This Town in Kentucky State Takes the Crown for Most Violent

Kentucky is a state known for its natural beauty, bourbon, and horse racing. But it also has a dark side: it ranks among the top 10 states with the highest violent crime rates in the US. And within Kentucky, there is one town that stands out as the most violent of them all: Pikeville.

What makes Pikeville so violent?

Pikeville is a small town in eastern Kentucky, with a population of about 7,000 people. It is the county seat of Pike County, which borders West Virginia and Virginia. Pikeville is also the home of the University of Pikeville, a private liberal arts college.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Pikeville had a violent crime rate of 1,446 per 100,000 residents in 2023, which is more than four times the national average of 366. Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Pikeville reported 10 murders, 21 rapes, 38 robberies, and 79 aggravated assaults in 2023.

There are many factors that contribute to Pikeville’s high crime rate, such as poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and lack of education. Pike County has a poverty rate of 27%, which is more than double the national average of 11%. The unemployment rate in Pikeville was 9.8% in February 2024, compared to the national average of 5.6%. Drug abuse is also rampant in the area, especially opioids and methamphetamine. Pike County had the highest number of drug overdose deaths in Kentucky in 2023, with 64 fatalities. The education level in Pikeville is also low, with only 17% of adults having a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national average of 33%.

What are the consequences of Pikeville’s violence?

Pikeville’s violence has a negative impact on the quality of life, health, and economy of the town and the region. Residents of Pikeville live in fear of becoming victims of crime, and many avoid going out at night or to certain areas. The violence also affects the mental and physical health of the residents, who may suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or injuries. The violence also discourages tourism, business, and investment in the area, which further worsens the economic situation and the opportunities for growth and development.

What are the solutions to Pikeville’s violence?

There is no easy or quick solution to Pikeville’s violence, but there are some possible steps that can be taken to address the root causes and reduce the crime rate. Some of these steps 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.


Pikeville is a town in Kentucky that has the highest violent crime rate in the state, and one of the highest in the country. The violence is caused by a combination of factors, such as poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, and lack of education. The violence has a detrimental effect on the well-being, health, and economy of the town and the region. To reduce the violence, there is a need for a comprehensive and coordinated approach that addresses the underlying issues and provides support and opportunities for the residents. Pikeville can overcome its violence and become a safer and more prosperous place, if there is a will and a way.

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