These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky For 2018


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Bluegrass State for 2018.

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Do you live in one of the most dangerous cities in Kentucky?

We all watch the news and see reports on Facebook of the latest crimes that happen in our hometowns. But it can be hard to tell at a big picture level how dangerous our town actually is.

No one wants to feel unsafe, and statistically speaking, odds are that where you live is most likely relatively safe. In order to help the good people of Kentucky — and anyone looking to move to Kentucky — know just how close they are to danger, we took data from the annual FBI report and did some serious analysis.

The data shows that these ten cities are currently the most dangerous in the Bluegrass State:

  1. Oak Grove
  2. Louisville (Photos)
  3. Newport (Photos)
  4. Paducah (Photos)
  5. Middlesboro
  6. Shively (Photos)
  7. Winchester (Photos)
  8. Frankfort (Photos)
  9. Bowling Green (Photos)
  10. Lexington

Why did Oak Grove take the top spot? For the answer to this question and a detailed explanation of the data and analysis we used in creating this ranking, read on. Or 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.

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How we determined the most dangerous cities in Kentucky for 2018?

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 2016 data, specifically the 2016 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available for 2017 in October 2018.

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 75 cities in Kentucky.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 75 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 — Oak Grove. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Kentucky.

Here’s a visualization of the criteria:
Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky Graph

Click To Enlarge

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

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1. Oak Grove


Population: 7,431
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 27)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 470
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,952
Oak Grove is the 4th most violent city in Kentucky and places as the most dangerous overall.

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Instances of violent crime leave Oak Grove residents with a 1 in 212 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.

Property crime is also at a consistently high level, with about 1 case of theft or arson for every 20.2 residents, each year.

2. Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 683,825
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 675
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,424
Louisville is the 1st most violent city, with residents facing a 1 in 147 chance of being the victim of violence in 2016.

Progress has been made in recent years, however, reflected by a 12% drop in violent crime, and an 11% drop in property crime between 2014-16.

3. Newport

Newport, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,330
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 384
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,664
Located just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Newport is the 3rd most dangerous place in Kentucky overall.

It may not be the most violent place, but since residents faced a 1 in 21.4 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2016, 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.

4. Paducah

Paducah, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,836
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 350
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,900
A city of McCracken County, Paducah’s ranked as the 4th most dangerous city in Kentucky.

With regards to crime, Paducah has little to celebrate of late, with violent and property crime rates each going up by roughly 11% between 2014-16.

There’s now a 1 in 19.0 chance of being the victim of a crime.

5. Middlesboro

Source: Public Domain

Population: 9,615
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 12)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 332
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,460
The largest city in southeastern Kentucky, Middlesboro is inside what scientists believe to be an enormous meteor crater.

While that’s pretty cool, the 1 in 16 chance residents face of being the victim of theft or arson each year is definitely not.

The good news for Crater City is that both property crime and violent crime fell by more than 10% between 2014-16.

6. Shively

Shively, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,800
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 588
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,139
A suburb of Louisville, Shively is the 2nd 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 169 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2016 represented an 11% increase from 2011.

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

7. Winchester

Winchester, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 18,461
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 260
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,514
Located 24 miles east of Lexington, Winchester’s motto is Rich in History and Ready for the Future.

That’s a pretty accurate way to describe their violent crime numbers — a rich history of violent crime that’s been reformed in recent years. This city’s violence has dropped recently and maintained into 2016.

To give some perspective into how impressive this improvement is, consider how in 2011, Winchester residents faced a 1 in 128 chance of being the victim of violence which compares to a 1 in 384.

8. Frankfort

Frankfort, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 27,926
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 375
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,913
Located in Franklin County, Frankfort hasn’t experienced much of a change in its crime statistics recently.

Its relatively poor violent crime statistics went up between 2014-16, while property crime fell by a very small amount to 1,093 occurrences.

9. Bowling Green

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 64,561
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 315
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,295
Bowling Green ranks highly for the occurrence of crime. In particular, violent crime rates in Bowling Green stick out for being the 14th worst in Kentucky.

There were 204 violent crimes in Bowling Green, but that’s down from earlier in the decade.

A City Data user says, “I dO NOT recommend Bowling Green for a single person looking to get out there and have fun and meet people.” Probably because going out there leads to crime.

10. Lexington

Source: Public Domain

Population: 317,853
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 339
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,108
The commercial hub of northwestern Kentucky and the surrounding four corners region, Lexington is the last city to make the cut.

