by Susan Gulliford
Whether it is the 10 million people already living there or the 281 people moving there each day, all North Carolinians care about their safety. The ValuePenguin analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in North Carolina. These 115 communities with populations of at least 5,000 have crime scores that range from 321 to 8,858.
All of the safest communities have populations of under 35,000. However, small does not necessarily equal safe. The five least safest communities had populations between 5,000 and 25,000. In fact the sixth-largest city in the research, Cary, ranked as the eighth-safest place overall.
5 Safest Places in North Carolina
These cities had an average final crime score of 472, which was 81% lower than their typical peer in the state. The ValuePenguin determined that these five are the safest cities in North Carolina.
Pinehurst offers safety to people and their property. This community, known to golf fans as the home of the famous Pinehurst Resort, had the lowest rate of violent crime and the lowest rate of property crime of any city in North Carolina. In fact, Pinehurst was the only city in this research with a crime score under 400. Both the police and fire departments have won numerous awards for achievements in public safety.
Elon (population of 9,537) is the smallest community in the top five. It is an approximately 27-minute drive from Greensboro, NC and is home to a university of the same name. It had the third-lowest rate of violent crime and the fifth-lowest rate of property crime of any city in this research. Due to its college town flavor, it had a median household income below the average for North Carolina.
3. Holly Springs
The safest large community ranked third in this research. In addition to a low rate of violent crime, it had the second-lowest rate of property crime in this research. It is approximately 20 miles from the state capital of Raleigh. Holly Springs is an affluent city where almost 55% of the residents over 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree, and the median household income is nearly $92,000.
This town, whose motto is ‘Proud of Our Past... Passionate About Our Future,’ came in at number four. The police department encourages a partnership between itself and the community. This approach has been fruitful. Waxhaw had the third-lowest rate of property crime in addition to a low rate of violent crime. This community, located approximately 30 miles from Charlotte, had a median household income approximately $28,000 above the average for North Carolina.
Davidson is the second college town in the top five. The police department’s core values of treating everyone equally and partnering with the community to prevent crime have paid off for Davidson’s residents and businesses. It had the fourth-lowest rate of property crime for North Carolina cities, and Davidson reported a mere eight violent crimes in 2014. This town, located 22 miles from Charlotte had a median household income double that of North Carolina and a very high percentage of residents (66%) with a college degree.
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 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 25,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 25,000. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in North Carolina
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in North 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.
|26||Boiling Spring Lakes||1,244|
|76||Kill Devil Hills||2,832|
North Carolina offers many consistently safe cities for current and future residents. Four of the five safest areas for 2015 were in the top five for 2016. Pinehurst and Elon were either ranked one or two in both researched years.
More cities reported data to the FBI for 2014, so the ValuePenguin team changed the size categories to ensure an even distribution. Holly Springs went from being the second-safest mid-size city for 2015 to the safest member of the large category in 2016. Despite the changes, Pinehurst and Elon ranked number one in the mid-size and small categories respectively.
With revisions to the size categories, last year’s number one, Apex, and number two, Cary, ranked safest cities moved down a place in 2016. Large college towns can also boast about their safety records. Chapel Hill and Wake Forest were among the ten safest large cities in both 2015 and 2016.
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!
Crime per 100K
Crime per 100K
|26||Boiling Spring Lakes||5,672||194||2,539||1,244|
|76||Kill Devil Hills||6,976||616||4,903||2,832|