2016 Safest Places in Tennessee

by Susan Gulliford

The 6.6 million residents of The Volunteer State care about finding a safe place to call home. The team at ValuePenguin analyzed 90 communities with populations over 5,000 to determine the safest places in Tennessee. The crime scores ranged from 291 to 7,532; the average crime score for the state is 2,582.

The safest places were a mixture of affluent suburbs and middle-class towns. Instead of being concentrated in one part of the state, the safest communities were spread throughout Tennessee. You can review the full report here.

5 Safest Places in Tennessee

These cities have an average final crime score of 491, which is 81% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.

1. Signal Mountain

This small (population of 8,517) suburb is eight miles from Chattanooga at the southern end of the Cumberland Plateau. Despite its small size, the town has a police department of 15 full-time officers. The result is that Signal Mountain achieved the lowest rate of violent and property crime for any Tennessee community in this study. The town had a median household income 2.2 times the median household income for Tennessee overall, a very low rate of poverty. Plus, over 66% of the adult residents held at least a bachelor’s degree.

2. Brentwood

With a population of over 40,000, this Nashville suburb is the largest community in the top five. The police department is no stranger to awards for excellence; in 2011, it achieved the CALEA Gold Standard Award. Brentwood had the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the third-lowest rate of property. This city is very affluent. Brentwood’s median household income was over three times the Tennessee median, and the median home value was nearly $488,000.

3. Oakland

This small town (population of 7,229) is a 40-minute drive from Memphis. The police department allows residents to email them anonymously about crime in the area. This fast-growing community -- its population was up 13% from the 2010 census -- stays safe. It had six violent crimes reported in 2014, and Oakland had the fifth-lowest level of property crime overall. Oakland is a middle-class community with a median household income of $66,981 and median home values close to the median for Tennessee.

4. Nolensville

Nolensville’s motto is, "Community, History, Proximity." This town of 6,295 is approximately 23 miles from Nashville. The police department enlists the community’s help through Community Watch and Business Watch programs. The result is that crime remains low even as the town experiences rapid growth, nearly 18% since the last census. In addition to a low rate of violent crime, Nolensville had the fourth-lowest rate of property crime. The town had a median household income 2.3 times the median for Tennessee and a very high rate (over 92%) of owner-occupied homes.

5. Loudon

Loudon is the smallest community (population of 5,785) in the top five. It is approximately a 40-minute drive from Knoxville. Due to Loudon’s small size, the City of Loudon Police Department handles law enforcement duties. The town had six violent crimes in 2014 and a low rate of property crime. Loudon is a working class town with a median household income lower than the median for Tennessee.

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:

Safest Places in Tennessee

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.

Rank

CityCrime Score

1

Signal Mountain291

2

Brentwood488

3

Oakland496

4

Nolensville555

5

Loudon624

6

Atoka651

7

Germantown655

8

Spring Hill658

9

Jonesborough743

10

Mount Carmel907

11

Millersville914

12

Collegedale929

13

Franklin953

14

Fairview968

15

Hendersonville990

16

Erwin991

17

Collierville1,048

18

Church Hill1,096

19

Greenbrier1,132

20

White House1,141

21

Mount Juliet1,207

22

Gallatin1,216

23

Martin1,288

24

Maryville1,296

25

Bartlett1,320

26

Henderson1,367

27

Munford1,445

28

Kingston1,463

29

Soddy-Daisy1,476

30

La Vergne1,693

31

Smyrna1,757

32

McKenzie1,867

33

Dunlap2,039

34

Portland2,073

35

Winchester2,267

36

Clinton2,292

37

Goodlettsville2,315

38

Shelbyville2,332

39

Dayton2,335

40

Bristol2,420

41

Johnson City2,451

42

Harriman2,581

43

Lenoir City2,604

44

Jefferson City2,622

45

Red Bank2,674

46

Tullahoma2,674

47

Paris2,684

48

Sparta2,691

49

Columbia2,693

50

Milan2,703

51

Cookeville2,735

52

Greeneville2,749

53

Millington2,756

54

Sweetwater2,770

55

Murfreesboro2,782

56

Sevierville2,816

57

Lebanon2,824

58

Clarksville2,904

59

Pulaski2,980

60

McMinnville3,038

61

Elizabethton3,095

62

Manchester3,293

63

Rockwood3,326

64

East Ridge3,356

65

Humboldt3,367

66

Morristown3,391

67

Bolivar3,438

68

Pigeon Forge3,450

69

Union City3,455

70

Dickson3,481

71

Kingsport3,482

72

Fayetteville3,493

73

Alcoa3,500

74

Savannah3,651

75

Lawrenceburg3,693

76

Springfield3,703

77

La Follette3,990

78

Brownsville4,168

79

Jackson4,271

80

Cleveland4,366

81

Ripley4,713

82

Nashville4,719

83

Athens4,784

84

Crossville4,842

85

Knoxville5,277

86

Chattanooga5,338

87

Newport5,463

88

Dyersburg5,576

89

Covington5,730

90

Memphis7,532

Year-over-year change

The 2016 results were extremely consistent with 2015. The exact same cities and towns made the top five in both years. Only the order of the top five changed from year to year.

