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

5
/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

Crime in Paducah has been heading in the right direction over the past few years, as both property and violent crimes have been on the decrease .

Paducah residents have a 1 in 22.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime, good for 4th worst in the state. Additionally, they have a 1 in 268 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, 4th worst in Kentucky.

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

A smaller city on this list, Mayfield has experienced some wild swings in crime in recent years.

While instances of violent crime fell to 35 between 2017-2018, property crime now stands at 3rd worst.

If they could get the same magic working for property crime as they have for violence, Mayfield may one day be the idyllic place its residents want it to be.

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 is the smallest city to make this list.

And this city in Kentucky has been making great strides to get off this list altogether — the violent crime rate fell between 2017-2018.

That’s means residents have a 1 in 241 chance of being a victim of violence in 2018.

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

Bowling Green ranks as the 4th most dangerous city in Kentucky.

That’s due to it ranking 10th in violent crimes and 1st in property crimes. Residents had about a 1 in 20.6 chance of being a victim of a property 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

Campbellsville has placed 5th for property crime per capita in the state.

Residents of Campbellsville faced a 1 in 5th chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, violent crime bumped up between 2017-2018, making Campbellsville the 12th most violent city in Kentucky.

Newport, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/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

The city of over 59,686 ranks as the 8th most dangerous city in Kentucky and has the 9th highest rate of property crime in the state.

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 has experienced an unfortunate boom in its crime rate recently.

Between 2017-2018, violent crime and property crime increased.

That left residents of Frankfort with a 1 in 26.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime and a 1 in 389 chance of being the victim of violence 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

This trend holds true today as Radcliff ranked 5th for violent crime in Kentucky and 10th in the most dangerous overall ranking.

But it’s really parts of Radcliff that you need to look out for. Certain neighborhoods have much more violent crime than others.

How Is Your Town In ?

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 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
Download The Entire Kentucky Ranking Data

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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