Boasting everything from 500 horse farms and Civil War battlefields to famous Bourbon Country distilleries and the natural, scenic beauty that comprises the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Kentucky is not a destination to be missed. But when you’re making a decision about where to live, work and play aren’t your only considerations—safety is a major factor as well. That’s why we’ve taken the time to carefully craft a report that considers the safety of cities throughout the state and present to you the 50 safest cities in Kentucky.
To whittle these cities down to 50, we analyzed FBI Crime Report data from 2012 and used a minimum population requirement of 3,000 people. We broke out crimes into two categories, based on the FBI report — violent crimes (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson) and analyzed these numbers. To level the playing field, we calculated these numbers to be occurrences out of 1,000 people to account for cities of different populations. The only exceptions would be the cities that did not report complete data to the FBI and therefore would not be included on this list.
If you’re planning to relocate to Kentucky, you should begin with our comprehensive report, and then check out the Kentucky Safety Directory to help finalize your safety-based decision. Take your time and you’re sure to uncover the next Kentucky hometown that’s just right for you and your family.
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Prospect earned its number one spot by having the lowest reported property crime rate in all of Kentucky as well as only one violent crime reported in 2012. The city is ideal for families looking for safety and comfort with a variety of housing options for families of all income levels. This includes spacious homes with a median value that is more than three times the median housing value of the entire state, located in friendly suburbs like The Landings, Fox Harbor, and Hunting Creek.
According to the latest census figures, Prospect also has the highest per capita income in Kentucky, making the city still more attractive to families looking for new and better job opportunities.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.21
Property Crimes per 1,000: 2.32
Image: epicpauloghia; Instagram
Having reported no violent crimes in 2012, Greenville has proven itself as a safe and thriving city for families. It’s also a prime destination for military families, as it hosts the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, which is the premiere training facility of the National Guard.
In Greenville, you’ll never run out of fun things to do. Grab a classic diner cheeseburger at My Friends Place. Or take a stroll through The Duncan Center Museum and Art Gallery or the city’s historic downtown area, where you’ll enjoy 24-hour acoustic music playing in the streets as you pass the area’s plethora of unique shops, restaurants, and other local businesses. Greenville is also quickly becoming a regional hub for entertainment, providing year-round access to various small town festivals and events, such as Saturdays on the Square.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0
Property Crimes per 1,000: 3.73
Hodgenville takes a firm stand against crime, as it reported no murders or arsons and boasts the third lowest reported property crime rate in the state for 2012. From its humble beginnings, this city has grown into a safe and efficient town with a picturesque downtown that plays off its rich history with antique and specialty shops, such as Almost Home and Buried Treasure Thrift Shop, and the occasional horse and carriage ride.
Part of its rich history includes the birth of President Abraham Lincoln in a small cabin at a farm near Hodgenville. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, located in the city, memorializes this event. In fact, many of the things to do and see in Hodgenville center around President Lincoln, including The Lincoln Museum, Boy Lincoln Statue, and Lincoln Jamboree. If you love living among historical sites, Hodgenville is a great choice.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.62
Property Crimes per 1,000: 4.01
4. Villa Hills
Villa Hills is one of the more well-to-do cities in Kentucky, with a proud safety record, including no violent crimes reported in 2012. Also above average, the Villa Hills school system receives high marks from various school ranking systems and received a 9 out of 10 rating, whereas the country average is a 5. This is for both its public and private K-12 schools—a promising statistic for those thinking about raising a family somewhere in Kentucky.
In addition to families with children, Villa Hills is also home to many upwardly mobile singles and generally is home to those who are upper middle income and often well-above the average income for America.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.57
Located within 60 miles of Nashville and just 20 miles from Bowling Green, Scottsville offers all of the pleasantries of a small, rural town while still being conveniently located near the occupational, cultural, and sporting opportunities of its larger neighboring cities. The city also offers the additional safety of a rural town, as it reported only one violent crime and no motor vehicle thefts or arsons in 2012.
