10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee For 2020


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Volunteer State for 2020.

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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 Tennessee and is updated for 2020.

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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 2020 so people are well informed before making any life changing decisions.

How’d we do it? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 88 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.

Here are the 10 most dangerous cities in Tennessee for 2020:

  1. Memphis (Photos)
  2. Savannah (Photos)
  3. Dyersburg (Photos)
  4. Newport (Photos)
  5. Chattanooga (Photos)
  6. Pigeon Forge (Photos)
  7. Athens (Photos)
  8. Cleveland (Photos)
  9. Millington (Photos)
  10. Sweetwater (Photos)

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 2020? 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:

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In Tennessee

Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee Graph

Click To Enlarge

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In Tennessee For 2020

Memphis, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 652,226
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,943 (1st most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,405 (5th most dangerous)
More on Memphis:  Data | Photos

The largest city in the state has the highest rate of violent crime of any city in all of Tennessee.

Residents faced a 1 in 51 chance of being raped, assaulted, or murdered in 2018, a 5% higher rate than in 2017.

With violence so prevalent, Memphis can at least take solace in a solid drop in property crime from 2017-2018.

Review Of Memphis by HomeSnacks User

H20 will be the next statistic, he lives in a fantasy world. Nothing good about Memphis.

Staying off the streets, crime is a big big big problem.

Savannah, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,968
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,162 (3rd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,103 (4th most dangerous)
More on Savannah:  Data | Photos

Savannah ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in Tennessee. It ranks 3rd for violent crime and 4th for property crime (both per capita).

Overall, you had about a 1 in 12.1 chance of being the victim of crime in 2018.

Dyersburg, TN

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 16,382
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,245 (2nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,756 (8th most dangerous)
More on Dyersburg:  Data | Photos

Located in western Tennessee, Dyersburg has seen a rapid rise in its violent crime in recent years.

Between 2017-2018, the rate of violent crime increased a staggering amount, leaving Dyersburg residents a 1 in 80 chance of being the victim of rape, murder, or assault in 2018.

Property crime also went up during this interval, but that’s a lot less scary than the boom in violence.

Newport, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,770
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 886 (10th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,887 (1st most dangerous)
More on Newport:  Data | Photos

Located in eastern Tennessee, Newport is one of the smaller cities to appear on this list.

Newport has achieved some impressive improvements in its crime rate in recent years, with violent crime falling by 34% from 2017-2018, and property crime falling by about half as much.

Still, folks living in Newport had a 1 in 12.7 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2018, which is pretty unacceptable.

Chattanooga, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 180,397
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,048 (6th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,058 (6th most dangerous)
More on Chattanooga:  Data | Photos

The 4th biggest city in Tennessee, Chattanooga has experienced some unfortunate growth in its crime statistics in recent history.

Violent crime rose by from 2017-2018, leaving residents about a 1% chance of being attacked or killed in 2018.

Property crime went up by half as much during this interval, which made for about a 1 in 16.5 chance of being robbed in Chattanooga.

Review Of Chattanooga by HomeSnacks User

I love Chattanooga Tennessee. It’s such a amazing City. There’s so much to do and great places to eat. We love the Tennessee Aquarium. The city has a small-town feel. We enjoyed riding the transportation system in downtown. One of my favorite places to eat was sticky fingers barbecue. Unbelievably good food. When we go to Chattanooga I we stay in the Sheridan Hotel. It is a great place to stay.

Chattanooga is just a beautiful city. It is so close to the mountains. Awesome river bear by. A lot of attractions in the city. Lookout mountain is not too far off. Rock city is near by. Lots of hiking and camping nearby. It’s a great place to visit.

Pigeon Forge, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 6,291
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 874 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,725 (2nd most dangerous)
More on Pigeon Forge:  Data | Photos

The smallest place to make this list, Pigeon Forge ranks as the 6th most dangerous city in Tennessee.

