by Susan Gulliford
The 4.9 million people who call South Carolina home care about safety. The team at ValuePenguin analyzed the FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in The Palmetto State. These 66 communities had crime scores that range from 546 to an outlier of 9,691. The average crime score for South Carolina was 2,973.
The major takeaway is that small communities dominate the safest places in The Palmetto State. Every city or town in the top five has a population of less than 10,000. It was not all bad news for large cities. Charleston, the state’s second largest city, ranked 15th overall in this study. For more information, you can review the full report here.
5 Safest Places in South Carolina
These cities had an average final crime score of 796, which was 73% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.
Edgefield’s designation as the safest city is ironic because the town offers a "Murders and Mayhem Tour." Senator Preston Brooks, who famously beat Senator Charles Sumner with a cane, was from the area, and Edgefield is also the home of Becky Cotton, "The Devil in Petticoats" who allegedly murdered her husband with an ax. In modern times, Edgefield is very safe. It had the lowest rate of property crime and the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime. Edgefield is a small town with a population of approximately 4,700 about 28 miles from Augusta, Ga.
2. Tega Cay
This city of approximately 8,600 came in at number two for the safest places. Tega Cay is about 20 miles from Charlotte, N.C. It achieved the third-lowest rate of violent crime and the second-lowest rate of property crime. Tega Cay is very affluent; the median household income was 2.5 times the median for South Carolina and the poverty level was very low too.
Once known as Groce’s Stop, Lyman incorporated in 1954 and took its name from the town’s large mill. In spite of its small size (population of 3,400), this community has a police department that partners with the citizens via neighborhood watch programs to keep crime low. This approach works well; Lyman had the lowest rate of violent crime of any place in this research. This town is located in Spartanburg County, in the northern part of the state.
Duncan, the fourth-ranked place in this research, is a mere three-minute drive from Lyman. The Duncan police department has 22 sworn officers including five that serve in the schools full-time. In addition to a low rate of property crime, it reported only three violent crimes in 2014. Duncan is a working-class community with a median household income lower than the median for South Carolina.
Saluda is a small, independent community approximately one hour north of Augusta, Ga., and one hour west of Columbia, S.C. Despite its size (population of 3,600), it has a full-service police department. Saluda had the third-lowest rate of property crime in this study. It is another working-class community with a median household income lower than the median for South Carolina and a rate of poverty above the state’s level.
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 between 3,000 and 6,000, midsize cities with populations between 6,000 and 13,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 13,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in South Carolina
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in South Carolina” study. They 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 hometown ranks.
|10||Isle of Palms||1,259|
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.
We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.
Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!
|Rank||City||Population||Violent Crime per 100K||Property Crime per 100K||Crime Score|
|10||Isle of Palms||4,333||69||3,185||1,259|