If you are in the agricultural business, Scottsville is a prime destination. The city is home to 167,000 acres of agricultural land, and 94 percent of its farms are operated by an individual or family, which maintains this tight-knit, rural atmosphere.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.23
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.85
6. West Liberty
With a population of 3,400, residents of West Liberty have nurtured a tight-knit community that is dedicated to public safety, having reported only one violent crime in 2012. In addition to being safe, the city also offers occupational opportunities to those who like a small town, rural atmosphere, including retail trade, construction, manufacturing, and public administration, among others.
To keep its residents entertained, West Liberty plays a host to various events throughout the year, including the Morgan County Sorghum Festival—“for a taste of pure Kentucky”—and the annual Old Mill Bluegrass Festival.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.29
Property Crimes per 1,000: 6.97
If you’re looking for more of a suburban bedroom community, Flatwoods is a smaller town within the Huntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH metropolitan statistical area.
As for recreational activities, residents can take part in sports leagues, both junior and senior, tennis courts, and The Oaks Golf Course. They can also enjoy the Flatwoods City Pool and Flatwoods City Park, complete with a walking track, basketball courts, amphitheater, playgrounds, and more.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.27
Property Crimes per 1,000: 7.13
As part of Webster County, located in the Illinois Coal Basin, coal mining has become a major source of jobs in the area, and Providence also hosts the annual Coal Festival in celebration of their coal-centric culture and the part it’s played in the city’s history. Agriculture is the other primary source of income for Providence residents, so individuals and families with an interest and job history in either would find plenty of job opportunities here.
To complement its small and rural nature, Providence’s low crime rate includes no murders, arsons, or motor vehicle thefts reported in 2012.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.62
Property Crimes per 1,000: 8.71
Lawrenceburg offers a sense of rural life with the opportunity to also enjoy the lifestyle provided by nearby larger cities, Louisville and Lexington. With one of our list’s mid-sized populations, it is the largest city in our top 10 safest cities, and the police department and community proudly stand behind a record of no murders or arsons in 2012, as well as a low violent crime rate for its population size.
This community is only expected to grow over the next few years, supporting industries like manufacturing and healthcare. Part of this growth includes the promotion of its Four Roses Distillery, which produces a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that is as old as the community, and the city’s wine is also nationally acclaimed.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.38
Property Crimes per 1,000: 9.02
Image: Michael Howard; Free Art License 1.3
With a reputation as the “Gem of Kentucky,” Columbia exudes a college town atmosphere (Lindsey Wilson College) nestled in vibrant rural surroundings including the area’s picturesque lakes. The city offers everything you could want in a small community, from friendly, tight-knit neighborhoods and a low crime rate (no murders or arsons reported in 2012) to family events such as Renaissance Columbia “Downtown Days,” Mark Twain Marching Band Festival, the 4th of July Celebration, and the Adair County Fair.
For those who like to get involved in their community, Columbia offers a number of local organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Jaycees, Columbia Choral Society, Columbia Woman’s Club, and many more.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.90
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.52
11. Highland Heights
Home to Northern Kentucky University and the Fortune 500 company, General Cable, Highland Heights is a thriving community with both educational and occupational opportunities for its residents, particularly in manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare, and educational services.
In addition to being a prosperous town, Highland Heights also promotes safety in its community, having maintained a low violent crime rate for 2012, including no robberies or aggravated assaults reported. Also community-wide, the city puts on events throughout the year to keep its residents entertained, especially around the holidays, such as Halloween and Christmas.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.14
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.75
12. Fort Thomas
In addition to being safe and secure, Fort Thomas has a sound educational system, Fort Thomas Independent Schools, which offers three elementary schools, a middle school, and Highlands High School. Not only are the city’s children well-educated, but adults are too: 43.5 percent of adults 25 or older hold bachelor’s degrees, which is well above the national average, and the median household income is well above the state average as well.
If you decided to call Fort Thomas home, Fort Thomas Matters is going to be a great resource to keep your eye on. In it, you can find information about local businesses, happenings, and other information relevant to the city.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.12
Property Crimes per 1,000: 11.89
Located in the heart of Kenton County just 15 minutes south of Cincinnati, Independence is one of the fastest growing cities in Kentucky and offers a unique blend of urban amenities in a rural setting. With a population of nearly 25,000, Independence is also the largest community in the top 15 safest cities on our list. Having had no murders reported in 2012 supports the notion of having the benefits of both a smaller town and a larger city rolled into one.
