The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee For 2021


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Volunteer State for 2021.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our seventh time ranking the most dangerous places to live in Tennessee and is updated for 2021.

Off key country singers in Nashville, and crazy squirrel hunters in Knoxville are just a few of the dangerous things that Tennesseans have to deal with on a regular basis; unfortunately, however, not the most dangerous.

That's right folks, the people who live in Tennessee's most dangerous places know danger. They are after all the fifth most dangerous state in the country. So, RoadSnacks thought it would be a good idea to produce a list of the most dangerous places in Tennessee for 2021 so people are well informed before making any life changing decisions.

How'd we do it? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 91 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 although the state has 375 law enforcement agencies employing close to 16,000 police officers, they just can't be everywhere. So, bigger cities like Chattanooga and Memphis are starting to feel the effects.

We're not talking speeding through Jackson or hopping the fence at Graceland people, we're talking about the crime that gets you put in jail. So, whether you're looking to move to Tennessee or already live in Tennessee and need a new scene, we strongly suggest you take a look at this list. There may be some that surprise you.

Want to know what places in The Volunteer State have more issues than The Newport Plain Talk? Read on.

The Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee For 2021

  1. Memphis
  2. Dyersburg
  3. Newport
  4. Covington
  5. Chattanooga
  6. Savannah
  7. Athens
  8. Cleveland
  9. Millington
  10. Nashville

Sadly, this is not a list that any city in any state wants to make. You probably won't see a sign entering the most dangerous place in a state that reads "number one most dangerous city in Tennessee": it's not something to brag about. But, people need to know.

So, what's the most dangerous city in Tennessee for 2021? That would be, Memphis.

Take a look at the list below to see the rest of Tennessee's most dangerous places.

Learn more about the safest places in Tennessee.

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 Tennessee reading, check out:

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Tennessee For 2021

Memphis, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 650,410
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,901 (Most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,128 (Third most dangerous)
More on Memphis:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Memphis is Tennessee's 2nd biggest city, but in terms of crime, it takes the #1 spot. The violent crime rate is especially bad in Memphis, outstripping the national average by over 400% and ranking as the highest in the state.

Elvis Presley is probably rolling over in his grave at the state of things in Memphis. The city had 190 murders in 2019, the highest murder rate statewide. Overall, residents had a 1 in 52 chance of being the victim of a property crime.

And the bad news keeps on coming -- Memphis had the third highest burglary rate in Tennessee and experienced 4,046 car thefts over 2019. Overall, the city averaged over ten property crimes per day.

Not to mention that Memphis had the highest rate of arson cases on this list by a very wide margin, averaging almost one per day.

Dyersburg, TN

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 16,300
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,104 (Fifth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,552 (Sixth most dangerous)
More on Dyersburg:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Dyersburg motto is the Gateway to Everywhere, but unfortunately, that includes being the gateway to staggeringly high crime rates.

It's a good idea to triple check that you've locked your doors if you're heading to one of Dyersburg city parks, seeing as the city had the highest burglary rates in Tennessee.

And it's not just property crime going down in Dyersburg, either. The city had the fifth highest violent crime rate in the state, including the sixth highest murder rate.

Newport, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,786
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 972 (11th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,738 (Most dangerous)
More on Newport:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

We're moving away from the western part of the state to Tennessee's far east to reach Newport. In terms of property crime, it's hard to out-do Newport. Residents of Newport had a 1 in 11 chance of having their belongings stolen or damaged in 2019, the highest rate in Tennessee.

That includes more than one car theft per week, on average. We just hope nobody steals a racecar from the Newport Speedway, because they might be hard to catch.

The prevalence of property crime in Newport is such that the city actually has the highest overall crime rate in Tennessee -- more than three times higher than the national average.

Covington, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,755

Rank Last Year: -
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,439 (Fourth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,471 (Eighth most dangerous)
More on Covington:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Covington is a city of 8,755 located in western Tennessee that struggles with both high property and violent crime rates.

