Kentucky’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

Kentucky Safest Cities badge 2020

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the sixth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 20 Safest Cities in Kentucky for 2020. See if your city made the list.

Kentucky crime experience infographic; 11% violent crime, 32% property crime, 3% mass shooting

If you call the Bluegrass State home, you’re probably less worried about your safety than the rest of the nation. Kentucky enjoys lower crime rates than national averages, and its safest cities lead the way when it comes to minimizing crime and maximizing safety.

See if your hometown is one of Kentucky’s 20 safest cities of 2020.

Our 2020 State of Safety survey revealed that only 40% of Kentucky residents are highly concerned about their safety on a daily basis. That’s eight percentage points less than the state reported last year, and six points below the 2020 national average of 46%.

40% of people in Kentucky worry about crime on a daily basis in 2020 compared to 48% in 2019.

View the complete 2020 State of Safety report.

Although reports of personal experience with crime increased this year, Kentucky’s crime rates are still lower than the national rates for both violent and property crime.

Reported experience with property crime doubled this year despite a lower property crime rate in Kentucky.

Kentucky boasts a violent crime rate of 2.1 per 1,000, versus the national rate of 3.7. Property crime statewide occurs at a rate of 19.6 incidents per 1,000, compared to 22.0 across the country.

Violent crime in Kentucky: fear vs. reality

Physical assault by a stranger was the primary violent crime concern in Kentucky, and that lines up with which violent crimes happen most often in the state.

  • 41% reported the highest concern for physical assault. That’s one point higher than the national average of 40%.
  • Assault by a stranger is also the crime that Kentuckians believe is most likely to happen. 27% put it at the top of the list, compared to 26% nationwide.
  • Aggravated assault is the most prevalent violent crime in Kentucky, making up 43% of the violent crimes reported by the safest cities and 53% of all violent crime across the state.
  • Rape was the second most commonly reported violent crime among the safest cities, with 37 total incidents and 41% of all violent crime. It accounted for 18% of all violent crime across the state.
  • 26% named sexual assault by a stranger as a high concern and 15% thought it was the most likely to happen.
41% of Kentucky residents are most concerned about being physically assaulted.
27% of Kentucky residents believe they're most likely to be physically assaulted.

Property crime in Kentucky: fear vs. reality

Kentucky residents are worried about break-ins more than any other property crime. They also think a break-in when they’re away from home is the property crime most likely to actually happen.

  • 66% of Kentucky respondents indicated high concern about a break-in when the residents aren’t home. That’s four points higher than the national average of 62%.
  • 39% named a break-in when away from home as the most likely property crime, compared to 38% nationwide.
  • Burglary made up 19% of all property crime among the safest cities and 20% statewide.
  • Larceny-theft was the most common property crime in Kentucky, accounting for 71% of all property crime in the safest cities and 69% statewide.
  • Despite high concern about break-ins, only 18% of Kentucky participants use a security system to protect their home. Across the country, 24% use security systems.
  • A dog or other guard animal is the most common security measure used in Kentucky, with 38% using animals for protection. Throughout the US, 33% use a dog or other guard animal.
  • 27% of Kentuckians don’t use any kind of security or protection on their property, versus 29% across the country.
66% of Kentucky residents are most concerned about ahome break-in when they're away
39% of Kentucky residents believe they're most likely to experience a break-in when they're away

A closer look at Kentucky’s safest cities of 2020

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • The top three cities all made big jumps this year. Greenville moved from 12 to one, Columbia from 25 to two, and Fort Thomas from 14 to three.
  • 55% of the cities improved their rank year over year.
  • Harrodsburg had the largest improvement, climbing 34 spots to number 14.
  • 30% of the cities dropped in rank year over year.
  • Two new cities joined the top 20 this year: Prestonsburg and Stanford.
  • All cities came in under both state (2.1) and national (3.7) violent crime rates and every city reported less than one violent crime incident per 1,000.
  • Alexandria had the lowest violent crime rate at 0.1 per 1,000, but a higher property crime rate of 15.0 per 1,000 landed it at number 17 on the list.
  • 90% of the cities reported fewer than 25 total violent crimes, and there were zero murders reported among all the safest cities.
  • All cities are below both state (19.6) and national (22.0) property crime rates; in fact, 85% limited property crime incidents to 10 or fewer per 1,000.
  • Columbia had the lowest property crime rate at 2.6, with a total of 13 incidents reported.
Kentucky safest cities heat map showing population and crime score