Independence’s Parks & Recreation system offers its residents a chance to enjoy the outdoors with quaint landscaping, walking trails, playgrounds, sports areas, and shelters for hosting special events. Behind the city’s senior center and adjacent to Memorial Park is the Independence Amphitheater that is home to memorable events for citizens, such as summer concert showcases, movies at dusk, and puppet shows for kids.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.76
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.12
If the breadwinners of your family are involved in manufacturing, retail trade, or healthcare, the small town opportunities provided by Morganfield might be a good fit. Plus, in terms of violent crime, Morganfield is one of the safest cities on our entire list, with no violent crimes reported in 2012.
For those who love the outdoors, Morganfield has the Moffitt Lake Recreation Area, which offers a 50-acre lake that houses bass, crappies, and catfish and provides opportunities for fishing, camping, and boating. The city also has the Higginson Henry Wildlife Management Areas, which are 85 acres of land set up for camping, fishing, hiking, and horse trails in addition to access to nature, wildlife, and a boat ramp at Lake Mauzy.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0
Property Crimes per 1,000: 13.30
15. Vine Grove
Vine Grove calls itself “a small town with big city pride,” which means it is free of the hustle and bustle of larger towns while placing an emphasis on safety, family, and providing recreational and educational opportunities for the city’s youth.
As for things to do, Vine Grove offers its community center, golf at the Lincoln Trail Country Club, and two parks: Optimist Park, with 40 acres that include an amphitheater, playground, and soccer fields, and Scheible Park/Canaday Field, with more sports-friendly fields and courts.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.08
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.08
Images: umchurches; Instagram
With a population of just under 3,200, Barbourville makes our list of safest cities in Kentucky with a commendable crime rating, including no murders or arsons reported in 2012. Barbourville is at least 100 miles away from any of its major cities close by, which gives it a true small town atmosphere secluded from the busyness of city life.
Barbourville is proud of its Barbourville Recreational Park, with its brickyard Waves Water Park, complete with a twisting water slide, wave pool, and lazy river pool, as well as its rural natural surroundings that include duck-filled lakes, fishing, paddle boat riding, walking tracks, and sports fields. The city also hosts a variety of events and festivals, including the Daniel Boone Festival, a Civil War battle staging, Christmas parades, and the Springtime Redbud Festival.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.94
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.16
17. Central City
You can feel safe in Central City, where there were no murders, robberies, or arsons reported in 2012. In addition to being safe, this city offers a wealth of job opportunities. Major employers include Brewco, Brewer, Inc., Armstrong Coal Company Parkway Mine, KenAmercian Paradise Underground Mine, and others, which demonstrates that coal mining, one of the city’s founding industries, is still alive and well today.
The city’s mines not only created jobs in the area, but it also inspired the Muhlenberg Sound, which sprang out of the mines, soil, and people and is celebrated by the city’s Music Museum. A music culture and heritage surrounds Central City, which includes being the hometown of the famous Everly Brothers and the band’s landmark as well as playing host to a number of music events throughout the year, such as Rods & Ribs BBQ Festival, Gospelfest, and the Everly Bros. Rock ‘n’ Roll Cruise.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.50
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.44
18. Taylor Mill
A mix of about 7,000 residents and their businesses call Taylor Mill home, which has recently taken steps to revitalize its downtown and commercial district, including The District of Taylor Mill business development area, to entice new residents and businesses to the city.
The city also published a new Pride Park Master Plan in 2011 to incorporate the community’s goals and vision for the park’s future, which will offer an Event Garden, enhanced amphitheater improved walking and hiking trail network, and a Memorial Plaza and Clock Tower over the entrance. The community has also worked to maintain security in the area, and the city reported no murders or arsons in 2012.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.20
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.89
With no murders, robberies, or arsons reported in 2012, Edgewood offers a sense of safety for its residents and maintains secure neighborhoods where citizens can freely enjoy themselves without fear of crime. Good Neighbor Guidelines keep neighborhoods looking groomed, pristine, and welcoming, and residents get to know their neighbors in their smaller, tight-knit town.
