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.
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.
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Kentucky
- Best Counties To Live In Kentucky
- Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Kentucky
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Kentucky For 2020
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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
- Fort Mitchell (Pop. 8,260)
- Fort Thomas (Pop. 16,274)
- Villa Hills (Pop. 7,455)
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Kentucky
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- Safest Places In Kentucky
- Worst Places To Live In Kentucky
Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky?