10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky For 2020


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Bluegrass State for 2020.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our fifth time ranking the most dangerous places to live in Kentucky and is updated for 2020.

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If you’re from Kentucky then you know that you have to watch out for more than just crazy Wildcat fans in Lexington and busted, angry moonshiners in Louisville: The Bluegrass State has some pretty dangerous places, too.

It’s not all bougie Kentucky Derby fans, either. This flyover state has some pretty scary criminals, and they can be found in Kentucky’s most dangerous cities. Lucky for you, RoadSnacks has created a list of the most dangerous places in Kentucky for 2020 and we think that you should definitely check it out before you make any major moves.

How’d we determine the most dangerous places in horse country? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 73 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 5,000 residents. We discovered that there has been an uptick in both violent and property crimes compared to the national average over the last four years and that the most violent place in Kentucky is Louisville. The ‘Ville just can’t catch a break: this city also made it on the list of most dangerous cities in the country. And, surprisingly, it’s not the most dangerous place in this Midwest state.

If you already live in Kentucky’s safest city, consider yourself lucky. But if you don’t, and you’re looking to move, we suggest crank some Bluegrass and check out our list below before you head out: we wouldn’t want you to get caught in any crossfire.

Here are the 10 most dangerous cities in Kentucky for 2020:

  1. Paducah (Photos)
  2. Mayfield (Photos)
  3. Oak Grove (Photos)
  4. Bowling Green (Photos)
  5. Campbellsville (Photos)
  6. Newport (Photos)
  7. Shively (Photos)
  8. Owensboro (Photos)
  9. Frankfort (Photos)
  10. Radcliff (Photos)

If you guessed that most of Kentucky’s problems are centered around many of the state’s biggest cities, you guessed right. Cheaper rent and the promise of better jobs with higher wages is usually the draw, but not always the outcome. Surprisingly, however, the state’s most dangerous city is not one of the state’s most populated.

What’s the most dangerous place in Kentucky? That would be, Paducah.

If you want to know where the rest of Kentucky’s most dangerous cities are located, take a look below. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, head to the bottom.

Learn more about the safest places in Kentucky.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Kentucky

Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020

Paducah, KY

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 24,933
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 372 (4th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,548 (4th most dangerous)
More on Paducah:  Data | Photos

Coming in 1st is Paducah, a city of over 24,933.

With residents facing a 1 in 268 chance of being the victim of violence in 2018, Paducah ranked 4th for that criteria.

Property crime now ranks 4th in Kentucky.

Review Of Paducah by HomeSnacks User

Absolutely hated this city – I lived there for two years. The thing about people from Paducah, is they get along with people from Paducah, but not “outsiders” as I was called. They were some of the rudest and trashiest people I’ve ever met.

The stoplights would regularly take 2 minutes or so to change to green even if there was no cross traffic.

Most of the people there are overweight-they claim to be the fast food capitol world as they have the highest fast food restaurants per capita. The problem with this is that they are poorly run. Most of them, like the A and W are absolute garbage.

Another issue is that Paducah, Kentucky has one of the worst drainage issues of any city I’ve ever seen. Even a normal rain will cause certain parts of the city to flood. While thunderstorms cause entire sections to shut down due to flash flooding.

There’s literally nothing to do there. Like nothing. The crime rates are awful, shoot, even the city park Noble park- which is where I began to hang out a lot because it’s pretty – was one of the more dangerous parts of the city.

I remember I was going to go to a night club but had to cancel my plans only to find out the next day that there was a deadly shooting there.

Don’t go here unless you absolutely have to, this place is trash.

Just Burgers is absolutely amazing.

Oh, and Barbecue on the River is amazing too.

Mayfield, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 9,819
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 356 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,623 (3rd most dangerous)
More on Mayfield:  Data | Photos

Mayfield is not the refuge that you might be expecting — it ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in Kentucky.

It has the 6th highest overall violent crime rate.

On the plus side, property crime ranks 3rd in the state, meaning it’s not even in the top 10% of cities in Kentucky.

Put differently, property crime isn’t a problem to the same extent violent crime is in the city.

Oak Grove, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,232
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 414 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,286 (10th most dangerous)
More on Oak Grove:  Data | Photos

Oak Grove’s recent explosion of crime makes it the 3rd most dangerous place to live in the Bluegrass State.

Between 2017-2018, both violent and property crime rates nearly tripled, leaving residents with a 1 in 241 chance of being the victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 23.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018.