Edgewood also offers a number of parks and recreational activities for its residents, including Freedom Park, which has a playground, several fields and courts for sports, a couple of memorials, and a senior center and shelter that can be reserved for parties, meetings, and other events.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.35
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.94
Image: City of Edgewood
20. Beaver Dam
From its humble beginnings as a town settled by a fervent congregation of Baptists, Beaver Creek has blossomed into a city that houses six manufacturing plants, two modern shopping complexes, dozens of new homes in well-developed neighborhoods, and a collection of revamped of downtown shops. Grab a bite at Oc Café on Main St or any of the city’s other fine eateries.
Love strawberries? The Strawberry Festival is an annual celebration held each Memorial Day weekend that features a variety of entertainment, from beauty pageants to car, tractor, and motorcycle shows to a 5k run, carnival rides, Native American cooking, and a hot dog eating contest.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.29
Property Crimes per 1,000: 15.06
Known as “The Heart of the Parks,” Grayson is situated near the center of a quadrangle formed by four of Kentucky’s state parks, offering a wealth of outdoor opportunities for residents and visitors alike. The city also offers agritourism, where visitors can tour farms or agricultural, horticultural, or agribusinesses in the area. This lets you take advantage of the area’s picturesque rural lands and turns them into an attraction for both education and active involvement in the activities that take place there.
Since the opening of the business development at East Park and the acquisition of Cook’s Foods by Smithfield, Grayson has experienced a growth of jobs in the area and will continue to increase those opportunities over the next several years. The city also boasts a low crime rate—another promising trend for those looking to move here.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.43
Property Crimes per 1,000: 15.44
As a city with one of the mid-sized populations on our list, Mayfield still reported no murders and an otherwise low crime rate in 2012. Also good for families looking to move here, Mayfield offers its own set of independent schools in addition to Graves County Schools, which provides more education options for those looking to raise children here.
Mayfield hosts a number of events each month to keep residents busy and involved in the community. You and your family can head out to the Trade Day at the Fairgrounds, the Piecemakers Quilt Show, any of the locally produced musicals, the Mayfest Carnival, horse shows and quarterly breakfasts hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.67
Property Crimes per 1,000: 16.05
23. La Grange
If you’re looking to settle in a smaller town with easy access to Louisville, LaGrange is a growing city that also maintains a commendably low crime rate. La Grange is home to a thriving, historic downtown with a variety of restaurants, such as Big R’s & Shannon’s BBQ Shack and El Acapulco, clothing stores, art galleries, like Utopia Studio and Fire It Up, gift shops, and a host of monthly events, some of which include local retailers, such as Farmers’ Markets & Artisans and Arts on the Green/Colonial Fair.
La Grange has many outdoorsy places and activities for residents, including four parks and a golf course within the city limits. The newest addition is The Glen, an 11-acre conservation park with children’s outdoor classrooms, walking trails through untouched, wooded habitats with spring-fed creeks, and a farm pond that harks back to historic periods of the city’s heritage.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.61
Property Crimes per 1,000: 16.81
Morehead has a wealth of educational opportunities. Morehead State University is situated within the city limits and provides a sound education for its students. It was recognized for the tenth consecutive year as one of the top public universities in the South in the 2013 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. This may contribute to the city’s higher percentage of residents who hold a bachelor’s degree, which beats both the state and nation’s averages.
Younger students are served by Rowan County Schools, which offer a number of different schools for families to choose from. As a result of these educational centers, the most job opportunities reside in the education industry, though retail trade and healthcare are also popular industries in the city. In addition to a good education, residents and their children also benefit from a low crime rate.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.58
Property Crimes per 1,000: 19.38
Russell is one of the smaller towns on our list, and residents get to enjoy many of the benefits of living in a smaller town, including safety, as the city reported no murders, aggravated assaults, or motor vehicle thefts in 2012. As well as safety, medical care is a primary concerns of this city, which includes Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, a nonprofit acute care hospital that is also the largest employer in Greenup County, which includes Russell.
