This Town in Tennessee State Takes the Crown for Most Violent


People may picture large cities like Chicago, Detroit, or Baltimore when they think about violent crime in the US. However, Knoxville, Nashville, or Memphis are not the most violent towns in Tennessee, according to the most recent FBI data. Ridgely is a little town in the northwest of the state with fewer than 3,000 residents.

What makes Ridgely so violent?

As of 2020, the population of Ridgely, a town in Lake County, Tennessee, was 2,912. With 2,566 violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents, it is a rate more than ten times higher than the 250 violent crimes committed nationwide. This indicates that in 2020, one in every 39 Ridgely residents became a victim of a violent crime, such as a robbery, assault, rape, or murder.

Although the exact reasons for Ridgely’s high crime rate are unknown, several potential possibilities include:

Poverty: The rate of poverty in Ridgely is 35.7%, more than twice the state average of 15.3%. Because poverty causes stress, desperation, and a lack of options, it is frequently associated with criminal activity.

Drugs: Ridgely lies close to the borders of Kentucky and Missouri, two states that are significant producers of illegal substances like heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. Addiction and drug trafficking can increase violence because users and dealers vie for resources, supply, and territory.

Gangs: The Vice Lords, the Crips, and the Gangster Disciples are just a few of the gangs who call Ridgely home. Gangs engage in a variety of illegal activities, including the sale of drugs, robberies, extortions, and murder. In addition, gangs are known for their rivalries and disagreements, which often turn violent and result in shootings.

Law enforcement: With just six policemen to cover the entire town, Ridgely’s police department is understaffed and of modest size. This implies that the police are not as equipped as they could be to prevent, respond to, and look into crimes. Additionally, it indicates a lack of confidence and trust among the locals in the police, which may lessen their readiness to assist and report crimes.

How does Ridgely compare to other towns in Tennessee?

There are other towns in Tennessee with higher rates of crime than Ridgely. Ten additional communities in the state had violent crime rates over 1,000 per 100,000 residents, according to FBI data. The following list of Tennessee’s five most dangerous towns includes information on population and crime rate:


Town Population Violent Crime Rate
Ridgely 2,912 2,566
Bolivar 5,066 1,760
Ripley 8,109 1,736
Covington 8,870 1,652
Brownsville 9,592 1,620

As you can see, there are less than 10,000 people living in the majority of these little, rural villages. This disproves the widespread belief that crime is more common in cities. Indeed, some research has shown that violent crime rates are greater in rural than in metropolitan regions, particularly when it comes to crimes like rape and domestic abuse.

What can be done to reduce violence in Ridgely?

Since it is necessary to address the underlying social, economic, and cultural causes that contribute to crime, reducing violence in Ridgely is not a simple undertaking. Nonetheless, here are a few potential fixes:

Expanding economic chances: The people of Ridgely can escape poverty and improve their quality of life if additional employment, training programs, and educational opportunities are made available to them. This can also strengthen their ties to the community and lessen their engagement in illicit activities.

Improving drug prevention and treatment: Reducing Ridgely’s drug supply and demand can help stop the violence brought on by drug addiction and trafficking. More access to resources and support for drug users seeking to stop using drugs or get well can help achieve this goal, as can stepping up the enforcement and punishment of drug dealers.

Increasing community policing: Ridgely’s safety and security may be enhanced by bettering ties and collaboration between the community and the police. This can be achieved by expanding the diversity and quantity of police personnel in addition to involving the community in efforts aimed at preventing crime and solving problems.

Supporting witnesses and victims: Giving witnesses and victims of violent crimes greater aid and safety can aid in their recovery from their trauma. In addition to increasing accountability and deterring crime, this may also motivate them to come forward with information and provide testimony against the offenders.


Tennessee’s Ridgely town has one of the worst rates of violent crime in the nation and the highest in the state. Although the causes of Ridgely’s violence are varied and complicated, they include gangs, narcotics, poverty, and the police. The government, the police, the community, and other stakeholders must work together in a holistic manner to eliminate violence in Ridgely. Despite being a small town, Ridgely needs significant development.

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