2015 Safest Places in North Carolina Study

When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. Our team at ValuePenguin has analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities in North Carolina. These 100 cities ranged in a crime score from 193 to 4,204. Generally, the larger cities had more violent crimes compared to cities with fewer residents. Raleigh, the capital of NC, ranked on the safe side for the largest cities and in the middle overall for North Carolina. For more insight, take a look at the report below:

5 Safest Towns and Cities in North Carolina

These cities have an average crime score of 235, 81% higher than the typical town in North Carolina. All of these towns have populations of less than 20,000, with the exception of Holly Springs. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these 5 towns are the safest places in North Carolina. 

1. Elon, NC

Once called “Elon College”, Elon takes the top spot with a crime score of 193. With only 2 violent crimes reported to the FBI, it is the safest place in North Carolina. Known for its small-town charm and rich history, Elon is located in the Piedmont area of Central North Carolina. Home to Elon University, the basis of the Elon’s economy, Phoenixes and business owners can be proud to live in the safest town in North Carolina. 

Factor Value
Population 9,627
Crime Score 193

2. Pinehurst, NC

Second on the safest places in North Carolina is Pinehurst with a crime score of 208, which is 83% lower than the typical North Carolina town. Located in the Sandhills, this village is known for its historic golf course, the Pinehurst Resort. The Pinehurst Resort has nine famous golf courses, the most popular being Pinehurst No. 2 designed by Donald Ross, and other facilities for residents, golfers, and visitors. The Village of Pinehurst and the Resort have been given National Landmark status.

Factor Value
Population 15,100
Crime Score 208

3. Davidson, NC

Located on Lake Norman, Davidson, another college town, is the third safest place in North Carolina. Surrounding Davidson College, Davidson has a crime score of 230. Although the population was originally dependent on the railroad and shipping, Davidson College has become a large part of the economy and community. Prospective and current college students and parents will be glad to know that it is one of the safest places in North Carolina.

Factor Value
Population 11,657
Crime Score 230

4. Winterville, NC

Winterville takes fourth place with a crime score that is 80% higher than the average North Carolina city. This town of over 9,000 is known for its relaxed and family-oriented community. Winterville is home to Pitt Community College as well as an amphitheater and 4 baseball fields. Its residents will rejoice as it has one of the lowest rates of violent and property crimes, with a crime score of 245. 

Factor Value
Population 9,539
Crime Score 245

5. Holly Springs, NC

Coming fifth on this list is Holly Springs. Originally a hunting ground for the Tuscarora Indians, Holly Springs was developed around fresh water springs. Because the town was destroyed by the Civil War and both World Wars, the town was not completely revived until a sewage plant was built in 1987. Since then, many people have flocked to Holly Springs, bringing today’s total population to over 27,000 - the largest town on this Top 5 list! 

Factor Value
Population 27,557
Crime Score 298

North Carolina's Safest Place by Population

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations smaller than 15,000, midsize cities with populations between 15,000 and 30,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 30,000. Here are our findings:

Map of the Safest Places in North Carolina

This is an interactive map of the 100 cities and towns that were analyzed in our study as well as the 2013 FBI Report. Roll your cursor over each dot for the city name and crime score. 

Full List of North Carolina Cities and Towns in Our Study

Below is the entire list of towns and cities that we included in our “Safest Places in North Carolina” study. The cities are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your town ranks!

Methodology

We sourced our data from 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent data available. The raw data report included violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) from all law enforcement agencies that participate in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program. We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100k, to account for population. We then aggregated a "crime score". In order to calculate this, we weighted violent crime at 90% and property crime at 10%; though property crime is far more prevalent, we believe that the violent crime data points are more relevant when calculating the relative safety of these cities. From there we calculated the logarithm of each towns population and multiplied it by the original (non-log) crime score. We then ranked the cities relative to each other based on their crime scores. Additionally, we only looked at cities/towns in North Carolina that had populations larger than 5,000. We did that because anomalies in the data can often skew things too much for smaller towns, effectively mispresenting their levels of crime relative to other cities.

Can't easily find your town or city above? Here's a list of the 100 cities in alphabetical order to make them easier to locate.