Russell has a median household income that is nearly 30 percent higher than the state average, a number that has increased in the past two decades. The median house or condo value is also a bit higher than the state average, which means the area offers a variety of quality homes for new residents to choose from.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.59
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.09
Carrollton is a construction and manufacturing-focused small town with a pleasant rural and community-based atmosphere that residents have come to love. Home to major industries such as North American Stainless, Dow Corning, OMC Organometallix, and CertainTeed Gypsum, Carrollton offers a choice of job opportunities in these industries as well as a well-developed commercial and retail base.
Residents can enjoy a wide variety of social events put on by the community throughout the year, such as Spring Bash Demo Derby, Saturday Night Kruize monthly concerts, the Play Er Agin concert series, the Carroll County Fair, and more. Carrollton has also developed its tourism initiatives over the years, which offer visitors a variety of landmarks to visit and other things to do in addition to shopping areas, restaurants, and other city and travel amenities. Residents and tourists also appreciate the city’s low crime rate which keeps them feeling safe throughout the city limits.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.74
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.14
27. Mount Washington
If you want to work in or live near Louisville, Mount Washington is a commuter town to add to your list. It has surged in population growth over the past three decades and has grown in business and commercial development during that time as well while still maintaining a small town feel of neighborly communities and safety.
As for educational opportunities for families raising children, the Bullitt County Public Schools system offers four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school within the city limits, and a new elementary school is currently under construction. The median household income is about 20 percent above the state average, which means that the job opportunities are suitable to support these families as well.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.46
Reporting no murders in 2012, Harrodsburg is a small town that keeps its residents safe first and foremost. Founded in 1774, Harrodsburg is Kentucky’s oldest city, but it has managed to modernize its city structure over the years to remain relevant in business, commercial, and residential areas. This includes many job offerings in the manufacturing, retail trade, and healthcare industries.
Harrodsburg is an area comprised of rolling pastureland and still boasts a historic charm with a variety of notable landmarks, such as the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and Old Fort Harrod State Park, with a full-scale replica fort commemorating the first permanent settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. The city’s farmlands are rife with opportunities for agritourism and include such attractions as Devine’s Farm & Corn Maze, Harrodsburg/Mercer Barn Quilt Trail, the Mercer County Farmers Market, Terrapin Hill Farm, and others.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.44
Property Crimes per 1,000: 21.46
29. Fort Mitchell
Fort Mitchell is a quaint small town that acts as a bedroom community for the metropolitan Cincinnati area. It is a northern Kentucky city held in high esteem due to its exquisite homes, serene parks, including General Ormsby Mitchell Park, the excellent Fort Mitchell Country Club, an impressively low crime rate, top-ranked public and private schools, and an exemplary recreational program. Plus, the city’s Vent Haven Museum is the only ventriloquism museum in the world.
Being near Cincinnati, Fort Mitchell plays off those nearby conveniences to provide opportunities of its own, including a high rate of growth and development in various industries. This includes the healthcare industry, particularly due to the expansion of Christ Hospital, which will provide many new developments to the area.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.36
Property Crimes per 1,000: 21.78
Having reported no murders or arsons in 2012, Jeffersontown’s figures are commendable for a city of nearly 27,000—the largest population on our list of 50 safest cities in Kentucky. As the largest city on our list, it also offers job opportunities to boot and has a nearly 30 percent higher median household income than the state average.
Jeffersontown provides its residents with several parks and recreational facilities, such as a variety of sports complexes, the David L. Armstrong Recreation Center, and Veterans Memorial Park, which offers a playground, sports facilities, grill, pavilion, and walking trail. The city’s youth are also kept busy by many different youth sports programs, from baseball and basketball to cheerleading, lacrosse, and swimming and diving. Seniors also have their own set of programs, such as cards, bingo, dances, and holiday parties, at the local Senior Citizens Center.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.45
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.03
Known as the “Star City of Eastern Kentucky,” Prestonsburg is a quaint small town—one of the smallest on our list—situated in the scenic foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Along with its small town atmosphere comes the safety this size of a city provides, as it reported no murders or arsons in 2012.
