In real estate, there are three words that really matter–Location. Location. Location.
But what exactly does location mean, and why is it so important? Location isn't just about the street the property is located on, although that plays a major role. The location also includes; the town, the proximity the home is to various amenities, and how safe the neighborhood is. Why is this so important? You can change the color of your house, update the kitchen, and add an extra bathroom. But you can't change the location of the home. Safety is a key piece to this puzzle, and we've compiled a list of the 10 safest places to live in Tennessee.
What Are The Different Types Of Crime That Are Tracked?
Before we dive into the list of safest places to live in Tennessee, let's first define what safety means, and how a city or town tracks its safety level. There are two main crime statistics that are tracked; violent crimes and property crimes. A key thing to note is that crime rates are benchmarked per 1,000 residents. For example, if 'the violent crime rate in a city is 2 per 1,000.' That simply means, on average, 2 in every 1,000 people are victims of a violent crime.
According to the FBI, violent crimes are "composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as those offenses which involve a threat of force." A town with a low violent crime rate will have fewer reported violent crimes per year.
The FBI defines property crimes as the following offenses; "burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson." A town with a low property crime rate will have fewer instances of these crimes being reported per year.
Brentwood Tennessee which happens to be our pick for the top Nashville suburb in 2021 is located just 15 minutes south of Music City. Everything about Brentwood screams luxury, especially the high-end homes and mansions. From the small-town feel to their award-winning public school system, families from all over want to live here! Undoubtedly, this suburb is often considered one of the safest places to live in all of Tennessee.
It should be no surprise that the safety and luxury Brentwood offers come at a premium. The median income is among the highest in the state and the median home price can cost you over $750,000. The population of this town is just over 42,000 residents, and the crime rates are low!
The violent crime rate per 1,000 is just 0.89, which is well below Tennessee's average of 5.95! Not only is the violent crime rate low, but the property crime rate is also well below the national median. Coming in at 8.74 per 1,000 residents, it's clear this gorgeous town surely ranks as one of the safest places to live in Tennessee.
The town's own police department does a great job and law enforcement is present in the public schools, patrolling the downtown area, and will even attend sporting events. This suburb deserves its reputation as one of Tennessee's safest cities.
Located north of Memphis Tennessee is the town of Atoka. The town's population is just shy of 10,000 residents, with a house median income of roughly $90,000. Most residents own their homes and the average home price is an affordable $231k.
According to an FBI report, this town is considered one of Tennessee's safest cities. The chances of being a victim of a violent crime are low, coming in at 96.7 per capita.
A nonviolent crime, such as vehicle theft or property damage, is a rare occurrence in this small town. On the crime index scale, property crime in Atoka received a score of 17.4, whereas the state of Tennessee received a score of 42.8. Remember, the lower the score, the better.
Situated on Old Hickory lake is the gorgeous family orientated community of Hendersonville. This town is located just 20 miles north of Nashville and is considered one of Tennessee's safest cities. The town's population is roughly 57,000 people. Residents of Hendersonville not only enjoy an endless amount of water activities, but they also enjoy phenomenal schools and a gorgeous downtown.
The cost of living is higher here, but you pay for what you get. The crime data suggests the residents of this town appreciate a great deal of safety with their day to day lives. Homes in Hendersonville typically cost between $350,000 - $650,000.
Data from 2020 suggests the violent crime rate here is nearly half the national U.S. average! And property crime is also well below the national average. Law enforcement patrols 500 miles of roadway and the 40+ square miles that make up the lakeside town. The Hendersonville police department has over 90 patrol vehicles as well.
South of Knoxville is the town of Maryville Tennessee located in Blount County. The population of this town is roughly 24,000 residents. Most of the residents that live in this town commute to Knoxville for work and the median home cost is below the USA average. This goes to show that you don't need to break the bank in order to live in a safe town.
Crimes per 1,000 are certainly low by any standard. Violent and property crimes are well below the U.S. average. On a scale from 1 (low crime) to 100 (high crime), data from a 2020 study suggests Marville's violent crime is 12.1 whereas 22.7 is common in most small towns across the nation.
The property crime rate was 34.9. Although this is higher than violent crimes, it is still below the national average making it one of the safest cities in Tennessee.
If you're traveling on route 41A, you'll come across Nolensville Tennessee south of Nashville. The town has a beautiful southern charm feel to it and has a total population of roughly 8,500 residents. The median home price is on the higher end and will cost a family between $500,000 and $650,000 to purchase a house in Nolensville. Between the sense of security the town provides, low crime rates, and a highly rated public school system, it's no wonder why families love this town.
The crime rate per 1,000 residents is on the low end. The violent crime rate is just 1.87 per 1,000 residents. Although you should always be cautious no matter where you live, law enforcement does a great job keeping this Nashville suburb safe. On the crime index scale (1-100), Nolensville scored 21.1 for property crime rate - which is 14.3 points lower than the national standard. Without question, this is one of the safest cities in Tennessee.
Another suburb south of Music City that makes our list of the safest places to live in Tennessee is Spring Hill. This town has a population just shy of 40,000 citizens and is conveniently located off of route 31, sandwiched between Franklin and Columbia. Spring Hill is such a safe city that it's #2 on our list of best places for families to live in Tennessee!
