The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.
Kentucky’s 20 Safest Cities of 2023
Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Kentucky for 2023
See if your city made the full list.
Kentucky’s violent crime rate falls below the national and regional averages and is among the lowest in the country, but The Bluegrass State saw an 8% increase in violent crime year over year. Property crime decreased during the same period, but Kentuckians worry about property crime more than the average American.
In this report
2023 Kentucky crime rates
Kentucky’s violent crime rate of 2.8 is the second-lowest in its region (which includes Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee) and the fourteenth-lowest in the nation. Kentucky also boasts a property crime rate that’s lower than the national and regional averages.
Level of concern and experience with crime in Kentucky
According to our latest State of Safety survey, 67% of Kentuckians believe crime is increasing—a 16% decrease compared to the previous year's survey. On the flip side, 7% of Kentucky residents think crime is decreasing, which is up from 3% the previous year (a 136% increase).
That perception doesn’t perfectly align with our Kentucky survey respondents’ personal experiences. Compared to the previous year’s survey results, Kentuckians claimed to have experienced increases in crime across the board.
About 48% of Kentuckians feel safe in their state, which is lower than the national average of 50%.
Level of concern and experience with natural disasters in Kentucky
For our 2023 State of Safety Survey, we asked participants about their natural disaster concerns, preparations, and experiences. Most Kentuckians worried about strong or high winds (62%), extreme heat or cold (54%), and flooding (53%). Hurricanes were of least concern (36%).
Compared to the average American, Kentuckians were more likely to have a family emergency plan (48% KY, 40% US), to have bought safety equipment (19% KY, 18% US), and to have considered relocating (12% KY, 10% US).
About 12% of Kentuckians indicated they had to evacuate due to a natural disaster in the 12 months prior to the survey, which is higher than the national average of 11%.
Crime concerns in Kentucky
We asked Kentucky residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Kentuckians are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.
View the complete 2023 State of Safety report.
Violent crime in Kentucky: Fear vs. reality
According to our State of Safety survey, 60% of Kentuckians feel concerned about violent crime—above the national average of 49% and the sixth-highest level of concern in the nation. About 17% of Kentucky residents reportedly experienced violent crime in the 12 months prior to our survey, which is higher than the national average of 15% and represents an increase of 329% year over year.
Kentucky respondents also noted a 203% increase in gun violence experiences year over year (from 6% to 18%).
- Violent crime accounts for 14% of all crime in Kentucky, which is lower than the national average of 17%. However, robberies, rapes, and murders make up a larger percentage of Kentucky’s violent crimes than the national averages.
- Kentucky is 1 of just 5 states where murder and nonnegligent manslaughter represents 3% or more of all violent crime in the state. Connecticut, Louisiana, and Virginia tie with Kentucky at 3%, and Mississippi has the highest percentage at 4%.
- 47% of Kentuckians use some form of personal protection (US 39%) with concealed firearms leading the way at 49%.
- Kentucky has the second-highest rate of officer deaths or injuries nationwide, with 0.4 incidents per 100,000 people. Only Alaska has a higher rate (0.5).
Attitudes about gun violence in Kentucky
- 56% of Kentuckians worry about gun violence (47% US).
- 18% experienced gun violence in the 12 months prior to our survey, which is the fifth-highest percentage nationwide (12% US).
- Kentuckians' gun violence experiences increased 203% year over year.
- 9 mass shooting events occurred in Kentucky during the reporting year, which represents a 125% increase year over year.
Property crime in Kentucky: Fear vs. reality
Kentuckians report the ninth-highest level of concern about property crime—55%, up from 48% last year.
But property crime actually decreased by 3% year over year in Kentucky. Our survey results show the opposite trend—35% of Kentuckians claim to have experienced a property crime in the 12 months prior to the survey, up from 18% the previous year.
- Larceny-theft makes up 68% of all property crime in Kentucky, which is lower than the national average of 72% and represents the fourth-lowest percentage of larceny-theft in the nation.
- Of the Kentuckians who use some form of property protection, most use security cameras (43%) or guard dogs (41%).
- 39% of Kentuckians experienced a package theft during the 12 months prior to our survey, which is the eighth-highest percentage in the nation and represents a year-over-year increase of 181%.
- Of the Kentuckians with a package theft prevention strategy, most rely on doorbell cameras (35%) and verified delivery (31%).
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A closer look at the safest cities in Kentucky
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.
- 113 Kentucky cities met the criteria for ranking this year, and 7 cities are appearing in the top 20 for the first time.
- Columbia rose 17 positions to land at number 4, whereas Flatwoods took the biggest nosedive, falling 11 positions to number 17.
- Pioneer Village, Prospect, Stanford, and Indian Hills reported 0 violent crimes.
- Kentucky's 20 safest cities reported a total of 78 violent crimes and 639 property crimes.
- Flatwoods was the only safest city to report a murder (1).
- In total, Kentucky's 20 safest cities reported more rapes than robberies.
- 4 cities on this year’s list reported 10 or fewer property crimes and 10 or fewer violent crimes—Pioneer Village, West Liberty, Providence, and Hartford.
How to make a safe home anywhere
Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.
Find security and safety resources in your area
Didn't find your city?
We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.
NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2021.
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Endnotes and sources
FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.
- 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
- Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
- 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables
FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement ." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.
US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.
SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.
Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."
- 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
- 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.