Prestonsburg offers a variety of things to do for its residents, including regular music concerts featuring local and national groups. You can also find an impressive amount of different parks and recreational facilities, such as Archer Park, Lancer Park, Dewey Lake and the Prestonsburg Equine Center, to name a few. This is in addition to bustling shopping areas, with plenty of local crafts and antique stores, historical landmarks, restaurants, the Ranier Racing Museum, East Kentucky Science Center & Planetarium, Thunder Ridge Racing & Entertainment Complex, and other local attractions.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.23
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.18
Ranked number 10 in the Best Places in Kentucky to live by Movoto, Glasgow is a larger small town with a charm and vibrancy that matches any other town in the state. Its dedication to developing not only safety-centric neighborhoods and a community atmosphere but also education and local businesses is a combination destined for growth in the area.
Glasgow is also home to a variety of major industries, historic attractions, a Western Kentucky University extension campus, T.J. Samson Community Hospital, Plaza Theatre, a restored 1934 movie house that’s now a 1,000+ seat performing arts center, and more. The city also has a variety of parks and outdoor entertainment, such as Gorin Park, Twyman Park, Welden Park and the Glasgow City Pool, for residents and visitors to enjoy amid the area’s beautiful and bountiful outdoors.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.84
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.21
Having reported no murders, robberies, or arsons in 2012, Williamstown combines the quiet of living in a rural, country area with the convenience of being a bedroom community for both Cincinnati and Lexington.
The city’s natural beauty is one of its main draws. Lake Williamstown is a public 330-acre recreational lake and water reservoir that provides many outdoor opportunities for residents, including its self-service boat ramp for all who would like to take advantage of the waterway. The city also offers Webb Park, with its picnic shelters, playground, and dedicated sports areas, and J.B. Miller Park, which is 35 acres of natural landscaping with a 10-acre lake that’s perfect for hiking, fishing, and frog-gigging.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.51
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.24
Founded in 1775, Stanford is located in Lincoln County and is the second oldest settlement in Kentucky. Since once being a fort during the American Revolution, Stanford is now heavily influenced by the retail trade, manufacturing, healthcare, and accommodation and food services industries, which provide many of the jobs in the area.
Families with children will be happy to know that Lincoln County High School was named one of the best high schools in Kentucky and the nation by U.S. News and World Report. They will also be assured that by having reported only one violent crime in all of 2012, Stanford has one of the lowest violent crime rates on our list of safest cities in Kentucky.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.29
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.58
The small town of Princeton, set in the middle of western Kentucky, is known as a center of safe neighborhoods, outdoor adventure, and historic sites, such as Adsmore, western’s Kentucky’s premier historic house and gardens, and inviting local entertainment, events, and festivals. During some of the summer and fall months, Princeton hosts its First Saturday Festivals, which station local musicians throughout Main Street to provide entertainment for shoppers traversing downtown, browsing the farmers market, and interacting with Main Street vendors. Each month has a theme, such as May’s Derby Day and July’s Star Spangled Event, which enliven this celebration of local commerce and culture.
Princeton is heavily involved in manufacturing, including products such as commercial bakery products, flatbed semi-trailers, race car products, metals, and limestone products. Due to its dedication to local development, in 2010, Princeton won the Innovation Award in Community Development from the National Association of Development Organizations.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.52
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.87
Located about 30 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, this rural city promotes a neighborly community set against scenic and serene vistas and rolling farmlands. Alexandria’s tagline, “Where the City Meets the Country,” is a testament to its efforts to bring the amenities of larger cities to an area that has benefitted from a quaint and safety-oriented small town atmosphere.
In addition to the retail trade, manufacturing, and healthcare industries, farming and agriculture are another prominent industry in Alexandria. The Agricultural Society of Campbell County, organized in 1856, hosts a fair to benefit farmers, complete with horse show events that are popular in both Kentucky and around the world, as it attracts high-standard horses from around the Mideast.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.35
Property Crimes per 1,000: 23.02
Known as the “Gateway to the Cumberlands,” Williamsburg is situated around the Cumberland River, Cumberland Falls, Lake Cumberland, and even the University of Cumberland.
Williamsburg is a charming, safe rural town with a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities. This includes serene nature hikes, plenty of history, and even Kentucky Splash Waterpark to boot. The city also has top-rated schools in the Williamsburg Independent School System, perfect for families looking to raise children in the area.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.95
Property Crimes per 1,000: 23.48
Benton’s impressive safety record is likely due in part to its proactive community which takes pride in its heritage and in keeping its neighborhoods clean, active, and secure. As for job opportunities in the area, manufacturing and healthcare are by far the most city’s prominent industries and job providers, so any families with career paths in those fields would do well in Benton.