Though Pigeon Forge’s property crime numbers are somewhat thrown off by law-breaking tourists, the city has still achieved a 24% reduction in property crime from 2017-2018.

To be clear though, that’s only a difference between a 1 in 8 chance of being robbed in 2017 down to a 1 in 12.9 chance in 2018. Yikes.

Review Of Pigeon Forge by HomeSnacks User

I really enjoy this place. They have dinner theaters, lots of shops and local artists. Its fun for adults and kids alike!

The Hatfield and McCoys theater was fun and Dollywood was a blast!

Athens, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,627
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 873 (13th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,653 (3rd most dangerous)
More on Athens:  Data | Photos

Coming in as the 7th most dangerous city in Tennessee is Athens, whose nickname, “the Friendly City” is somewhat hampered by its crime situation.

While violent crime has been steadily dropping in recent years, with a 10% total drop in violent crime from 2017-2018, property crime went up by nearly the same rate during this interval.

That left residents of Athens a 1 in 1213.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2018, and a 1 in 114 chance of being the victim of violence.

Cleveland, TN

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 44,954
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 6)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 916 (9th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,587 (9th most dangerous)
More on Cleveland:  Data | Photos

Cleveland has been on the rankings the past couple of years and now finds itself as the 8th most dangerous city in Tennessee. Cleveland’s ranking for violent crime and property were 9th and 9th, respectively. Overall, like every other city in our top 10, it scored an F when it comes to crime.

Millington, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,016
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 916 (8th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,319 (10th most dangerous)
More on Millington:  Data | Photos

Millington is the 9th most violent city in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, Millington has experienced a quick and steady rise in its crime in recent years, with both violent and property crime increasing between 2017-2018.

In 2018, residents of Millington had a 1 in 109 chance of being the victim of violence.

Sweetwater, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,873
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 868 (14th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,227 (13th most dangerous)
More on Sweetwater:  Data | Photos

Sweetwater Tennessee has seen crime within its city limits head downwards over the last few years, but it’s still a relatively dangerous place.

Chances are if you live in Sweetwater, someone you know was the victim of a break-in or theft in recent years, as nearly 1 in 16.4 residents had a run in with a criminal last year.

Review Of Sweetwater by HomeSnacks User

Moved here from Houston, TX been there most of my adult life moved to Sweetwater 2yrs this June. This is a very friendly town. Everyone looks out for each other. Most people do not even lock their doors around here. And keep the garage doors up all the time. Here I am with locking my doors at all times and keeping my keys on me even when I’m outside on my own land from living in Houston and have an ADT system. The neighbors actually laughed at me for getting an Alarm. Some have been here their whole life and said, nothing happens over here. The crime has been in abandoned homes or land due to drugs as I have a reliable source. Not sure where you received your information from but you might want to recheck it. I have been here only two years and when I go into most stores they know me by my first name.

The whole town is my favorite places. Love how the whole town gets together on certain days of the month and stay open late so individuals that work during the day and come out and shop after hours. They have movie nights downtown in the summer. They just had Fly you kite downtown with Mary Poppins. They do a lot of fun family nights so everyone can come together as a community.

How Is Your Town In ?

How we determined the most dangerous cities in Tennessee 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 cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 88 cities in Tennessee.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 88 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.

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 2020.

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.

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

  1. Signal Mountain (Pop. 8,602)
  2. Loudon (Pop. 5,815)
  3. Church Hill (Pop. 6,664)

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 652,226 1,943 6,405
2 Savannah 6,968 1,162 7,103
3 Dyersburg 16,382 1,245 5,756
4 Newport 6,770 886 7,887
5 Chattanooga 180,397 1,048 6,058
6 Pigeon Forge 6,291 874 7,725
7 Athens 13,627 873 7,653
8 Cleveland 44,954 916 5,587
9 Millington 11,016 916 5,319
10 Sweetwater 5,873 868 5,227

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.

4 thoughts on “10 Most Dangerous Cities In Tennessee For 2020

  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.

  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.

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