by Susan Gulliford
The Bluegrass State conjures up images of horse farms and coal mines. However, three of its five safest places are middle-class suburbs of a major city (Cincinnati, Ohio). That is the major takeaway from the ValuePenguin team’s analysis of the FBI Crime Report for Kentucky.
These 75 cities with populations of at least 5,000 have crime scores that range from 193 to 3,819. The average crime score for the state of Kentucky is 1,573. You can review the full report here.
5 Safest Places in Kentucky
These cities have an average final crime score of 350, which is 78% lower than their typical peer in the state. These five are the safest places in Kentucky.
Flatwoods is a small city of approximately 7,400 in the eastern part of the state. The police department works to keep crime low by offering a Vacation Check for residents who are out of town and crime prevention tips. Flatwoods has the lowest rate of violent crime and the lowest rate of property crime for any city in Kentucky. It is a community with a median household income slightly below the state’s median ($41,344 for Flatwoods versus $43,342 for Kentucky) and the median home values are 30% lower than the state’s.
2. Villa Hills
This Cincinnati, Ohio, suburb of approximately 7,400 comes in at number two. The police department uses online crime mapping to convey important information to residents. There is not much crime to report; this city has the third-lowest rate of property crime and the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. Villa Hills has a median household income 96% higher than the median for Kentucky, and it has a much higher rate of owner-occupied homes (88% for Villa Hills versus 68% for Kentucky).
3. Fort Thomas
This city is a mere 14-minute drive from Cincinnati. Fort Thomas has the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime and second-lowest rate of property crime. To promote good community relations, the Fort Thomas police department along with other law enforcement agencies in northern Kentucky offers a Citizen’s Police Academy to educate people policing topics. The median household income for Fort Thomas is 44% higher than the state’s median, and a low percentage of city’s residents live in poverty.
With over 26,000 residents, Independence is the largest city in the top five. It is a 27-minute drive from Cincinnati. The police department offers resources such as self-defense training and vacation home checks to keep crime low. In addition to a low rate of violent crime, the city has the fourth-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income for Independence is 52% higher than the state’s median.
Lawrenceburg is a small city of just under 11,000 that is 41 minutes from Lexington, Ky. It has the third-lowest rate of property crime of any city in this study. Lawrenceburg has a full service police department and a school resource officer for the public schools. It is a middle-income community with a median income approximately $7,300 higher than the state’s median.
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 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Kentucky
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Kentucky” 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.
|15||Lakeside Park-Crestview Hills||736|
People look for a consistently safe place to live and work. Two cities, Flatwoods and Villa Hills, made the top five for both 2015 and 2016. This year’s new entrants to the top five have a history of being safe communities. Fort Thomas and Lawrenceburg were the two safest cities mid-size cities for both years, and Independence was the safest large city for 2015 and 2016.
There was also change at the bottom of the rankings from 2015 to 2016. Only two cities, Louisville Metro and Newport, were in the bottom five for both years. In fact, Louisville Metro had the highest crime score when adjusted for population in 2015 and 2016.
There was an important year-over-year change regarding the size of the safest places. In 2015, every city in the top five was from the small (under 10,000 population category). The 2016 top five contained two small cities, two mid-size cities, and one city from the large category.
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 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 5,000 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 80% and property crime at 20%. 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|
|15||Lakeside Park-Crestview Hills||5,945||34||1,817||736|