Benton hosts one of Kentucky’s oldest festivals, Tater Day, which was founded in 1842 and attracts thousands of people to the city every first Monday of April and throughout the weekend with food, fun, and games. Another longtime festival, Big Singing Day, is considered by many to be the oldest indigenous musical tradition in the country.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.15
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.19
With no murders reported in 2012 and an otherwise commendable crime rate, Leitchfield prides itself in keeping its residents safe both in and out of their homes. Nestled between its Twin Lakes, Nolin Lake and Rough River Lake, the city offers its residents and visitors marine-centric entertainment, particularly during the warmer seasons.
Other entertainment options include the annual Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship, Grayson County Fair, Art in the Park, Freedom Fest, the Ice Cream Festival, the Grayson County 4-H and FFA Ag Fair, and a Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.18
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.39
40. Lakeside Park-Crestview
Lakeside Park-Crestview boasts one of the lowest violent crimes rates on the list, having reported only one violent crime in 2012. The police department overseeing these efforts includes the cities of Lakeside Park and Crestview under one roof, though the cities offer different amenities as two very small rural towns.
Back in 2000, Lakeside Park was selected as the second most livable city in all of Greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, and it has worked tirelessly to maintain that standing ever since. The city offers various recreational programs for youth, including art classes and sports leagues, to keep them active outside of school. An even smaller town, Crestview offers a vibrant commercial district that continues to grow as more business owners see the potential in coming to this small but thriving city.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.17
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.42
Shelbyville is one of the mid-sized populated cities on our list and is often considered to be one of the safest and most diverse communities in Kentucky, with a distinct blend of industry, business, and agriculture that helps this city flourish. As Shelbyville became more industrialized over the past 50 years, the area has been able to grow substantially with the addition of three industrial parks and a variety of business opportunities for residents.
With a several grants, Shelbyville was able to revamp its Historic District by restoring the Shelbyville Welcome/Heritage Center and creating a landscaped parking area. This is a green space that offers more parking for downtown merchants and has a variety of walkways, benches, flora, and period lighting to beautify the area for residents, visitors, and business owners alike.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.56
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.47
The smallest city on our list, Marion claims an admirably low violent crime rate with only two violent crimes reported in 2012. Marion is also home to the state’s largest Amish community and the second largest whitetail deer population in Kentucky. Famous for their hospitality, residents enjoy a thriving economy complete with enticing restaurants, including Marion Pit Barbecue and Front Porch Restaurant, antique malls, bustling coffee shops, and charming shops and Amish stands that sell impressive quilting and other handmade items.
Marion has a variety of sights, attractions, and things to do in the area, such as visiting the Wheeler Log Cabin, Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum, or Crittenden County Historical Museum, as well as the Trail of Tears route through Marion and The Outlaw Trail. You can also find the Marion Crittenden County Park and a variety of hunting and fishing opportunities for those who prefer the outdoors.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.66
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.57
In addition to being a notably safe city, Elsmere dedicates itself to providing residents with a high quality of life through a variety of occupational, educational, and recreational opportunities as well as efficient and responsible delivery of public services. Elsmere also offers a wealth of things to do, such as several events held throughout the year, ranging from movies in the park to family swim nights.
With a median resident age of about 32, Elsmere is a slightly younger town than the state average, which is 40, and the residents also see more of a diversity in population than many other cities on our list. Among this younger, diverse population, most jobs are held in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, accommodation and food services, and retail trade.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.94
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.80
Image: City of Elsmere
The second smallest populated city on our list, Wilder dedicates itself to providing top-notch government and social services to its residents and businesses at an economical cost, including a low property tax rate—one of the lowest in northern Kentucky—to help them achieve a better quality of life. The city is a healthy mix of rural, suburban, and urban areas, which caters to residents looking for a variety of different living situations, and it enjoys a low crime rate based on 2012 crime data statistics.
