10 Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Bluegrass State for 2019.

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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 2019.

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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.

Here are the 10 most dangerous cities in Kentucky for 2019:

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

So what is the most dangerous city in Kentucky? After analyzing 74 cities in Kentucky, Oak Grove takes the top spot as the most dangerous city in Kentucky based on the most recent FBI data.

For 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.

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 2019

Oak Grove, KY

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,347
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 462 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,648 (3rd most dangerous)
More on Oak Grove:  Data | Photos

Located in the southeastern corner of the state, on the Atlantic coast, Oak Grove ranks 1st for its danger.

In 2011, Oak Grove wouldn’t have made this list, but a whopping increase in violent crime between 2015-17 changed that.

In 2017, residents faced a 1 in 216 chance of being the victim of violence, which would put Oak Grove at 2nd for the year in Kentucky.

Mayfield, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 9,991
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 23)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 390 (5th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,384 (5th most dangerous)
More on Mayfield:  Data | Photos

Mayfield’s motto might tout that the city is “a great place to live,” but its status as the 2nd most dangerous city in Kentucky might stain that saying a bit.

Mayfield residents have a 1 in 18.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime every year.

Violent crime has also gone up nearly 30% between 2015-17, with a higher than 1 in 256 chance of being the victim of violence.

Louisville, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 684,362
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 647 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,122 (13th most dangerous)
More on Louisville:  Data | Photos

Louisville is the 1st most violent city, with residents facing a 1 in 154 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.

Progress has been made in recent years, however, reflected by a 12% drop in violent crime, and an 11% drop in property crime between 2015-17.

Review Of Louisville by HomeSnacks User

There are many things to do in Louisville! We have a revitalized waterfront that continues to grow stronger and offer more activities for the public each year. From free waterfront concerts each Wednesday in the summer to a wide array of delicious eateries, you’re sure to find something you enjoy.

For such a “small” city, Louisville has a variety of art and music and food. Louisville has pretty decent cost of living, and has quite a bit of history to it, being a river city. If you can put up with the occasional ignorant redneck, you might just love it here.

Paducah, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 25,169
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 329 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,478 (4th most dangerous)
More on Paducah:  Data | Photos

Paducah has the 10th highest rate of violent crime, giving it a 4th place danger ranking overall.

Folks in Paducah had a 1 in 303 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, a 5% increase from 2016.

Property crime went up during this interval, giving a Paducah resident a 1 in 18.3 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.

Shively, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 15,830
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 410 (4th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,125 (12th most dangerous)
More on Shively:  Data | Photos

A suburb of Louisville, Shively is the 4th 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 243 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017 represented an 11% increase from 2011.

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

Bowling Green, KY

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 66,317
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 339 (9th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,657 (8th most dangerous)
More on Bowling Green:  Data | Photos

Bowling Green comes in 6th on our list for the most dangerous places in Kentucky.

Residents of Bowling Green have a 1 in 20.0 chance of being the victim of a crime. For reference, the most dangerous place in the country has about a 1 in 5 chance of being the victim of a crime.

Bowling Green ranks as the 8th highest city for property crime per capita which contributes to its high chance of crime.

Winchester, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 18,478
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 221 (20th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,088 (1st most dangerous)
More on Winchester:  Data | Photos

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 2017.

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 450.

Owensboro, KY

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 59,576
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 298 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,359 (10th most dangerous)
More on Owensboro:  Data | Photos

Owensboro places 8th in our list of the most dangerous cities in Kentucky.

Violent crime is an issue here as it ranks 12th in the state for that criteria, while ranking 10th for property crime.

High levels of unemployment and poverty probably contribute to above average rates of 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

9. Middlesboro

Middlesboro, KY

Population: 9,534
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 220 (21st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,779 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Middlesboro:

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 2015-17.

Lexington, KY

Source: Public domain

Population: 322,332
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 350 (7th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,782 (17th most dangerous)
More on Lexington:  Data | Photos

Lexington has seen modest improvements in its crime rate of late.

Violent crime went down and property crime went down between 2015-17.

At this rate, Lexington should be replaced by another city in Kentucky in a few years time.

Review Of Lexington by HomeSnacks User

Great small university centric city with just enough shopping, activities, and nightlife to keep folks of all ages entertained.

Living within New Circle Road is ideal for quick transit times. Avoid the mall around Christmas time.

How Is Your Town In ?

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Kentucky for 2019?

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 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.

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 74 cities in Kentucky.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 74 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.

Locking It All Up In Kentucky

The latest FBI crime data shows that Oak Grove ranks as the most dangerous city in Kentucky for 2019.

We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Oak Grove 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. Vine Grove (Pop. 6,055)
  2. Edgewood (Pop. 8,771)
  3. Villa Hills (Pop. 7,494)

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 Oak Grove 7,347 462 5,648
2 Mayfield 9,991 390 5,384
3 Louisville 684,362 647 4,122
4 Paducah 25,169 329 5,478
5 Shively 15,830 410 4,125
6 Bowling Green 66,317 339 4,657
7 Winchester 18,478 221 6,088
8 Owensboro 59,576 298 4,359
9 Middlesboro 9,534 220 5,779
10 Lexington 322,332 350 3,782

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

  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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