This Town in Kentucky State Takes the Crown for Most Violent


Kentucky is well-known for its horse racing, bourbon, and scenic surroundings. However, it also has a negative side: it is one of the top 10 states in the US for violent crime rates. Additionally, one Kentucky town—Pikeville—stands out as the most violent of all of them.

What makes Pikeville so violent?

Pikeville is a tiny community in eastern Kentucky that is home to roughly 7,000 people. Pike County, which borders Virginia and West Virginia, has this location as its county seat. The University of Pikeville is a private liberal arts college located in Pikeville.

Pikeville had a violent crime rate of 1,446 per 100,000 persons in 2023, more than four times higher than the 366 national average, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. Murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are examples of violent crimes. In 2023, Pikeville recorded 79 aggravated assaults, 21 rapes, 38 robberies, and 10 homicides.

The high crime rate of Pikeville is caused by a variety of causes, including lack of education, drug misuse, unemployment, and poverty. The poverty rate in Pike County is 27%, more than twice the 11% national average. In February 2024, Pikeville’s unemployment rate stood at 9.8%, while the national average stood at 5.6%. Methamphetamine and opiate misuse are particularly common in the area. With 64 fatalities from drug overdoses in 2023, Pike County had the highest total in Kentucky. In addition, Pikeville’s adult population has a low educational attainment, with only 17% holding a bachelor’s degree or above, compared to the 33% national average.

What are the consequences of Pikeville s violence?

The town and the surrounding area’s economy, health, and quality of life are all negatively impacted by Pikeville’s violence. Many Pikeville residents avoid going out at night or to particular places because they live in constant fear of becoming the victims of crime. The citizens’ physical and mental health are also impacted by the violence; they may experience injuries, stress, anxiety, despair, or PTSD. The area’s economic status and prospects for growth and development are further deteriorated by the violence, which also deters business, tourism, and investment.

What are the solutions to Pikeville s violence?

While there isn’t a simple or fast fix for the violence in Pikeville, there are certain things that can be done to address the underlying issues and lower the crime rate. Among these actions are:

  • Increasing the funding and resources for law enforcement, criminal justice, and victim services, to improve the detection, prevention, and prosecution of violent crimes, and to provide support and protection for the victims.
  • Expanding the access and availability of drug treatment, mental health, and social services, to help the addicts, the mentally ill, and the disadvantaged, and to prevent them from resorting to crime or becoming targets of crime.
  • Enhancing the education and employment opportunities for the residents, especially the youth, to provide them with the skills, knowledge, and motivation to pursue productive and fulfilling careers, and to reduce the poverty and inequality that fuel crime.
  • Promoting the community engagement and involvement of the residents, businesses, schools, churches, and other organizations, to foster a sense of belonging, responsibility, and cooperation, and to create a positive and peaceful environment.


The community of Pikeville in Kentucky has one of the worst rates of violent crime in the nation and the highest rate in the state. A number of things, including lack of education, drug misuse, unemployment, and poverty, contribute to the violence. The town’s and the area’s economy are negatively impacted by the violence, as is their general well-being. A thorough and well-coordinated strategy that tackles the root causes of the violence while offering the locals options and support is required to lessen it. If there is a will and a manner, Pikeville can overcome its violent past and grow into a more secure and wealthy community.

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