Wilder is a suburban bedroom community of Cincinnati, only about five minutes from its downtown, and provides job opportunities of its own for everything from heavy industrial businesses to professional offices and commercial establishments. The city also offers various recreational opportunities, such as access to two city parks, including Frederick’s Landing Park and Boat Ramp, and a summer recreation program for all youth ages five through 16.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.31
Property Crimes per 1,000: 25.13
Located in the Big Sandy Valley region of the mountains of eastern Kentucky, Paintsville enjoys a rich, safe small town atmosphere with a scenic mountainous background. Paintsville’s main industry, like much of Kentucky, is coal mining.
Paintsville’s historic downtown boasts over 25,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles—prime shopping for collectors—and a selection of quality restaurants to choose from, such as Giovanni Pizza and Wilma’s Restaurant. The city also offers a variety of recreational locations and activities, including Paintsville Lake State Park, The Paintsville Golf Course, and the annual Kentucky Apple Festival, with its 5-K run, gospel singing, and old-fashioned costume contest.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.86
Property Crimes per 1,000: 25.63
A suburb of Louisville, Hillview has long been a rural farming community with job opportunities primarily in the manufacturing, construction, and healthcare industries. It has a lower cost of living than the U.S. average.
In addition to maintaining a low crime rate, the Hillview Police Department participates in several other security faculties, including criminal investigations, D.A.R.E., house watch, and security evaluations. Feeling safe in their community, residents enjoy a variety of recreational activities, such as daily use of a public basketball gym, sports and cheerleading leagues, exercise equipment, and a community center. The Hillview Recreation Center also provides a park with a picnic area, covered pavilion, grills, softball field, and open area for other sports.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.85
Property Crimes per 1,000: 25.97
Known as the “Friendship City,” Erlanger is one of the most populated cities on our list of safest cities in Kentucky, and it fosters communities that are as safe as they are warm and welcoming. A suburban area in northern Kentucky, Erlanger is situated in the heart of the tri-state area that includes Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana and is part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
The median household income and median house or condo value are both higher than the state average, making it a prosperous and opportunistic place to live for individuals and families looking to start a new life in a fresh location. Job opportunities tend to lie in the manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare, and educational services industries. For a little fun, the City’s Even Planner hosts many monthly events, such as swim nights at Silverlake Recreation, the Amazing Race Scavenger Huny, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas events, and the Friendship City 5k.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.18
Property Crimes per 1,000: 27.23
As the third most populated city on our list, Radcliff still earns its place in the top 50 safest cities in Kentucky by having a solidly low crimes rate in 2012, including not one murder reported during that year. With a median household income and median house or condo value that are slightly above the state average, Radcliff turns to industries such as public administration, manufacturing, healthcare, and accommodation and food services for residents’ jobs.
Already one of the larger small towns represented, Radcliff is preparing to go through still more growth within the city limits through projects such as the Streetscape Project and the building of an amphitheater. Other attractions in Radcliff include Saunders Springs, Radcliff Skate Park, and Blazers Fun Zone.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.30
Property Crimes per 1,000: 28.04
Situated in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Lancaster serves as a crossroads for the region as it lies at the bustling center of Lexington, Richmond, Danville, Somerset, and Berea. Founded in 1797, the city celebrates a rich history, and is home to the Grand Theater, listed on the National Historic Register.
In addition to a wide selection of K-12 schools, Lancaster also promotes post-secondary education through its Lancaster Higher Education Center, which includes a campus of Eastern Kentucky University and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College. As for keeping these students safe, residents also enjoy a low crime rate, including no murders in 2012.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.45
Property Crimes per 1,000: 28.16
Settled in 1779, Wilmore benefits from serene natural scenery provided by its location near the Big Bend of the Kentucky River and the striking limestone formations of the Kentucky Palisades. It is also considered the “Garden Area” of Central Kentucky due to its rambling creeks and lush vegetation.
Complementing its beautiful backdrop, Wilmore also presents itself as a modern village of 3,700 people with small town charm and an historic Main Street that is on the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture harks back to the 1890s and colonial revival, capturing its rich history, but the amenities and services offered bring Wilmore back to the present in a big way.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.27
Property Crimes per 1,000: 29.84
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