This City in Kentucky Was Just Named One of the “Murder Capital” in the Entire Country

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.

Nevertheless, the high crime rates in cities like Shively and Louisville Metro highlight the urgent need for effective crime prevention strategies and robust social support systems. Some of the possible solutions include increasing police presence and accountability, enhancing community engagement and trust, providing more resources and opportunities for education, employment, and health care, addressing mental health and substance abuse issues, and reducing illegal gun trafficking and possession .


While Shively claims the title of the murder capital of Kentucky due to its high murder rate per capita, Louisville Metro stands out for having the highest number of murders. These cities, along with others such as Hopkinsville, Radcliff, Lebanon, and Glasgow, underscore the pressing need to address crime in the state. By implementing comprehensive and collaborative approaches, Kentucky can hope to reduce the violence and improve the quality of life for its residents.

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