We don't envy the Covington Police Department, who had to handle 126 violent crimes and 479 property crimes over 2019.

On the bright side, there were no murders in Covington over the year. On the not-so-bright side, a car was robbed, and a home was broken into more than once per week, on average.

Chattanooga, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 181,848
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,070 (Seventh most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,557 (Fifth most dangerous)
More on Chattanooga:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Chattanooga might look like a peaceful city from the vistas afforded at Lookout Mountain, but down on the streets, crime is all too common.

Violent crime is pretty bad across the board, with Chattanooga reporting 161 rapes and 33 murders in 2019, the tenth highest and ninth highest rates statewide, respectively.

You'll also want to make sure you lock your car doors wherever you go in Chattanooga because with 1,314 car thefts recorded over the year, stolen cars are more common here than in the bigger cities of Memphis and Nashville.

Savannah, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,941
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 994 (Ninth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,935 (Fourth most dangerous)
More on Savannah:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Located along the east side of the Tennessee River, Savanna went down 4 spots on this list from last year, so progress is being made on the crime front.

However, overall crime and property crime still rank as the fourth highest in the state. That includes the fourth highest burglary rate.

While Savannah has the Horse Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, humans of Savannah are on their own for finding sanctuary. Which can be tough in a city with the ninth highest rate of violent crime in Tennessee.

Athens, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,879
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 835 (15th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,347 (Second most dangerous)
More on Athens:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

The county seat of McMinn County in eastern Tennessee, Athens' nickname of "The Friendly City" is belied by the crime situation.

Folks in Athens faced a 1 in 15 shot being the victim of a property crime in 2019, representing the second highest rate in Tennessee.

In fact, Athens' property crime rate is more than three times higher than the national average. We just hope nobody's planning a heist on the local Living Heritage Museum.

On the bright side, Athens is the least violent place on this list and didn't have a single murder in 2019.

Cleveland, TN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 45,453
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,020 (Eighth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,286 (Ninth most dangerous)
More on Cleveland:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Situated about 45 minutes northeast of Chattanooga, Cleveland ranks as Tennessee's eighth most dangerous city.

You'll want to keep a close eye on your belongings when you're out for a hike at Red Clay State Historic Park, because Cleveland reported 1,845 larcenies in 2019. There was also one burglary each day and a car theft every other day, on average.

Additionally, Cleveland had 464 violent crimes over the year.

Millington, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,669
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 984 (Tenth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,173 (12th most dangerous)
More on Millington:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

A part of the Memphis metro area, Millington ranks as the ninth least safe in Tennessee.

The violent crime rate is above average as a whole, but a fourth highest place ranking in murder rate is the really spooky part about Millington. Be sure to buddy up for walks in Meeman-Shelby Forest, or you might become the protagonist of a horror movie.

Regardless of where you're going, lock your doors in Millington because the city had the fifth highest burglary rate in Tennessee in 2019.

Nashville, TN

Source: Public domain

Population: 687,361

Rank Last Year: -
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,073 (Sixth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,041 (23rd most dangerous)
More on Nashville:  Real Estate | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

We're wrapping up our tour of Tennessee's most dangerous places with its capital and biggest city, Nashville.

People come from far and wide to check out the Country Music Hall of Fame or see a show at the Grand Ole Opry, but tourists would be well-advised to keep their guard up in Nashville.

That's because folks faced a 1 in 93 shot at being the victim of an assault, robbery, rape, or murder in 2019.

The silver lining is that property crime in Nashville is far lower than most places on the list, but try telling that to one of the 2,748 people who had their cars stolen in Nashville last year.

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Tennessee

Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee Graph

Click To Enlarge

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Tennessee for 2021?

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 2019 data, specifically the 2019 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2021.

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 Tennessee cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 91 cities in Tennessee.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 91 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 Tennessee -- Memphis. 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 Tennessee.