If the trend continues, we can expect to see the town of Oak Grove top this list in a few years’ time.

Bowling Green, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 68,268
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 304 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,851 (1st most dangerous)
More on Bowling Green:  Data | Photos

You have a 1 in 20.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime in Bowling Green and a 1 in 328 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

Campbellsville, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,503
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 17)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 278 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,537 (5th most dangerous)
More on Campbellsville:  Data | Photos

The 33rd most populated city in the state, Campbellsville is the center of quite a bit of crime, but at least Campbellsvillens are working on fixing it — violent crime was reduced by 4% between 2017-2018, and property crime by 5%.

Still, residents had around a 1 in 359 chance of being the victim of violence and about a 1 in 22.0 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.

Newport, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 14,972
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 307 (9th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,800 (12th most dangerous)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

Located just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Newport is the 6th most dangerous place in Kentucky overall.

It may not be the most violent place, but since residents faced a 1 in 26.3 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018, its overall crime ranking is pretty poor.

While their abysmal property crime has improved 12% in recent years, violent crime has seen a 17% increase — probably not a good trade in the eyes of most Newport residents.

Shively, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 15,876
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 346 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,640 (16th most dangerous)
More on Shively:  Data | Photos

A suburb of Louisville, Shively is the 7th most violent place in Kentucky, though its decent property crime statistics keep it off the top of this list.

And things have only been getting worse in terms of violence — the 1 in 288 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2018 represented an 11% increase from 2011.

Property crime fell by nearly the same percentage, but that doesn’t seem like a very good trade.

Owensboro, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 59,686
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 268 (14th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,419 (9th most dangerous)
More on Owensboro:  Data | Photos

Owensboro has more violent crime than most cities in the Bluegrass State.

While property crime dropped by 10% between 2017-2018, violent crime rose by 11%, producing very little net gain for the city’s overall crime rate.

In 2018, Owensboro residents had a 1 in 22.6 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

Review Of Owensboro by HomeSnacks User

I Live in Owensboro and it is one of the most fd yo cities its also one of the biggest cities in ky mfs stay getting.l robbed shot raped stabbed etc.. those small towns u listed are candy lands compared to Louisville or Owensboro or Lexington Paducah bowlinggreen hopkinsville Madisonville Henderson

Frankfort, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,664
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 256 (16th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,802 (11th most dangerous)
More on Frankfort:  Data | Photos

Frankfort ranks as the city with the 16th violent crime rank and 11th property crime rank.

Residents of Frankfort had a 1 in 389 chance of being the victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 26.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018.

Radcliff, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,576
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 363 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,007 (23rd most dangerous)
More on Radcliff:  Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten is Radcliff.

Radcliff has the 5th highest violent crime rate in Kentucky and the 23rd highest property crime rate.

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Kentucky for 2020?

Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.

For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2018 data, specifically the 2018 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2020.

So what criteria did we use? Have a look:

  • Violent Crimes Per Capita
  • Property Crimes Per Capita

In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered Kentucky cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 73 cities in Kentucky.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 73 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in Kentucky — Paducah. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Kentucky.

Locking It All Up In Kentucky

The latest FBI crime data shows that Paducah ranks as the most dangerous city in Kentucky for 2020.

We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Paducah and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.

If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in Kentucky:

  1. Fort Mitchell (Pop. 8,260)
  2. Fort Thomas (Pop. 16,274)
  3. Villa Hills (Pop. 7,455)

For more Kentucky reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Paducah 24,933 372 4,548
2 Mayfield 9,819 356 4,623
3 Oak Grove 7,232 414 4,286
4 Bowling Green 68,268 304 4,851
5 Campbellsville 11,503 278 4,537
6 Newport 14,972 307 3,800
7 Shively 15,876 346 3,640
8 Owensboro 59,686 268 4,419
9 Frankfort 27,664 256 3,802
10 Radcliff 22,576 363 3,007

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

3 thoughts on “10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky For 2020

  1. Your website is a MUST for anyone searching for properties when moving to another town or state within the USA. I fell in love with an old colonial home but, once I did more research and found this site, I learned it was one of ten worst cities within the state for crime, poverty, and other issues that would have made that move a really bad choice. Thank you…your site is on my favorite toolbar!

  2. No prison in Winchester and my 62-year-old mom used to walk at night all the time down to speedway like at one in the morning

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