The SafeWise team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.
Tennessee’s 20 Safest Cities of 2023
Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Tennessee for 2023
See if your city made the full list.
According to our 2023 State of Safety report, Tennesseans worry more about safety on a daily basis than most Americans. This matches the state's high violent crime rate but contrasts with a four-year trend of falling property crime rates. The safest cities in The Volunteer State boast crime rates far below both national and statewide levels.
In this report
2023 Tennessee crime rates
While Tennessee's violent crime rate dopped by 0.4% since last year, the overall rate stayed and 6.7 incidents per 1,000 people. In contrast, the property crime rate went down from 24.9 incidents per 1,000 people to 22.8.
In the East South Central Region, Tennessee has the highest rate of violent crime, ahead of Alabama (6.0). As for the property crime rate, Tennessee ranked second behind Alabama (25.9). Tennessee is also the most populous state in the region.
Tennessee comes in above the US rate for both violent (4.0) and property crime (19.6). Among the 41 states that met reporting requirements this year, Tennessee has the second-highest violent crime rate (behind Arkansas) and the eleventh-highest property crime rate.
Violent crime in Tennessee: Fear vs. reality
Although the violent crime rate dipped slightly year over year, personal experience with violent crime was the same as in the previous survey year. Still, Tennesseans worry more about violent crime than any other crime or safety issue other than package theft. Tennessee survey respondents are 17% more concerned than the average American when it comes to worries about a violent crime actually happening to them.
- 46% of Tennesseans say they feel safe in their state, which is below the US average of 50%.
- Despite a higher crime rate than the US, murder accounts for a smaller percentage of all violent crimes in Tennessee (1% vs US 2%).
- Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime in Tennessee, accounting for 82% of all reported violent crimes—the second-highest ratio of assaults in the country behind Louisiana (84%).
- Tennessee reports fewer rapes than most of the country, with sexual assaults accounting for 6% of all violent crime, compared to 11% nationwide.
Attitudes about personal safety in Tennessee
- 50% of Tennesseans use some form of personal protection like a stun gun or pepper spray (US 39%).
- The top form of personal protection used by Tennessee respondents this survey year was a concealed firearm (56%). This is higher than the national average of 41%.
- 53% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Attitudes about gun violence in Tennessee
- 50% of Tennessee survey respondents are worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 47%).
- 10% of participants said they experienced gun violence during the 12 months prior to the survey (US 12%).
- Mass shooting incidents increased to 17 in 2022 from 15 in 2021—that’s a 13% bump year over year.
- For every police officer killed or injured by a gun in Tennessee in 2022, 4.1 suspects experienced the same.
- There were 58 self-defense shooting incidents in Tennessee in 2022—up 7 from the year before.
Property crime in Tennessee: Fear vs. reality
Folks in Tennessee are slightly more worried about property crime than most Americans and the state’s property crime rate is 18% higher than the national average. And while the property crime rate is dropping statewide, personal experience with property crime went up 86% since the last survey year.
- Tennessee’s property crime rate has fallen 23% since 2017 and dropped almost 9% this year.
- Larceny-theft is the most common property crime in Tennessee, but it takes up a larger proportion of property crime in the safest cities—81% compared to 72% across the state and nationwide.
- Tennessee saw roughly the same ratio of burglaries (14%) as a share of total property crime as the US.
- Every safest city in Tennessee reported lower property crime rates than the state and national rates.
Attitudes about property security in Tennessee
- 83% of survey participants use some form of property protection (US 76%).
- The top forms of property protection among Tennesseeans are security cameras (43%) and firearms (41%) with both more prevalent than national levels.
- 34% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic—six percentage points above the national average of 28%.
Attitudes about package theft in Tennessee
- 37% of survey respondents in Tennessee reported experiencing package theft in the 12 months prior to the survey (US 34%).
- 58% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft—above the US average of 53%.
- The preferred methods of package protection in Tennessee are verified delivery (27%) and leaving it in a safe spot (26%). While Tennessee's preference for verified delivery matches the US average, it's higher for safe spots (US 25%).
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A closer look at the safest cities in Tennessee
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.
- 80 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- After moving up 12 spots last year, Nolensville moved up 4 spots this year to land at number 1. It has the lowest property crime rate in Tennessee at just 3 incidents per 1,000 residents.
- 12 cities moved into our top 20 this year.
- Dayton (up 44 spots), Millersville (up 36 spots), and Portland (up 34 spots) made the biggest improvements this year, moving up to ranks 19, 3, and 16, respectively.
- Franklin (population 87,969), Hendersonville (population 60,170), and Collierville (population 52,059) are the largest cities on the list and the only ones with more than 50,000 residents.
Violent crime in Tennessee's safest cities
- The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 1.5 incidents per 1,000 people—that's 77% lower than the state rate of 6.7.
- 16 cities (80%) reported 0 murders this year.
- 9 cities reported 25 or fewer violent crimes this year, with Oakland having the lowest violent crime rate in the state (0.3)—it reported only 3 violent crimes.
Property crime in Tennessee's safest cities
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 8.5 incidents per 1,000 people. That's 63% below the state rate of 22.8.
- 8 cities (40%) reported fewer than 100 total property crimes while Millersville, Nolensville, Church Hill, and Collierville reported less than 50.
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.