Tennessee got its nickname, "The Volunteer State," because of all the volunteer soldiers the state contributed to the War of 1812. More than 200 years later, there's a different type of conflict being waged all across the U.S. on a daily basis: the war on crime.
Some places in the country are bigger hotspots than others in this battle, on the state and city levels. In recent weeks, the Movoto Real Estate Blog has been analyzing crime across the nation in order to rank which places in each state are the safest-and which ones should be avoided for your own safety. Today, we're looking at Tennessee.
According to our research, the safest place in The Volunteer State is Germantown, TN. This low-crime Deutsch delight of a town leads a top 10 safest places list that includes:
1. City of Germantown
2. City of Spring Hill
3. City of Franklin
4. City of Bartlett
5. Town of Collierville
6. City of Mt. Juliet
7. City of Hendersonville
8. City of White House
9. City of Maryville
10. Town of Smyrna
You're probably wondering just how Germantown managed to top this list, not to mention where some of the more prominent places in the state ranked. We'll cover all of that, plus the methodology behind our ranking and details on how each of our top 10 stacked up, below.
How We Created This Ranking
Crime is an unfortunate reality wherever you go in the U.S. Thankfully, someone is keeping tabs on all of it so that people like us can help you make a more informed decision on where to visit-or move-and where to avoid. That someone is the FBI, and we used its 2012 crime data report as the basis for our ranking.
We looked up several points of data for the 50 places in Tennessee with populations greater than 10,000 people. These were:
- Property crimes per capita (burglaries, thefts, and motor vehicle thefts)
- Violent crimes per capita (murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults)
- The chances of being the victim of a crime
Once we had the data, we used it to rank each city in these three criteria on a scale of one to 50, with one being the best. Then, we weighted the scores so that violent crimes made up 50 percent of the total score, property crimes made up 30 percent, and the odds of being a crime victim made up 20 percent. These three rankings were averaged together into one overall score, with the lowest score being our safest place in Tennessee.
You can find a full ranking of all 50 places at the end of this post. Now, let's take a look at how the top 10 of those fared when we played detective.
Source: Flickr user duluoz cats
Sie werden gut schlafen heute Nacht. That's German for "you'll sleep well tonight," because in this suburb of Memphis, TN-a city we'll get to in a bit-your mind will be at ease as your head hits the pillow, knowing that there were only 654 crimes here in 2012 for 39,484 residents. Overall, that's a 1 in 60 chance of being a crime victim, the third-best odds of any place we looked at.
Germantown had the best score for violent crimes overall, with no murders reported of the 59 total. The city was also best overall when it came to property crimes, with thefts being the most prevalent of those at a total of 307 out of 382. With numbers like those, it's no surprise Germantown ranked among our best places in Tennessee.
2. Spring Hill
Source: City of Spring Hill
With the second-lowest total number of crimes in out top 10 and the lowest odds of being the victim of a crime, Spring Hill sounds like a great place to go outside and smell the flowers. This is despite the city's rapid growth from a mere 7,715 residents in 2000 to nearly 30,000 today.
Spring Hill had just 441 total crimes to report in 2012 and a 1 in 68 odds of a crime befalling one of its residents. Like Germantown, this city reported no murders in the year we looked at. It placed fourth-safest overall in terms of violent crimes and safest overall for property crimes. Automobile owners will be happy to hear that only five motor vehicles were stolen there in 2012.
Source: Flickr user Robert S. Donovan
This suburb of Nashville is the highest-ranked place on our list to have reported a murder in 2012, but despite this Franklin was actually the 10th-safest place overall in terms of violent crimes (of which it had 93, mostly aggravated assaults). Speaking of totals, Franklin reported 1,126 crimes overall, the largest amount in our top 10-but not proportionally when you consider that, at 64,848 residents, it's also the largest of our 10 safest places.
The chances that residents would fall victim to a crime in 2012 in Franklin stood at 1 in 58. That was low enough for an eighth-place finish in that criterion, while for property crimes it ranked fourth with 1,033 reported.
Source: City of Bartlett
Another of our overall Tennessee top spots (No. 3, in fact), Bartlett posted a total number of crimes in 2012 nearly twice that of Germantown. Still, these figures are extremely low when compared to the rest of the state. Bartlett saw a total of 910 crimes; 132 violent and 778 property. This figure thankfully included no murders.
