When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. Our team at ValuePenguin has analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities in Tennessee. These 89 ranged in a crime score from 303 to 6,096, with an average of 1,901. The top five safest cities and towns are from every corner of the state.
Nashville, Tennessee’s capital, fell near the bottom of our rankings with a crime score of 3,832 but was well ahead of the slightly more populous Memphis (657,691), which finished dead last. This was true despite the fact that we adjusted our crime score metric for population size. The score also took into account both the amount of violent and property-related crimes per 100,000 people (more on our methodology below). For more insight, take a look at the report:
5 Safest Places in Tennessee
These cities have an average crime score of 349, 82 percent lower than their typical peer in Tennessee. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.
1. Loudon, Tenn.
With five violent crimes and 47 property crimes, both the lowest totals in the state, Loudon is the state’s safest – and among the smallest. Situated along the Tennessee River and just a 45-minute drive southwest of Knoxville, the home of the University of Tennessee, Loudon County hosts its Institute of Agriculture here. Given the presence of other schools, parks and manufacturing plants, the city’s police department estimates its service population is greater than its residential coverage.
2. Signal Mountain, Tenn.
Signal Mountain, which registered the fewest property crimes per 100,000 people (658) in our study, is our second-safest place in Tennessee but isn’t completely safe from bad characters. One of its residents admitted in April to plotting a murderous attack on a group of people in Delaware County, N.Y. These days, a fifteen-officer police department patrols the town, which boasts 18 miles of trails for hiking, trail running and mountain biking.
3. Brentwood, Tenn.
Ten miles south of Nashville, Brentwood recorded the fewest violent crimes per 100,000 people (50 and is the only large city in the top five (more on our population breakdown below). Its residents are among the wealthiest, with a median household income $132,738 that is 210% higher than Tennessee’s average, plus an estimated home value ($509,172) that is 270% higher than a given in-state peer. Brentwood, which was incorporated only as recently as 1969, is also the home of Michael Oher, the Memphis-born NFL offensive lineman whose rise from poverty was chronicled in print and on the silver screen, in “The Blind Side.”
4. Oakland, Tenn.
Thirty-five miles east of Memphis, Oakland, recorded a crime score that is 81 percent less than the study’s overall average. While the town government here has excelled in safety standards, its leaders of recent years haven’t escaped scandal. One of its former mayors, Bill Mullins, was convicted of three counts of official misconduct in 2010, and another, Scott Ferguson, stepped down in 2013 as news broke that he had two wives. Oakland replaced the latter man with the appropriately-named Chris Goodman, who has been at the helm while the city recorded the state’s fourth-best crime score.
5. Nolensville, Tenn.
Nolensville is a close neighbor of third-ranked Brentwood and has a similarly strong crime score. With a motto of “Community, history, proximity,” the town also values transparency, posting its most recent crime report on its own website. Whether you consider its publicly-provided findings from last May or the data it reported to the FBI in 2013 (more on our methodology below), Nolensville is very deserving of rounding out Tennessee’s five safest places.
Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 25,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 25,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Tennessee
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Tennessee” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 3,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.
We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 90% and property crime at 10%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.
Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!
Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K