Is Kentucky Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On February 22, 2022
Kentucky, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 80 / 100 based on 1 user reviews.

The state of Kentucky is in the United States of America.

It is in the Appalachian Mountains, and it borders Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, West Virginia to the northeast, Indiana to the northwest, Ohio to the north, and Missouri across from it on its southern border.

Kentucky is known for its bluegrass, bourbon, and horse racing.

It has plenty of outdoor as well as indoor activities such as hunting, camping, and fishing as well as lovely architecture.

So a visit to this state can be an enjoyable experience.

But how safe is it?

Some places are perfectly safe while others are more dangerous.

Cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit have very high crime rates while cities in Kentucky don’t.

The crime rate for the entire state of Kentucky is 2.26 per 1,000, which makes it a fairly safe place to be.

There are still certain risks involved in traveling here, so it’s best if you know what they are before you come here just to be on the safer side.

Warnings & Dangers in Kentucky

Overall Risk


Gun Safety Laws - Kentucky is a "shall-issue" state for concealed carry, which means that the sheriff's office shall issue a license to carry firearms to any individual who qualifies on grounds similar to those required in other states. So firearms are allowed, but they must be registered. The most common crime here is actually property crime. So if you're going to visit here, I'd recommend that you don't leave your things unattended in cars or anything like that. If you live here, make sure you have good home security. Other than that, there aren't many warnings about traveling here. Kentucky as a whole has less crime than a typical US city.

Transport & Taxis Risk


When you travel in Kentucky, the main transport concern is road safety. There is little info about taxi dangers. If you plan to travel in the state, you will most likely have to rent a car. Many of the roads and bridges here need repair. As a result, there is a high level of vehicle accidents.

Pickpockets Risk


If you stay vigilant, you can avoid pickpockets. However, if you take public transportation, be aware that that is where most pickpockets tend to operate. If you are a tourist, do not flash your valuables around and make yourself a target. The main type of crime in Kentucky is property theft, so be vigilant of your valuables.

Natural Disasters Risk


Kentucky is a state that is known for flooding due to severe storms. The high storm season is usually between April and May. Kentucky is also known for having a large number of tornadoes. There's an average of 21 tornadoes each year. There's also a moderate amount of danger from landslides and mudslides.

Mugging Risk


Most gun-related crimes tend to happen between people who know one another here or who may be in gangs. However, you may be the victim of mugging if you are not aware of your surroundings if you venture into the wrong neighborhood. And be extra careful if you are taking public transportation with your valuables.

Terrorism Risk


While terrorism can happen anywhere in the United States, Kentucky is not known as the main target.

Scams Risk


Be as vigilant in Kentucky as you would be if you're visiting a place where you don't know anyone. If you appear to be a naive tourist flashing a lot of valuables, this will make you a target of a scam as it would anywhere else. If you are cautious, you should be able to avoid scams. Be extra cautious in big cities such as Louisville, where you might be more of a target - especially when you are out drinking.

Women Travelers Risk


Overall, women travelers can be safe if they remain in areas with other tourists and residents. Practice basic safety precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night.

Tap Water Risk


Stick with bottled water to avoid lead.

Safest Places to Visit in Kentucky

Somerset, Kentucky

Somerset is a small city in Pulaski County, which has the smallest population of any county in Kentucky.

It’s located along the Cumberland River and was incorporated in 1798.

It has several local attractions that people love, including river recreation, fishing, hunting, hiking trails, camping sites, motels and bed-and-breakfasts, and amusement parks.

It rates as the safest city in the state.

Lake Cumberland

This lake is the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River, and it’s surrounded by plenty of forests filled with wildlife like deer, bears, turkeys, raccoons, beavers, rabbits, squirrels.

You won’t have to worry about dangerous people or activities here; you’ll only need to watch out for wildlife.

Families love coming here.

Madisonville, Kentucky

Madisonville is a small city that’s about 60 miles away from Cincinnati.

The population here is just 17,000 and it has plenty of attractions, including horseback riding, camping places, outdoor activities like hiking and hunting, lakes for fishing and water sports, malls, public golf courses, tree-lined streets.


The second-largest city in Kentucky also has a very large population of about 300,000 people.

It offers some great attractions, such as Keeneland Race Track and a fun downtown area.

Places to Avoid in Kentucky

While Kentucky overall is relatively safe, you still need to be cautious.

There are certain places in this state you should avoid altogether.

Bowling Green

This place is one of the most dangerous places in Kentucky with safety being graded as low.

There are high rates of violent crime, property crime, drug use, and alcohol-related crimes here.