Lexington’s 2016 violent crime statistics ranked as the 11th most in Kentucky with a 1 in 294 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.

Locking It All Up In Kentucky

The latest FBI crime data shows that Oak Grove ranks as the most dangerous city in Kentucky for 2018.

However, there will be new data coming out later this year. At that point we can revisit Oak Grove’s status — that is if they haven’t beaten us all up already.

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

  1. Flatwoods
  2. Fort Thomas
  3. Villa Hills

For more Kentucky reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Kentucky

City Rank Previous Rank Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
Oak Grove 1 28 7,431 470 4,952
Louisville 2 5 683,825 675 4,424
Newport 3 2 15,330 384 4,664
Paducah 4 4 24,836 350 4,900
Middlesboro 5 17 9,615 332 5,460
Shively 6 6 15,800 588 4,139
Winchester 7 9 18,461 260 5,514
Frankfort 8 7 27,926 375 3,913
Bowling Green 9 3 64,561 315 4,295
Lexington 10 10 317,853 339 4,108
Shepherdsville 11 20 12,098 281 4,306
Covington 12 13 41,094 496 3,260
Princeton 13 8 6,142 341 3,744
Mount Sterling 14 15 7,268 330 4,058
Owensboro 15 24 59,359 229 4,477
Pikeville 16 22 7,037 198 5,741
Florence 17 19 32,671 244 4,242
Russellville 18 33 7,073 353 3,166
Ashland 19 16 20,987 243 4,216
St. Matthews 20 18 18,127 209 4,429
Campbellsville 21 12 11,357 272 3,434
Radcliff 22 27 22,346 344 2,734
Richmond 23 23 33,965 220 4,045
Mayfield 24 30 10,086 267 3,232
London 25 34 8,152 184 4,305
Hopkinsville 26 21 32,222 291 2,861
Maysville 27 32 8,780 216 3,451
Cynthiana 28 59 6,421 311 2,476
Glasgow 29 35 14,560 226 3,200
Franklin 30 31 8,852 271 2,688
Somerset 31 11 11,482 191 3,684
Murray 32 38 19,182 213 3,185
Hazard 33 1 5,310 112 5,122
Nicholasville 34 37 30,093 176 3,509
Henderson 35 26 28,904 193 2,653
Georgetown 36 39 33,007 172 2,784
Berea 37 57 15,135 132 2,841
Elizabethtown 38 44 29,821 228 1,596
Harrodsburg 39 47 8,399 166 2,178
Lebanon 40 41 5,710 192 1,751
Paris 41 48 9,883 151 2,347
Morehead 42 54 7,085 169 1,961
Corbin 43 40 7,403 121 2,755
La Grange 44 58 8,728 137 2,085
Madisonville 45 50 19,467 154 1,792
Bardstown 46 25 13,181 151 1,949
Jeffersontown 47 42 27,006 118 2,358
Leitchfield 48 36 6,904 130 1,984
Elsmere 49 45 8,563 151 1,623
Danville 50 43 16,773 131 1,919
Fort Wright 51 53 5,801 155 1,534
Dayton 52 29 5,450 73 2,183
Lakeside Park-Crestview Hills 53 62 6,159 97 1,915
Erlanger 54 56 22,952 143 1,381
Hillview 55 46 8,177 97 1,540
Bellevue 56 49 5,879 51 1,700
Vine Grove 57 65 5,892 118 1,205
Lawrenceburg 58 73 11,140 125 870
Monticello 59 55 6,071 115 1,268
Cold Spring 60 60 6,217 48 1,656
Mount Washington 61 63 14,162 77 1,461
Williamsburg 62 52 5,324 93 1,314
Versailles 63 14 25,923 57 1,516
Wilmore 64 68 6,315 15 1,599
Fort Mitchell 65 66 8,334 83 1,007
Alexandria 66 51 9,112 43 1,525
Shelbyville 67 61 15,488 64 1,420
Taylor Mill 68 67 6,793 73 633
Central City 69 64 5,875 17 1,429
Highland Heights 70 70 7,216 69 734
Independence 71 71 27,227 69 565
Edgewood 72 69 8,801 874
Villa Hills 73 72 7,499 26 373
Fort Thomas 74 74 16,436 12 547
Flatwoods 75 75 7,307 13 232
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