The odds of being a victim of crime in Bartlett stood at 1 in 61. The city ranked seventh-safest out of 50 overall for violent crimes per capita and second-safest for property crimes.
Source: City of Collierville
Collierville managed to just make it onto the aforementioned list of best places in Tennessee, but ended up faring much better when looked at purely in terms of crime. Its best performance this time was ranking as the third-safest place in the state when it came to violent crime. Out of its total of 964 crimes in 2012, 77 were violent (no murders were among them).
As for property crimes, it reported 887 of those, good enough for a 10th-safest finish for that criterion. The odds of being a crime victim in Collierville in 2012 were 1 in 46.
6. Mt. Juliet
Source: WIkimedia user Ichabod
This fast-growing Nashville suburb is another spot in Tennessee that's managing to keep its crime rate down while expanding at a rapid pace. Home to more than 24,000 people, the city reported 504 total crimes in 2012. Of those, 55 were violent (including one murder) and 449 were property related.
Mt. Juliet ranked sixth-safest in our analysis in terms of violent crime and eighth when it came to property crime. Its 1 in 48 odds of being the victim of a crime were good enough to earn it a 10th-place finish in that category.
Source: City of Hendersonville
Hendersonville-even the name just sounds idyllic. We can't argue that adjective when you consider that, even with more than 50,000 residents, the city saw no murders in 2012. In fact, just 127 of its 1,068 reported crimes were violent. That was good enough for the city to rank ninth-safest for violent crime overall.
When it came to property crimes, Hendersonville reported a total of 941, which made it sixth-safest for that criterion. The chance of being the victim of crime there was 1 in 49.
8. White House
Source: Flickr user SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent)
The White House most people are familiar with has the Secret Service to keep it safe. This White House has-from the data, at least-a pretty darn good police force. The smallest place in our top 10, this Nashville suburb reported 229 crimes in 2012, 25 of which were violent (and none of which were murders). That translated to it being ranked as the eighth-safest place we looked at in terms of violent crimes (remember, this is on a per capita basis).
Property crime in White House earned it ninth-safest status for that criterion, with 182 of its 204 crimes of this type being thefts. There was a 1 in 46 chance of being the victim of crime in White House for 2012.
Source: Flickr user SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent)
Often singled out for its high quality of life, Knoxville, TN suburb Maryville can attribute a good chunk of this to its safety. With nearly 28,000 residents, the city saw 912 crimes in 2012, which translated to a 1 in 31 chance of being the victim of one. That earned Maryville a spot as the 14th-safest place for this criterion.
Of its total crimes, 59 were violent (no murders) and 853 were property related, making it the fifth- and 16th-safest place overall for those categories, respectively. Plus, it has the added benefit of being home to NBA great-and little-known martial arts superhero-Shaquille O'Neal, which has to make criminals think twice before committing their illicit acts.
Source: Town of Smyrna
Smyrna has the distinction of not just being a safe place for people, but also for the environment. That's because it's the U.S. assembly location for Nissan's all-electric car, the Leaf. While trees are being saved, Smyrna unfortunately has the distinction of being the only city in our top 10 to report more than one murder in 2012; it had two. Still, its 106 violent crimes for just over 41,000 residents was good enough to make it the 11th-safest place we looked at for that criterion.
The other 987 of the 1,093 total crimes committed in Smyrna in 2012 were property related, which resulted in the city ranking 11th-safest for property crime, too. In fact, its 1 in 18 odds of being the victim of a crime earned it an 11th-place finish for that criterion, too.
Stay Safe, Tennesseans
Now that you've read about the most safe spots in the great state of Tennessee, it's time to take a look at a few of the least safe above 10,000 residents. Chief among those was the absolute least safe place overall, Crossville, TN. With 1,282 crimes for only 10,993 people, it had a 1 in 9 chance of being the victim of one of those crimes in 2012. Fortunately, none of them were murders.
The five least safe places in Tennessee we studied, in descending order, were: Knoxville, TN, Dyersburg, TN, Memphis, TN, Athens, TN, and Crossville, TN.