Jefferson County

This is also a high-crime area, but the crimes that occur here include robberies, homicides, and aggravated assaults.

Lyon County

This is a low-income area as well as a high-crime one.

The crimes found here involve robbery and property crime.


This is a city with one of the highest crime rates in Kentucky.

Apart from robberies, homicides, and thefts, this area also has high drug-related crimes as well as property crimes.

Warren County

The main risk here is burglaries but there are also some cases of homicides/criminal killings, rapes, aggravated assaults.


This city is next to the Ohio River and it’s very urban with high crime rates, so you must be extremely careful.

You will find many interesting landmarks here though so it might be worth visiting if you take all the necessary precautions beforehand.

Cumberland Falls State Park

If you visit this park, make sure that you don’t wander off the marked trails as there have been reports of people getting lost and injured here.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Kentucky

  1. Road safety. Be aware of the road safety conditions in Kentucky. Double-check the state rules before you start driving on the roads. The roads here often need repair and can be the source of many accidents. Be careful when driving.
  2. Keep first-aid. If you drive, bring a first-aid kit with you and make sure your car is equipped with the necessary tools to handle a break-down on the road.
  3. Hide Valuables. Never flash your valuables to strangers; store them securely in your pockets or purse.
  4. Caution with strangers. Be wary of strangers who approach you with questions, especially if they seem pushy.
  5. Stay away from some areas. Avoid high-crime areas in any city you might visit, such as public parks, under-served areas, sketchy neighborhoods.
  6. Lock Doors. Keep your car doors locked at all times, whether you’re driving or not. Property crime is on the rise.
  7. Listen For Tornado Warnings. Kentucky is in a part of the country that gets tornadoes. Those cyclones move very fast when they land, so be aware of warnings.
  8. Watch out for floods. The state often has floods during the rainy part of the year. So avoid going during that time or be prepared to get to higher ground.
  9. Don’t Wander At Night Alone. At night, avoid wearing flashy clothing and don’t wander around alone; instead, travel with a friend who is more aware of their surroundings.
  10. Careful On The Hills. Always have contact information for local authorities so you can reach them in case of an emergency. Oh, and try not to hike alone on trails that are off the beaten path. The hills of Kentucky are beautiful, but some of those paths aren’t as safe as you might think.

So... How Safe Is Kentucky Really?

Kentucky is generally safe, but make sure you are aware of the places where your safety is at risk before you go.

Also, take some precautions before traveling here to keep yourself as safe as possible.

In terms of crime, the most common crime is property crime, so guard your accommodations and vehicles as much as possible.

While violent crime has increased within the last couple of years, most property crime often occurs at home or by someone that knows the person.

Also, be aware of the risk of natural disasters in Kentucky.

Be prepared to take shelter if you are there during the rainy season or are in an area that is frequently torn by tornadoes.

Be extra vigilant when you are driving on non-interstate highways or rural roads in Kentucky.

Fatal traffic accidents occur at three times the rate on these roads than anywhere else in the United States.

That being said, Kentucky has plenty of attractions that are worth visiting, so it’s not a place you should avoid altogether if you’re interested in seeing the state.

How Does Kentucky Compare?

StateSafety Index

Useful Information



If you are a non-US citizen, you are required to get a tourist visa to visit the United States. The length of your Visa will depend on what country you are from. You must apply at the US Consulate in your country.



The United States uses the u.s. dollar as currency. You can pay by cash, credit card, or debit card. Electronic payments such as Google pay and Apple pay are also more and more common at retailers in the country.



Overall, the weather in Kentucky can be hot and humid. However, winter can be cold in some areas. As mentioned before, the state can get heavy rain in April and May as well.



You can fly to this state from major cities in the U.S. For example, you can take a flight to Louisville from New York City or Chicago. Airports here include Louisville International Airport and Blue Grass Airport.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

It is a good idea to have some type of travel insurance when you visit Kentucky. Of course, General Health travel insurance is important in case you get sick. Also since property crime is the main type of crime here, make sure you have some type of property-liability insurance in case your items get stolen.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Kentucky Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 2° C
Mar 6° C
Apr 12° C
May 17° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 8° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Kentucky - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Bowling Green76
Cave City84
Cumberland Falls83
Harlan Tri-Cities89
La Grange87
St. Matthews82

Where to Next?

1 Review on Kentucky

  1. G
    Glenn Eisert says:


    The shall issue statement about concealed carry permitting is correct. The firearm registration part is false.
    In addition Kentucky is now a constitutional carry
    ( no permit required to concealed carry) and a
    2 Amendment Sanctuary state.

Kentucky Rated 4 / 5 based on 1 user reviews.

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