The violent crime is 69.2 per the 40,000 citizens or 1.72 per 1,000. To put that in perspective, the nation's typical score is 4.49 per 1,000.
The population is rising in Spring Hill due to its great school district and favorable cost of living. Spring Hill ranked #2 on our 2021 list of best places to raise a family in Tennessee. The level of safety this suburb brings is attracting more residents, but you can still get a nice place to call home in Spring Hill between $350,000 and $550,000.
In the northeast corner of Tennessee is Church Hill, a town of roughly 6,700 people. This area is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. The tax rate, location, and low crime are causing this area to see a surge in home values.
Citizens of Chuch Hill not only appreciate the natural beauty, but also the safety of the town. Per 1,000, the violent crime rate is 1.8. That's incredibly low!
The property crime rate is 4.2 per 1,000. Even though Chuch Hill is a small town, it has its own law enforcement which helps keep its reputation as one of Tennessee's safest cities.
Directly outside of Chattanooga, and to the west of Soddy Daisy, is Signal mountain, a town known for its hiking trails and serene lakes. There are less than 9,000 residents of the town, and beauty isn't the only thing this area has going for it! The public school system is well above the state average, and most folks own their own home. Families love it here, and it's no secret why.
The town's community certainly appreciates how safe Signal Mountain is. The combined violent crime rate and the property crime rate is under 5 per 1,000! In isolation, the violent crime rate is 0.46 per 1,000, and the property crime rate is 4.53. Without a doubt, those numbers make this area one of the safest cities in Tennessee.
Kingston Springs is yet another safe suburb located just outside of the infamous Music City. The town is made up of roughly 2,800 citizens. It takes less than 30 minutes to get to Downtown Nashville from Kingston Springs, making this a perfect commuting town.
This picturesque community has a ton of natural beauty. Located on the Harpeth River, you will find plenty of outdoor activities to do with your family in the summer months. The school system is strong, and the town has minimal violent and property crimes. Kingston Springs isn't just a great city for families, it also ranks as one of the top places to retire in Tennessee. Homes in Kingston Springs typically cost between $300,000 - $550,000 and many homes are located on at least an acre of land.
If living in a small rural town is more your speed, be sure to consider moving to Watertown Tennessee. This town has a population of roughly 1,700 people. You're far enough outside of the closest city, Lebanon, which allows residents of Watertown to buy homes situated on a large piece of land without breaking the bank. But you're close enough to the city where you can still enjoy a date night. Homes in Watertown typically cost anywhere from $275,000 to $1,000,000 depending on how much land the property includes.
According to areavibes.com, the violent crime rate, and the property crime rate, is well below the national average. Residents in Watertown enjoy small-town country living, with just one town center where you'll find all your necessities.
Other honorable mentions
We wanted to limit this list to just 10, but there are other great cities that are worth mentioning. Oak Ridge, Franklin, Collegedale, and Germantown are all considered desirable places to live within Tennessee and provide a sense of comfort and security.
Is Tennessee A Safe State?
Many people are proud to call Tennessee home. This is for good reason. The state has a favorable tax system, a mild climate, and is in a convenient location. Not only that, for the most part, this state is a safe place to live! Of course, there are some parts of the state that inflate the overall crime rate, and we'll touch on that below.
The safest area of Tennessee is located in the suburbs just outside of Nashville. Many of the suburbs listed above are all within 40 minutes of Nashville. Our pick for the safest city in Tennessee is Brentwood!
What States Are Considered The Safest In The U.S.?
The North East is well known for being the safest part of the country. Maine is the safest state, but Vermont is a close second. New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are all in the top 10 safest states in America.
How Does Nashville Compare To Similar Cities?
How does Nashville stack up against other well-known cities? Overall, Nashville ranks safer than Atlanta from both a property and violent crime rate. However, Austin, Denver, and Charlotte all have a slight safety advantage.
What Are The Top 10 Safest Cities In The U.S.?
According to safe wise, the top 10 safest cities in America are:
Broadview Heights, Ohio
Oakland Township, Michigan
Bergenfield, New Jersey
New Castle Town, New York
Bedford Town, New York
Bernards Township, New Jersey
What Cities In Tennessee Are The Least Safe?
Now that we covered what are the safest areas in Tennessee, let's review the more dangerous areas.
Johnson City has a crime rate of 41 per 1000, making it one of the highest crime rates in America compared to other communities of the same size. Property crime is also common, impacting nearly one person per every 24!
A 2020 study suggested Memphis Tennessee was ranked the most dangerous city in the country! The crime rate is 81 per 1,000 residents.
Dyersburg has one of the highest crime rates in Tennessee and compared to cities of the same size across the country, its safety rating isn't looking good. The crime rate is 67 per 1,000 - well above the national median.
The crime rate for the Nashville Metro is 54 per 1,000. Unfortunately, despite the wonderful music and food culture this city has to offer, crime does not stay away. That said, not all neighborhoods in the Nashville metro have a high crime rate. Neighborhoods such as Green Hills, Sylvan Park, or Oak Hill are safe. The overall Nashville crime rate gets dragged down by up-and-coming neighborhoods such as North Nashville, Antioch, or parts of East Nashville.
Located on the western side of the state is Jackson Tennessee. This city has a population of roughly 70,000 citizens. The crime rate is 47 per 1,000 - which is high when compared to all communities of similar sizes.
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