This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Kentucky.

Kentucky, known for its scenic landscapes, bourbon distilleries, and horse racing, is facing serious crime problems in some of its cities. According to the latest FBI data, one city in particular stands out with the highest murder rate in the state and one of the highest in the nation. That city is Shively, a suburb of Louisville with a population of about 15,000 people.

Shively: The Murder Capital of Kentucky

Shively has a murder rate of 57.2 per 100,000 residents, which is more than 11 times higher than the national average of 5.0. In 2020, the city reported nine murders, ranking third in the state in terms of the total number of homicides. Shively also has high rates of other violent crimes, such as rape, robbery, and assault.

The reasons behind Shively’s high murder rate are complex and multifaceted. Some of the factors that may contribute to the violence include poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, gang activity, domestic disputes, and easy access to firearms. Shively’s police chief, Kevin Higdon, said that most of the murders are not random, but rather involve people who know each other or have some kind of conflict.

Louisville Metro: The State’s Murder Hotspot

Shively is not the only city in Kentucky that is struggling with crime. Louisville Metro, the largest city in the state and the county seat of Jefferson County, which includes Shively, has also seen a surge in murders in recent years. In 2020, Louisville Metro recorded 192 homicides, the highest number in its history and a 69% increase from 2019. Louisville Metro’s murder rate was 28.3 per 100,000 residents, the second-highest in the state after Shively.

Louisville Metro’s violence has been fueled by several factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, police reform, and racial tensions. The city has also been the epicenter of the protests over the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by police officers in her apartment in March 2020. The case sparked national outrage and demands for justice, but also led to clashes between protesters and law enforcement, as well as increased gun violence in some neighborhoods.

Other Cities Raising Concerns

Shively and Louisville Metro are not the only cities in Kentucky that are grappling with elevated murder rates. Several other cities, such as Hopkinsville, Radcliff, Lebanon, and Glasgow, have also reported higher than average homicide rates, contributing to the overall crime landscape in the state.

Tackling the Challenge

Despite these alarming statistics, it is important to acknowledge that most places in Kentucky remain relatively safe. Out of 76 cities, only 29 reported murders to the FBI, leaving 47 places without any recorded homicides. Moreover, some cities, such as Lexington, Bowling Green, and Covington, have seen a decrease in their murder rates from 2019 to 2020.

However, this does not mean that the state can afford to ignore the issue of violence and crime. The state and local authorities, as well as the communities and civil society, need to work together to address the root causes of the problem and implement effective solutions. Some of the possible strategies include:

  • Investing in social and economic development, especially in areas with high poverty and unemployment rates.
  • Providing better access to mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as prevention and education programs.
  • Strengthening community policing and trust between the police and the public, as well as ensuring accountability and transparency in law enforcement.
  • Enhancing gun safety and regulation, as well as cracking down on illegal firearms trafficking and possession.
  • Promoting a culture of peace and nonviolence, as well as fostering dialogue and reconciliation among different groups and stakeholders.

By taking these steps, Kentucky can hope to reduce the violence and crime that plague some of its cities and improve the quality of life and safety of its residents.


Kentucky is a state with many attractions and charms, but also with some serious challenges in terms of violence and crime. One city, Shively, has been named the murder capital of Kentucky, with a murder rate that is more than 11 times higher than the national average. Shively is not alone, as other cities, such as Louisville Metro, have also seen a spike in homicides in recent years. The state and local authorities, as well as the communities and civil society, need to work together to address the root causes of the problem and implement effective solutions. By doing so, Kentucky can hope to restore peace and security to its cities and its people.

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