In the business I'm in, I meet and talk to a great many people. And when you're in it for more than three decades, you rack up a lot of conversations. Among those topics that stand out are those that come up when I speak with folks who aren't originally from Owensboro.

I've lost count of how many residents of Owensboro and Daviess County have told me they moved here from a big city in order to get away from crime, among other things. But that's the big one.

Hopefully, a list I found won't be too disheartening for those folks, because their chosen city--and my hometown--appears very high ON that list. Since it's a tally of the most dangerous cities in Kentucky, I can see where they might be.

The think tank at Road Snacks consulted an entity called Saturday Night Science to determine the results you are about to see.  For obvious reasons, it calls its criteria the four Ts: transparent methodology, trusted sources, tested with data, and timely. Here's what they found:

10. Florence

Part of the Cincinnati metro, Florence is famous for that big "Florence, Y'all" water tower that is so charming and welcoming. That seems to run counter to this town's placement on this list, doesn't it?

Population: 32,341
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 194 (22nd most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,183 (Third most dangerous)
Murders: 0

On a positive note...

Trip Advisor says this is the best thing to do in Florence. I'd want to "escape" from these statistics myself.

9. Paducah

I really enjoy Paducah. I even wrote about it last year. I really dig that riverfront. So it's a shame to see it on this list.

Population: 26,050
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 268 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,032 (13th most dangerous)
Murders: 6

On a positive note...

I've never been to Paducah when its most popular attraction is open. I'm not sure how that always happens, but it does. I'll need to be more deliberate with future visits.

8. Newport

A second incorporated suburb in the Cincinnati metropolitan area makes an appearance. I can't really comment; with the exception of a bathroom break one time, I've only ever driven through Newport. Let's see why it's here:

Population: 14,017
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 292 (Eighth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,982 (14th most dangerous)
Murders: 1

On a positive note...

Hmmm, could this be considered an upset? I was all prepared to see the Newport Aquarium at the top of Trip Advisor's "best things to do in Newport" list, but no. The new Riff Distillery takes the crown. Well, we ARE talking bourbon, and this IS Kentucky.

7. Oak Grove

A town of just under 8,000 located next to the Fort Campbell army base finishes at lucky number seven.

Population: 7,810
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 294 (Sixth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,791 (15th most dangerous)
Murders: 3

On a positive note...

Relaxing in a luxurious hotel and spending time in the casino at Oak Grove Gaming & Racing might be the best way to take your mind off those dreary statistics. Enough Trip Advisor users seem to agree.

6. Bowling Green

Alas, one of my favorite cities on Earth also makes the cut. I graduated from Western Kentucky University and don't remember anything particularly alarming about BG while I was there.

Population: 74,427
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 284 (Ninth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,817 (Fourth most dangerous)
Murders: 4

On a positive note...

It's appropriate that a cave is Trip Advisor's top attraction in the largest city in Kentucky Cave Country. I actually visited Lost River Cave (minus the boat) with several friends back in 1993, long before it became a commercial venture.

5. Shively

Outside of a nickname my grandmother used to give the stretch of U.S. 60 that runs through Shively, I don't have too many memories or very much knowledge oft this Louisville suburb. She used to call the road "Dixie Die-way." It IS known as Dixie Highway, but the number of vehicular accidents earned it that nickname back in the day when she lived there. Maybe that nickname still exists. Either way, traffic issues have nothing to do with THESE numbers.

Population: 15,438
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 485 (Second most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,096 (11th most dangerous)
Murders: 5

On a positive note...

The Shively list from Trip Advisor isn't exactly like the others, but we did get this one from the popular travel site. That looks like an absolute blast. I always loved trampolines when I was a kid. I'm not sure how I'd navigate one today, but I'd certainly be willing to try.

4. Middlesboro

I've visited Middlesboro one time, and I was duly impressed. This beautiful small town on the Virginia border should NOT be ranked this highly (or maybe lowly?) on this list.

Population: 9,213
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 293 (Seventh most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,636 (Sixth most dangerous)
Murders: 0

On a positive note...

This tops the list for Middlesboro, but make sure you check out the rest of the entries from Trip Advisor. We're talking about one of the most beautiful parts of Kentucky, and there's no shortage of ways to keep your nose clean, despite those stats above.

3. Owensboro

Alas Part's my hometown way up at number three. But it's such a NICE place. Even when my dad was deputy coroner, Owensboro and Daviess County never gave off THIS vibe:

Population: 59,839
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 369 (Fourth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,459 (Seventh most dangerous)
Murders: 3

On a positive note...

When you tour Green River Distillery, you won't get the condensed version. Not just a distillery, Green River is an amazing event space as well and a proud member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. But don't miss out on the other attractions listed at Trip Advisor. By the way, the updated population figure for Owensboro is 60,019.

2. Louisville

Who thought Kentucky's largest city would top this list? Yeah, me too. Well, we were wrong. First, let's do this:

Population: 678,236
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 981 (Most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,309 (Ninth most dangerous)
Murders: 192

Now, on a positive note...

There are a lot of options if you were guessing which attraction Trip Advisor would have at the top. Ironically, what's BENEATH Louisville towers ABOVE the rest.

1. Hopkinsville

Hoptown nabs the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous Kentucky city on this particular list, but I've found it to be a rather quiet town. There's also a cool museum in downtown Hopkinsville that features, among many other things, fascinating presentations about world-renowned clairvoyant and author Edgar Cayce, who was born there.

Population: 30,528
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 370 (Third most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,711 (Fifth most dangerous)
Murders: 5

On a positive note...

So...of the ten most dangerous cities in Kentucky, three of them feature distilleries that top lists of best things to do in those respective cities. To be honest, I've never heard of the Casey Jones Distillery, but clearly I'm missing.


These lists fluctuate from year to year, so my fingers are crossed that we don't find Owensboro on this list in 2025. Come on...only LOUISVILLE and HOPKINSVILLE are more dangerous?

I'm here for the upgrade.

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