Most Dangerous Cities in Tennessee: Analyzing Crime Rates and Safety

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Tennessee, a state known for its rich music history and scenic beauty, unfortunately also has a few cities that struggle with crime and safety issues. Analyzing crime data and various studies, we’ve compiled a list of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee. While many of these cities have unique cultural and historical attractions, their high crime rates can overshadow their positive aspects.

Some of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee include Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Savannah. These cities show both higher property and violent crime rates compared to the statewide average, making them hotspots for criminal activity. As you explore the details on each city’s specific crime rates, remember that these places are home to thousands of residents who experience these challenges every day.

Understanding the reasons behind these high crime rates can help determine potential solutions and preventative measures. Factors such as socioeconomic conditions, policing strategies, and community engagement can play crucial roles in reducing crime levels. As we delve into the numbers and rankings, it’s essential to keep in mind that these statistics should not be a condemnation, but rather a call to action for improvement.

Violent Crime Rates in Tennessee

Tennessee is generally considered a safe state, with Southern hospitality and a lower population density contributing to this perception. However, it is important to note that some cities in Tennessee have higher crime rates, making them more dangerous than others.

Memphis is ranked as the most dangerous city in Tennessee. With a population of 651,932, the city has a violent crime rate per 1000 residents of 24.20. In addition, Memphis also has a property crime rate per 1000 residents of 57.71, with a total of 51,856 reported crimes. Memphis is not only the most dangerous city in Tennessee, but it also ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in the United States.

Moving on, Nashville is the second most dangerous city in the state. With 7,641 reported violent crimes, the city’s crime rate is significantly high compared to other cities in Tennessee.

It is essential for residents and visitors to be aware of these crime rates and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety. Some ways to stay safe include being vigilant about personal security, securing property, and staying informed about local crime trends.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Tennessee


Memphis is considered one of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee and has been rated the most dangerous city in the United States in 2021. The city has the second-highest homicide rate of any U.S. metro area, with 237 homicides in 2019 and a significant increase to 327 homicides in 2020.


Nashville, known for its country music scene, is the capital city of Tennessee and ranks high in terms of crime. It is one of the most dangerous cities in the state, with an above-average crime rate compared to other cities.


Chattanooga is another city in Tennessee with a high crime rate. The city struggles with both property and violent crimes, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the state.


Knoxville, in eastern Tennessee, experiences high rates of crime as well, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee. Residents face both property and violent crimes, making it essential to take precautions when living in or visiting the city.


The city of Jackson has a higher property and violent crime rate than the average city in Tennessee. This makes it one of the most dangerous cities in the state and an area where residents should be vigilant.


Cleveland, Tennessee, is another city with a crime rate higher than the state average. The city’s safety concerns make it one of the top ten most dangerous cities in Tennessee.


Dyersburg holds the title of the most dangerous city in Tennessee, according to some sources. With a population of 16,164, it has a crime rate that is 244% higher than the national average. Residents have a 1 in 13 chance of becoming the victim of any type of crime.


Columbia is another city in Tennessee that struggles with crime. With above-average crime rates compared to other cities in the state, it ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee.


Murfreesboro is a city in Tennessee that faces significant crime rates. The city has above-average crime rates compared to other cities, making it one of the top ten most dangerous cities in the state.

La Vergne

La Vergne, Tennessee, has a higher crime rate than the state’s average. This makes it one of the most dangerous cities in Tennessee and a place where residents need to watch out for their safety.

Factors Contributing to Crime Rates

Tennessee, like any other place, has a diverse range of factors contributing to its crime rates. In this section we will discuss some of the key factors impacting crime rates in the state.

Socioeconomic factors play a significant role in influencing crime rates. High poverty levels, lack of education and job opportunities, and limited access to healthcare and other social services can lead to higher crime rates in certain communities. Memphis, for example, has a high poverty rate, which may contribute to its status as the most dangerous city in Tennessee.

Location and geography also influence crime rates. Cities situated along major transit routes, especially those related to drug trafficking, may experience higher crime rates due to an increased presence of criminal activity. Proximity to neighboring states with different laws and regulations can also lead to cross-border crime.

