As the 16th-largest state in the country by population, and 36th-biggest by land mass, Tennessee is a place where there's always two sides to the coin. Big city livin' can be enjoyed in Memphis (population 655,770) and Nashville (population 654,610), while nature aficionados are drawn to the Appalachian Mountains, which cover the eastern part of the state. Agriculture and manufacturing are two of the state's biggest economic drivers, producing soybeans, poultry, and transportation and electrical equipment. But so is entertainment, as Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum serves as a hub for the music industry and Memphis' Graceland and blues clubs serving as a big tourism draw. After all, this is a state that sent large numbers of troops to both sides in the American Civil War. It's a place where you'll likely hear three opinions in an argument between two people.
Whether it's the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the most-visited national park in the country), the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, or the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, there's something for everyone in Tennessee. The summers here are nice and toasty, and the winters are mild, making it a good place to visit any time of year. Coupled with the fact that there are many welcoming towns where families can feel very safe, Tennessee becomes an appealing destination for those looking to move.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
1. OAK RIDGE
A city that captures the American imagination like few others, Oak Ridge is known for being the location of the Manhattan Project—the secretive operation joined by American, British, and Canadian scientists that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. This city also has the distinction of being the safest in Tennessee, seeing just two violent crimes and five property crimes last year. Though the war has long been over, Oak Ridge remains a scientific hub to this day. It's home to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the Department of Energy system, focusing on materials, neutron science, and other really cool smartypants stuff. To top it all off, it's home to Titan, the world's third-most powerful supercomputer.
Located on the southern outskirts of Nashville, Brentwood is an upscale community of roughly 41,984 residents. It's one of the safest cities in Tennessee, last year seeing just 17 violent crimes and 8.74 property crimes per 1,000 people. It's also known as being one of the wealthiest cities in America when accounting for the average cost of living. Add in rolling hills, mild winters, and a ten-mile drive to downtown Nashville, and it's easy to see why Brentwood is such an attractive place to live. Maybe that's why it's home to some of the country's biggest country music stars, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, and Carrie Underwood.
3. MOUNT CARMEL
A small, close-knit town where life is simpler and things are quieter, Mount Carmel is located just a rabbit's hop from the Kentucky border. However, Mount Carmel does have a quirky claim to fame: it's located on one side of the road. When highway 11W was built, it put all the residents on one side and left the cemetery on the other side. Then, during World War II, the Army built an ammunition plant on the other side too, putting most of the property in the government's hands to this day. So, even though Mount Carmel may be located on one side of the road, it's still one of the safest towns in Tennessee, last year experiencing just 2 violent crimes and 10.44 property crimes per 1,000 people.
Nolensville is a place where if you fire up the car, point the grill northwest, and hit the gas, you'll be in downtown Nashville in about 20 miles' worth of time. Though it's in close proximity to the state capital, life is decidedly slower paced in Nolensville, and that's how the local residents like it—all 6,562 of them. (Well, most of them.) It's a very safe city to boot, last year seeing only 7 violent crimes and 10.06 property crimes per 1,000 people.
Named after a colonial-era fort, Loudon is a quiet town in eastern Tennessee. It's split in half by the scenic Tennessee River, and connected by the Mulberry St. bridge. It's also one of the safest cities in the state, last year experiencing 7 violent crimes and 10.01 property crimes per 1,000 people. Offering quaint shops, great food, and easy charm, it's a great place to visit within 30 minutes of Knoxville, or to settle down and live slow.
The Top 50 Safest Cities in Tennessee, 2017
1. Oak Ridge
21. Mount Juliet
31. White House
41. Red Bank
42. Lenoir City
3. Mount Carmel
44. Jefferson City
6. Church Hill
26. La Vergne
9. Spring Hill
40. Johnson City
To identify the safest cities in Tennessee, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000. Note that our use of the word "cities" is versatile, refers to populations of 5,000 and over, and thus includes places with the words "town" and "township."
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.