Rank City Population Violent Crime per 100k Property Crime per 100k  Crime Score 
51 Aberdeen  6,760  340  4,512  1,175
68 Albemarle  15,946  439  5,537  1,459
6 Apex  41,356  87  1,298  329
21 Archdale  11,524  69  2,603  576
71 Asheboro  25,665  320  6,413  1,538
55 Ayden  5,065  533  4,087  1,244
8 Black Mountain  8,012  87  1,473  364
17 Boiling Spring Lakes  5,546  180  1,767  498
18 Boone  17,998  222  1,678  513
35 Brevard  7,536  133  3,769  860
75 Burlington  51,401  704  5,134  1,590
33 Butner  7,661  261  3,054  820
40 Carolina Beach  5,937  185  4,312  1,011
31 Carrboro  20,709  256  2,781  761
7 Cary  148,905  69  1,396  334
19 Chapel Hill  58,744  121  2,181  533
53 Charlotte-Mecklenburg  837,638  608  3,675  1,221
36 Cherryville  5,818  309  3,214  890
25 Clayton  17,315  162  2,391  608
82 Clinton  8,774  707  5,733  1,712
30 Concord  82,899  147  3,082  734
15 Cornelius  26,683  157  1,788  483
3 Davidson  11,657  94  772  230
47 Eden  15,282  373  4,136  1,126
58 Elizabeth City  18,395  593  3,930  1,260
1 Elon  9,627  21  883  193
80 Fayetteville  202,524  578  6,078  1,678
14 Fletcher  7,320  96  2,008  478
85 Forest City  7,394  270  7,925  1,801
43 Garner  27,021  192  4,363  1,027
77 Gastonia  73,049  698  5,318  1,622
9 Gibsonville  6,632  45  1,749  386
86 Goldsboro  37,230  760  6,301  1,868
54 Graham  14,270  526  4,085  1,238
56 Greensboro  279,343  519  4,170  1,249
62 Greenville  88,018  631  4,399  1,384
72 Hamlet  6,625  740  4,875  1,567
27 Havelock  20,765  212  2,432  656
98 Henderson  15,309  1,398  9,458  3,010
76 Hendersonville  13,342  397  6,371  1,592
67 Hickory  40,109  416  5,532  1,440
57 High Point  107,261  518  4,207  1,256
5 Holly Springs  27,557  83  1,154  298
81 Hope Mills  15,699  471  6,656  1,708
13 Huntersville  50,162  98  1,880  454
22 Kannapolis  44,150  197  2,093  576
48 Kernersville  23,553  365  4,348  1,162
64 Kill Devil Hills  6,869  611  4,659  1,421
38 King  6,860  190  4,140  980
94 Kinston  21,619  1,263  7,008  2,412
34 Knightdale  13,153  144  3,558  827
92 Laurinburg  15,740  1,347  6,067  2,291
26 Leland  15,535  154  2,523  628
44 Lexington  18,939  449  3,374  1,034
63 Lincolnton  10,686  487  4,988  1,387
100 Lumberton  21,828  1,755  14,000  4,204
89 Marion  7,945  378  8,257  1,953
29 Matthews  29,178  199  2,838  727
61 Mebane  13,129  343  5,431  1,360
16 Mint Hill  24,350  185  1,688  485
45 Mocksville  5,097  216  4,356  1,044
70 Monroe  33,895  602  5,246  1,531
41 Mooresville  33,676  229  4,163  1,016
78 Morehead City  9,159  622  5,819  1,662
32 Morganton  16,852  279  2,914  806
12 Morrisville  21,229  57  1,978  441
59 Mount Airy  10,450  383  5,014  1,309
24 Mount Holly  13,814  261  1,875  583
60 New Bern  30,514  393  5,142  1,343
39 Newton  12,980  408  3,405  1,008
42 Oak Island  7,064  382  3,596  1,025
91 Oxford  8,607  999  6,715  2,142
2 Pinehurst  15,100  53  828  208
96 Pineville  8,027  386  13,243  2,958
37 Raleigh  428,993  392  3,076  929
74 Reidsville  14,286  371  6,447  1,586
84 Roanoke Rapids  15,686  587  6,330  1,735
93 Rockingham  9,480  390  10,169  2,346
90 Rocky Mount  57,021  1,050  5,773  1,995
87 Roxboro  8,310  915  5,848  1,901
83 Salisbury  33,626  779  5,475  1,718
66 Selma  6,217  611  4,713  1,432
50 Shelby  20,261  617  3,361  1,166
46 Siler City  8,243  328  3,943  1,051
79 Smithfield  11,451  620  5,860  1,668
65 Southern Pines  12,846  685  4,367  1,421
10 Stallings  14,544  103  1,636  410
88 Statesville  25,199  742  6,647  1,923
52 Tarboro  11,297  469  4,134  1,202
49 Thomasville  26,866  435  4,087  1,166
95 Wadesboro  5,673  1,410  6,875  2,503
20 Wake Forest  33,852  127  2,165  535
11 Waxhaw  10,481  143  1,536  422
28 Wendell  6,248  208  2,721  711
99 Whiteville  5,466  1,775  11,489  3,718
97 Williamston  5,390  1,187  10,111  2,972
69 Wilmington  110,985  619  5,015  1,498
73 Winston-Salem  235,811  605  5,481  1,580
4 Winterville  9,539  84  891  245
23 Woodfin  6,178  275  1,781  576

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