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:
- Oak Grove
- Louisville (Photos)
- Newport (Photos)
- Paducah (Photos)
- Shively (Photos)
- Winchester (Photos)
- Frankfort (Photos)
- Bowling Green (Photos)
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.
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.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in Kentucky.
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.
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.
Population: 683,825Rank 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.
Population: 15,330Rank 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.
Population: 24,836Rank 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.
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.
Population: 15,800Rank 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.
Property crime fell by nearly the same percentage, but that doesn’t seem like a very good trade.
Population: 18,461Rank 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.
Population: 27,926Rank 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
Population: 64,561Rank 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.
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:
- Fort Thomas
- Villa Hills
For more Kentucky reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Kentucky
- These Are The 10 Snobbiest Places In Kentucky
- These Are The 10 Dumbest Cities In Kentucky
Detailed List Of The Most Dangeroues Cities In Kentucky
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