Gang activity is another crucial factor influencing crime rates in some Tennessee cities. Gang violence, drug distribution, and other criminal activities associated with gangs can drive up crime rates and contribute to a sense of danger in affected areas.

Population and urban density can affect crime rates as well. Larger cities with a higher density of people can experience increased crime rates simply due to the sheer number of people living in close proximity to one another. This is evident in cities like Memphis, which has a population of over 600,000 people.

In summary, various factors contribute to crime rates in Tennessee cities. Socioeconomic factors, geographic location, gang activity, and population density all contribute to the crime rates we see in different areas across the state. By understanding these factors and their impact on crime rates, we can begin to address the causes of crime and work towards creating safer communities for all residents.

Crime Reducing Efforts in Tennessee

Tennessee has implemented various strategies to combat crime and improve safety in its cities. One notable initiative is the Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project (TCCRP) by the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs. This project partners with six cities in Tennessee, providing funding and resources to address high crime rates through data-driven planning and targeted efforts.

Crime reduction strategies in Tennessee often emphasize collaboration between law enforcement, community organizations, and residents. This helps create a united approach in addressing the root causes of crime and improving overall safety. Some common crime reduction methods include:

  • Community policing: Building strong relationships between law enforcement officers and residents, encouraging open communication, and facilitating community involvement in addressing crime-related issues.
  • Focused deterrence: Identifying prolific offenders and targeting them with a mix of preventative resources and enforcement actions, aiming to reduce their involvement in criminal activities.
  • Environmental design: Incorporating elements such as improved lighting, well-maintained landscaping, and surveillance cameras in urban areas to deter potential criminals and promote a general sense of safety.

In addition to these initiatives, Tennessee also invests in programs targeting specific types of crime, such as drug addiction and domestic violence. Providing resources and support for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation efforts can help reduce the prevalence of these crimes in the long term.

By implementing a combination of the above strategies, Tennessee is actively working to reduce crime rates in its cities and create a safer living environment for all residents.

Personal Safety Tips for Residents and Visitors

In Tennessee, it is important to prioritize personal safety to minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime. Here are some practical tips for residents and visitors:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings: Always be mindful of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar or crowded areas. Avoid using headphones or looking down at your phone while walking on the street.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels off or unsafe, trust your gut and remove yourself from the situation or seek assistance.
  • Secure your belongings: Lock your car doors and never leave valuables visible inside. In addition, protect your personal items by keeping bags closed and wallets in front pockets.
  • Stay in well-lit areas: Whenever possible, choose well-lighted, populated streets and avoid dark, isolated areas.
  • Practice safe travel habits: Use reputable transportation services and travel with friends or in groups when possible. If you can, share your itinerary and estimated arrival times with someone you trust.
  • Report suspicious behavior or crime: If you see something unusual or if you are a victim of a crime, do not hesitate to report it to the local authorities.

Following these safety tips can help maximize your personal security while visiting or residing in Tennessee. Stay diligent and practice common sense to ensure the best possible experience in the Volunteer State.


In summary, Tennessee has a few cities that exhibit higher crime rates and stand out as more dangerous compared to others. Among these cities, Memphis has consistently been reported as the most dangerous city in the state, with a violent crime rate of 19.0 per 1,000 residents. Other cities with significant crime rates include Nashville, Savannah, Newport, and Knoxville.

Factors contributing to the crime rates in these cities often include economic challenges and drug-related issues. It is essential to remember that crime rates may vary within each city, and certain neighborhoods might experience higher levels of crime than others.

While these cities have higher crime rates, it is important to highlight that many parts of Tennessee also offer safe and secure environments. Initiatives led by law enforcement agencies and local communities can play a significant role in enhancing overall safety, benefiting both residents and visitors alike.

It is crucial to stay informed about the safety levels in a city, especially when considering moving or visiting. Keep in mind that crime rates can change over time, and taking necessary precautions can help minimize the risk of becoming a victim.