Discover the Top 5 Most Dangerous Cities in Kentucky: Don’t Go There


If you live in Kentucky, you probably know more people than just the crazy Wildcats fans in Lexington and the angry illegal distillers in Louisville. It turns out that the Bluegrass State also has some dangerous spots.

It’s not just about wealthy people who love the Kentucky Derby. People from the most dangerous towns in Kentucky live in this state that isn’t given much attention. RoadSnacks has created a list of these dangerous places for 2022 that you should think about before you make any big plans to move.

How did we find these dangerous areas in the land of horses? We dug into the data and looked at 74 cities and the FBI’s most recent crime report to find information on property and serious crime in places with more than 5,000 people.

Compared to the national average, both violent and property crimes have gone up over the past four years, which is a worrying trend. Louisville is the most dangerous city in Kentucky, which is also a questionable title. Louisville was also named one of the safest towns in the country, which is a shame. But it’s not the most dangerous spot in this Midwest state.

Good luck if you live in the best place in Kentucky. Consider yourself lucky. But if you’re thinking about moving, please take a moment to listen to some Bluegrass music and carefully read through our list below before you hit the road. Things that could put you in danger are not something we want.

1. Middlesboro

  • Population: 8,968
  • Rank: 10 (Same as Last Year)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 323 (ninth most dangerous)
  • Break-ins per 100,000 people: 3,044 (19th most dangerous)

Finally, we get to Middlesboro, which is one of the most dangerous places to live in Kentucky. Even though Middlesboro doesn’t have a lot of violent crime, it still had 29 violent crimes in 2020, including 13 severe attacks and 9 rapes.

2. Owensboro

  • Population: 60,430
  • Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 266 (15th most dangerous)
  • Property crimes per 100k: 3,849(seventh most dangerous)

The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in Owensboro makes the city a great place for music fans. In this town on the Ohio River in western Kentucky, which is also called the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” there is a well-known food event.

Along with these benefits, Owensboro is the 7th most risky city in Kentucky. This is mostly because of its high rate of property crime, which includes 284 car thefts and 1,638 break-ins. People in the city were shocked when four bodies were found in a house in 2019. Cylar Shemwell was arrested on four counts of murder.

3. Newport

  • Population: 14,874
  • Rank: 17 (Up 11) Last Year
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 349 (Fifth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,052 (16th most dangerous)

Since Newport is in a different state but is just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, it is pretty much a suburb of this big city. It’s not a surprise that it has a high crime rate since it’s close to a busy city. Newport has a population of only 14,874, but it has been the site of 12 sexual attacks and has the highest rate of burning.

4. Bowling Green

  • Population: 71,861
  • Rank: 5 (Up 4) Last Year
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 343 (seventh most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,446 (fourth most dangerous)

Because of how dangerous Bowling Green is, the numbers don’t lie—it was named the most dangerous city in Kentucky in 2022. Be careful in this town in southern Kentucky; it had 247 serious crimes in 2020 alone.

Not only is your safety at risk, but 71 of these events were thefts, which means your things are also at risk. Along with being famous for making Corvettes, Bowling Green is also home to thieves who won’t think twice about stealing your car. In 2020, 317 people had their cars stolen in Bowling Green.

5. Mayfield

  • Population: 9,791
  • Rank: 1 (Down 2) Last Year
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 377 (fourth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,748 (eighth most dangerous)

As of 2023, Mayfield is the third most dangerous place in Kentucky, which is a bad thing. Cartwright Grove is a one-of-a-kind site that looks like a western town from the late 1800s. You might feel like you’ve stepped into the real Wild West here.

With a population of 9,791, Mayfield has its problems. It is the 50th most violent place in the state and the ninth most violent city for rape. This makes it sound like the people in Cartwright Grove are dealing with crime, and it’s not just the made-up criminals who are a threat. The fact that the city is one of the worst places to live in Kentucky and has a high rate of poverty adds to its bad image.

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