2015 Safest Places in Tennessee

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.

Factor Value
Population 5,710
Crime Score 303

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.

Factor Value
Population 7,751
Crime Score 331

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.”

Factor Value
Population 39,635
Crime Score 362

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.

Factor Value
Population 6,976
Crime Score 367

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.

Factor Value
Population 6,164
Crime Score 382

Population Breakdown

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.

Methodology

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!

Rank City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
63 Alcoa 8,605 709                   5,171                     2,273
84 Athens 13,504 1192                   8,183                     3,906
7 Atoka 8,821 125                   1,406                        499
22 Bartlett 56,360 188                   1,971                        870
54 Bolivar 5,231 669                   5,028                     2,054
3 Brentwood 39,635 50                   1,125                        362
40 Bristol 26,660 360                   4,216                     1,650
79 Brownsville 9,886 1446                   4,511                     3,501
85 Chattanooga 172,286 982                   6,656                     4,057
18 Church Hill 6,727 238                   1,739                        743
48 Clarksville 145,599 514                   2,844                     1,928
75 Cleveland 42,735 793                   5,710                     2,975
31 Clinton 9,881 395                   3,309                     1,371
14 Collegedale 9,468 169                   1,658                        632
69 Columbia 34,952 790                   4,106                     2,548
55 Cookeville 31,174 459                   5,116                     2,078
78 Covington 9,076 1256                   6,368                     3,497
87 Crossville 11,199 1268                 10,555                     4,447
25 Dayton 7,351 218                   3,687                     1,092
44 Dickson 14,920 369                   5,416                     1,823
38 Dunlap 5,005 480                   4,376                     1,609
88 Dyersburg 17,013 1552                   7,218                     4,482
70 East Ridge 21,386 711                   5,382                     2,551
37 Elizabethton 14,220 295                   4,852                     1,559
30 Erwin 6,038 629                   1,192                     1,296
10 Fairview 8,059 161                   1,266                        530
67 Fayetteville 7,155 699                   5,786                     2,328
17 Franklin 67,465 173                   1,464                        729
29 Gallatin 31,961 397                   1,968                     1,248
8 Germantown 39,631 96                   1,327                        504
51 Goodlettsville 16,570 537                   4,496                     1,968
19 Greenbrier 6,586 288                   1,640                        808
47 Greeneville 15,015 466                   4,762                     1,870
57 Harriman 6,240 641                   5,433                     2,126
28 Henderson 6,396 375                   2,455                     1,109
15 Hendersonville 53,617 170                   1,410                        695
80 Humboldt 8,458 1549                   4,174                     3,557
86 Jackson 67,371 1373                   5,128                     4,221
34 Jefferson City 8,213 365                   4,225                     1,470
50 Johnson City 64,928 457                   3,961                     1,943
12 Jonesborough 5,163 155                   1,491                        536
65 Kingsport 51,496 518                   5,160                     2,314
20 Kingston 5,850 291                   1,863                        844
81 Knoxville 183,249 841                   6,242                     3,634
71 La Follette 7,256 717                   7,828                     2,757
72 Lawrenceburg 10,445 948                   5,802                     2,880
61 Lebanon 28,208 709                   3,563                     2,213
36 Lenoir City 8,945 335                   4,695                     1,523
46 Lewisburg 11,242 738                   2,562                     1,864
76 Lexington 7,844 1122                   5,189                     2,977
1 Loudon 5,710 88                      823                        303
56 Manchester 10,258 565                   5,440                     2,111
23 Martin 11,404 202                   2,762                        929
24 Maryville 28,009 218                   2,621                     1,019
35 McKenzie 5,406 388                   4,624                     1,515
89 Memphis 657,691 1656                   6,052                     6,096
39 Milan 7,789 539                   3,428                     1,611
11 Millersville 6,596 197                   1,031                        535
68 Millington 10,500 876                   4,781                     2,546
66 Morristown 29,300 553                   5,403                     2,318
6 Mount Carmel 5,422 129                   1,236                        448
16 Mount Juliet 27,542 174                   1,667                        718
21 Munford 6,036 232                   2,485                        864
64 Murfreesboro 115,587 610                   3,505                     2,277
83 Nashville 635,673 1040                   3,848                     3,832
77 Newport 6,912 839                   8,782                     3,136
5 Nolensville 6,164 130                      844                        382
4 Oakland 6,976 115                      874                        367
52 Paris 10,168 462                   5,675                     1,970
73 Pigeon Forge 6,023 714                   8,966                     2,909
32 Portland 11,944 469                   2,713                     1,414
60 Pulaski 7,717 778                   4,367                     2,210
53 Red Bank 11,865 590                   4,425                     1,983
82 Ripley 8,373 1600                   5,100                     3,825
49 Rockwood 5,475 384                   6,868                     1,930
62 Savannah 6,987 501                   7,142                     2,239
59 Sevierville 15,883 535                   5,679                     2,204
43 Shelbyville 20,669 576                   2,806                     1,724
2 Signal Mountain 7,751 116                      658                        331
26 Smyrna 42,240 263                   2,358                     1,093
27 Soddy-Daisy 13,004 246                   3,099                     1,093
45 Sparta 5,088 216                   8,039                     1,850
9 Spring Hill 31,807 151                      943                        518
74 Springfield 16,598 994                   4,970                     2,936
41 Sweetwater 5,870 511                   4,310                     1,679
33 Tullahoma 18,773 389                   3,175                     1,427
58 Union City 10,738 577                   5,504                     2,156
13 White House 10,679 94                   2,032                        580
42 Winchester 8,410 595                   3,306                     1,700

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