Locking It All Up In Tennessee

The latest FBI crime data shows that Memphis ranks as the most dangerous city in Tennessee for 2021.

We want to point out again that there's still safes places in Memphis and that this isn't a comment on the people that live there. So please don't beat us up.

Here are the safest cities in Tennessee:

  1. Germantown (Pop. 39,127)
  2. Kingston (Pop. 5,809)
  3. Spring Hill (Pop. 43,303)
  4. Loudon (Pop. 5,869)
  5. Atoka (Pop. 9,510)
  6. Brentwood (Pop. 43,217)
  7. Oakland (Pop. 8,323)
  8. Mount Carmel (Pop. 5,295)
  9. Signal Mountain (Pop. 8,605)
  10. Church Hill (Pop. 6,671)

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee?

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Memphis 650,410 1,901 6,128
2 Dyersburg 16,300 1,104 5,552
3 Newport 6,786 972 8,738
4 Covington 8,755 1,439 5,471
5 Chattanooga 181,848 1,070 5,557
6 Savannah 6,941 994 5,935
7 Athens 13,879 835 6,347
8 Cleveland 45,453 1,020 5,286
9 Millington 10,669 984 5,173
10 Nashville 687,361 1,073 4,041

How Is Your Town In ?

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.

15 thoughts on “The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee For 2021

  1. Pigeon Forge is 10th on the list and Sevierville is 37th? They are literally 5 minutes apart. You can drive from Pigeon Forge into Sevierville and never know you went into a different town. You work think crime would be as bad in Sevierville as well. Makes me wonder how accurate this is.

    1. That’s because of the crime reporting. Each agency must submit their crimes in numbers. If one under reports, then that would make the difference. You have 2 separate agencies in those two towns, one is reporting the other is under reporting.

  2. I think the person giving the review on Memphis is one of the people they’re talking about. So much hate in those words. They must’ve lived in a bad area.

  3. Athens is an infection and it keeps drawing its victims back to it. If you’re from here, the best thing to do is move more than 100 miles out. Don’t let it infect you anymore. Move states if you have to. The police are garbage and the high school in it is awful.

  4. this is a lie Chattanooga might have at least one crime happen but that doesn’t make it dangerous i would know i live there

  5. Not surprised to see Dyersburg in top 10 but as usual, our mayor is in denial and says someone is not doing those durn ole statistics right! Dyersburg has consistently been in the top 10 of most dangerous cities in Tennessee for over 10 years in various surveys. Will never get this improved until the leadership is changed.

  6. I’m surprised that Dyersburg..aka..”Dirtyburg” isn’t ranked #1 in the state. So many unsolved murders, and the powers to be in this County/City are OK with it…best way to clean things up is to vote to the problems OUT of office!

  7. Curious as to how you could determine what the “safest” cities to live in are. I can think of some towns that are the “county seat” of the various counties of TN, and yet these cities are not even listed among those ranked. Also, Nashville data includes the entire county, or “Metro Nashville” area. Some of the suburb or “satellite cities” of Nashville would therefore be included in the data, which I would think might “skew” your rankings. Memphis does not include all of Shelby County. Still, I love that someone is trying to “tally” totals to give the public more information. Thanks!

  8. Knoxville is the worst place homelessness are all over in the Knoxville. Their system are broken I’ve live there for 21 years now I moved to Morristown. I will not miss Knoxville. People work for the government they do not help deaf survivors in Knoxville. So much hates and discrimination and broke ADA laws. People do not care

  9. I don’t see how Newport makes this list. There is nowhere in Newport or Cocke County that I wouldn’t feel safe walking at any time of the day or night (and I am a middle aged woman). Knoxville isn’t on the list and there’s violent crimes there daily.

  10. Chattanooga should have never made this list. I have lived here all my life. I feel safer in Chattanooga than any other big city in TN and I have worked in all of them.

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