There was also remarkable consistency within the size categories. Every small community in the top ten this year was in the top ten for 2015. Nine of the ten safest large cities in 2016 were in the top last year too. Only the mid-size category experienced much year-over-year change; seven out of the top ten communities this year were among the safest places in 2015.

You can review last year’s report here.

Safest Places in Tennessee

Methodology

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

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score

73

Alcoa8,6897375,9393,500

83

Athens13,6401,1516,9654,784

6

Atoka8,9261571,019651

25

Bartlett58,5292681,6971,320

67

Bolivar5,1991,3273,9433,438

2

Brentwood40,75747871488

40

Bristol26,6034593,6352,420

78

Brownsville9,9571,4464,6404,168

86

Chattanooga174,4499746,2875,338

18

Church Hill6,7822951,6811,096

58

Clarksville144,6396692,9542,904

80

Cleveland43,1358585,9884,366

36

Clinton9,9245243,6382,292

12

Collegedale9,889712,043929

17

Collierville47,7571531,6291,048

49

Columbia35,7606213,4312,693

51

Cookeville31,2574004,4852,735

89

Covington9,0601,8986,8875,730

84

Crossville11,3398478,5554,842

39

Dayton7,4462824,9022,335

70

Dickson15,0227325,4053,481

33

Dunlap5,1123524,0882,039

88

Dyersburg16,9701,2738,0915,576

64

East Ridge21,4787594,7123,356

61

Elizabethton14,3754105,8023,095

16

Erwin6,0692641,565991

14

Fairview8,1603551,054968

72

Fayetteville7,2019725,1663,493

13

Franklin70,4851401,405953

22

Gallatin32,7563171,4231,216

7

Germantown39,495781,112655

37

Goodlettsville17,0343464,0862,315

19

Greenbrier6,6943731,4641,132

52

Greeneville15,0115534,3702,749

42

Harriman6,2346424,2352,581

26

Henderson6,5283522,1751,367

15

Hendersonville54,7281791,374990

65

Humboldt8,3919654,7193,367

79

Jackson67,8691,0814,5134,271

44

Jefferson City8,2114754,7982,622

41

Johnson City65,5413693,6112,451

9

Jonesborough5,2021731,307743

71

Kingsport53,0106024,9633,482

28

Kingston5,8435651,6261,463

85

Knoxville184,3628746,5245,277

77

La Follette7,2031,0006,3453,990

30

La Vergne34,4305021,7221,693

75

Lawrenceburg10,4488815,6663,693

57

Lebanon28,9637603,2902,824

43

Lenoir City9,0583974,9902,604

5

Loudon5,7851041,245624

62

Manchester10,2967485,2163,293

23

Martin11,3302562,1541,288

24

Maryville28,1161352,3721,296

32

McKenzie5,6473723,4891,867

60

McMinnville13,6839353,6033,038

90

Memphis654,9221,7415,9887,532

50

Milan7,7576324,4222,703

11

Millersville6,6052881,241914

53

Millington11,0954964,8312,756

66

Morristown29,4016504,9903,391

10

Mount Carmel5,480401821907

21

Mount Juliet29,1042131,8521,207

27

Munford6,0464132,1671,445

55

Murfreesboro119,0055343,3472,782

82

Nashville647,6891,1223,6314,719

87

Newport6,9241,04010,0665,463

4

Nolensville6,295127953555

3

Oakland7,22983954496

47

Paris10,1664235,0072,684

68

Pigeon Forge6,0755936,7493,450

34

Portland12,1115862,7332,073

59

Pulaski7,5906325,1522,980

45

Red Bank11,8725644,3042,674

81

Ripley8,3921,8714,5284,713

63

Rockwood5,4354976,9183,326

74

Savannah7,1345757,1773,651

56

Sevierville16,3215584,4542,816

38

Shelbyville20,8586382,8482,332

1

Signal Mountain8,51712693291

31

Smyrna43,8233082,5531,757

29

Soddy-Daisy13,1702282,6731,476

48

Sparta5,1451946,4722,691

8

Spring Hill33,4721111,013658

76

Springfield16,6961,0004,7683,703

54

Sweetwater5,9246754,6422,770

46

Tullahoma18,8875614,0082,674

69

Union City10,7075606,3323,455

20

White House10,8631932,0531,141

35

Winchester8,5306213,2832,267

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