The 20 safest cities in Kentucky

VC = Violent Crime PC = Property Crime

Greenville, Kentucky
#1
Greenville
(
+11
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,239
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $27,415
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 0.5, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.5, 6.7, 5.5
Columbia, Kentucky
#2
Columbia
(
+23
)
  • Population
    4,927
  • Median Income
    $26,675
  • VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 0.8, 0.6
  • PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.6, 3.4, 2.8
Fort Thomas, Kentucky
#3
Fort Thomas
(
+11
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    16,274
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,956
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 0.5, 0.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.2, 7.0, 5.5
Villa Hills, Kentucky
#4
Villa Hills
(
+4
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,455
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $85,230
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.3, 0.3, 0.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    5.5, 5.2, 3.7
Prospect, Kentucky
#5
Prospect
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,956
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $113,711
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.2, 0.0, 0.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    8.3, 9.8, 11.2
Highland Heights, Kentucky
#6
Highland Heights
(
+26
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,112
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $51,705
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.3, 1.0, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    9.3, 8.1, 7.3
Flatwoods, Kentucky
#7
Flatwoods
(
+10
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    7,136
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $49,006
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, 0.5, 0.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.4, 4.7, 2.3
Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
#8
Fort Mitchell
(
+13
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,260
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $64,229
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.7, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    7.5, 10.8, 10.1
Taylor Mill, Kentucky
#9
Taylor Mill
(
+2
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,781
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $62,154
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.6, 0.4, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    7.5, 10.2, 6.3
Edgewood, Kentucky
#10
Edgewood
(
-6
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,736
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $93,958
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 0.1, 0.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    7.0, 9.1, 8.7
Idependence, Kentucky
#11
Independence
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    28,052
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $75,647
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, 0.9, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    5.5, 5.4, 5.7
Prestonsburg, Kentucky
#12
Prestonsburg
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,404
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $23,068
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.6, 3.1, 1.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    8.2, 12.5, 15.3
Carrollton, Kentucky
#13
Carrollton
(
+9
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,820
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $46,080
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.8, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    9.4, 14.2, 17.0
Harrodsburg, Kentucky
#14
Harrodsburg
(
+34
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,399
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $33,449
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 1.8, 1.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    11.4, 16.7, 21.8
Central City, Kentucky
#15
Central City
(
-10
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    5,746
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $36,100
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.2, 0.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    9.7, 12.2, 14.3
Wilmore, Kentucky
#16
Wilmore
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,406
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $46,833
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.6, 0.5, 0.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    8.7, 22.6, 16.0
Alexandria, Kentucky
#17
Alexandria
(
-11
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    9,583
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $72,721
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.1, 0.2, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    15.0, 16.8, 15.3
Stanford, Kentucky
#18
Stanford
(
NEW
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,617
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $29,167
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.6, 0.5, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    10.0, 10.4, 9.5
Lawrenceburg, Kentucky
#19
Lawrenceburg
(
+5
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    11,378
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $48,750
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.4, 0.8, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    12.5, 11.1, 8.7
Mount Washington, Kentucky
#20
Mount Washington
(
-2
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    14,704
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $63,894
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.8, 0.6, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    8.9, 8.8, 14.6

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Didn't find your city in the top 20?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, which is based on the median population of the state. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2018.

2020 Ranking

City

Population

Violent Crime (per 1,000)

Property Crime (per 1,000)

21

Vine Grove

6,237

0.3

14.9

22

Erlanger

22,993

1

8.1

23

Hillview

9,163

0.9

10.8

24

Bellevue

5,746

0.7

13.9

25

La Grange

8,995

0.6

16.3

26

Monticello

6,101

1

12.1

27

Cold Spring

6,430

0.6

17.4

28

Lakeside Park-Crestview Hills

6,107

0.2

23.1

29

Elsmere

8,680

1.3

10.6

30

Versailles

26,552

1

14.7

31

Morehead

7,869

0.5

21.5

32

Fort Wright

5,737

1.4

11.5

33

Beaver Dam

3,587

1.7

8.4

34

Dayton

5,464

1.1

17.4

35

Southgate

3,908

1.8

10.2

36

Shelbyville

16,138

1.2

16.9

37

Williamsburg

5,299

2.1

8.5

38

Hodgenville

3,223

1.6

14.6

39

Paintsville

4,061

2.5

6.2

40

Benton

4,495

0.2

31.6

41

Berea

15,893

1.3

20.5

42

Paris

9,809

1.3

21.8

43

Elizabethtown

30,180

2.1

13.3

44

Cynthiana

6,362

1.9

17.1

45

Lancaster

3,866

2.1

15.3

46

Ludlow

4,502

2

16.4

47

Danville

16,801

2

16.8

48

Grayson

3,983

2.8

10.8

49

Shepherdsville

12,391

2.1

20.7

50

Corbin

7,267

2.1

22.6

51

Nicholasville

30,922

1.9

26.6

52

Georgetown

34,351

1.8

28.9

53

Richmond

35,952

1.8

29.7

54

Leitchfield

6,914

2

28.1

55

Somerset

11,453

2.6

21.6

56

Scottsville

4,478

1.3

36.2

57

Ashland

20,525

1.5

37.7

58

Hazard

5,035

2.4

28.6

59

Maysville

8,770

2.2

31.5

60

Russellville

7,088

2.4

30.1

61

Glasgow

14,411

2.3

31.4

62

Florence

32,701

1.8

37.9

63

Mount Sterling

7,253

1.9

37.4

64

London

8,008

2.2

33.8

65

Lebanon

5,668

4.1

15

66

Middlesboro

9,360

1.4

45.3

67

Hopkinsville

30,606

2.8

32.6

68

Princeton

6,075

1.6

46.3

69

Pikeville

6,641

1.8

45.2

70

Lexington

325,579

3

31.7

71

Frankfort

27,664

2.6

38

72

Newport

14,972

3.1

38

73

Covington

40,448

4.1

27.1

74

Owensboro

59,686

2.7

44.2

75

Shively

15,876

3.5

36.4

76

Campbellsville

11,503

2.8

45.4

77

Bowling Green

68,268

3

48.5

78

Mayfield

9,819

3.6

46.2

79

Oak Grove

7,232

4.1

42.9

Sources

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “American Fact Finder

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.
  • CaRWWN

    2 of the top 20 “cities” had population above 10,000.
    3 largest – Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville not listed.
    Can’t believe this.

    • Amanda Payne

      Lexington is # 70 and Frankfort # 71