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Kentucky – Once frontier land and originally part of Virginia, this “Commonwealth” central-southern state is well-known for its fertile soil, horses and bourbon. With a population of around 4.4million in 2017, this is the 26th most populous state of the Union.

Kentucky’s economy traditionally was based largely upon agriculture including horse breeding - a sector that remains highly important today. New industries have sprung up including that of truck and automobile assembly, where the state ranks 4th in the US. However, coal mining has declined very significantly (a 50% reduction during the period 2011-15) causing some social and economic hardship.

2.11 Average violent crime per 1,000
28.77 Average property crime per 1,000

By some estimates, the state’s debt is now the 5th highest in the US. At just over $48,300, Kentucky’s household income average is below the US national average. The same is true for individual income at $26,779.

The state has encouraging crime statistics overall though, as there are variations by local area. The statistics show:

  • Kentucky is the 25th safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • It has a violent crime rate that is considerably below (nearly half) the national average (0.61 ratio) with 2.11 crimes per 1,000 against the national average of 3.47.
  • Examined alongside national averages, property crime levels are also low at a ratio of 0.71 based upon 28.77 crimes per 1,000 which compares favorably to the national average of 40.43.

The top safest areas in the Commonwealth of Kentucky are:

  1. Madisonville
  2. Independence
  3. Fort Thomas
  4. Lawrenceburg
  5. Mount Washington

Safest Cities in Kentucky, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
3Fort Thomas81160.4857.037
5Mount Washington81280.5518.821
31Bowling Green2253,0893.39346.579
33St. Matthews328641.76247.569


To identify the safest cities in Kentucky, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then rated them using the population of the city and created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.

Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.

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