s safe to walk at night if you’re traveling within neighborhoods like Bishop Arts, Lower Greenville, or Knox/Henderson. Each of these neighborhoods has a main street lined with watering holes and late-night spots, so you’ll see a ton of people strolling (or stumbling) around. Outside of that though, it’s pretty quiet.

It’s not safe to walk at night if you’re traveling between neighborhoods or far distances. I wouldn’t walk from Deep Ellum to Downtown, or Uptown to Knox/Henderson. In those cases, use rideshare. 

 

Is it safe to walk around downtown Dallas?

Yes. Downtown Dallas is clean, walkable, and generally safe. Avoid the West End and stick to the Elm and Main Street areas.

There are homeless people downtown, so be mindful of that. They tend to hang out near city hall and the library. As you walk, watch out for dead zones where there aren’t any other people around. There’s also a heavier police presence downtown which helps reduce the chances of petty crime.

 

What is the safest area in Dallas?

The neighborhoods sandwiched between the Dallas North Tollway and Highway 75 (Highland Park, Uptown, Oak Lawn, etc.) are the safest. This is where most of the money falls in the city and is where I feel the safest.

 

Is Dallas or Houston safer?

According to the numbers, Dallas is safer than Houston.

Both violent crime and property crime are lower in Dallas than in Houston. Plus, the city of Dallas has implemented strict zoning laws to cut down on crime drastically around the city. I haven’t been to Houston, though, so I can’t make a fair statement comparing the two cities.

 

Is downtown Dallas safe to live?

Downtown Dallas is a safe place to live.

There are a lot of nice apartment complexes in Downtown Dallas and this area of the city is very clean and walkable.

What makes Downtown feel unsafe is the homeless population. Most of the time they won’t bother you, but they can get pushy. They have a larger presence on the south and west ends, so keep that in mind. Compared to other major cities like Seattle, Portland, and Austin, I’d say we have a very mild homeless presence.

 


 

If you’re planning a trip to Dallas, feel free to reach out for additional advice and travel tips while you’re here. Otherwise, browse my other Dallas guides to help you plan your trip:

Best Things To Do In Dallas (coming soon)

Weekend in Dallas Itinerary (coming soon)

Best Time To Visit Dallas (coming soon)

 


I hope you enjoyed my guide to your burning question, is Dallas safe? If you found it useful, save it to your Pinterest so you can reference it or share it with a friend later.

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