Affectionately referred to as the Tar Heel State, North Carolina is the ninth-most populated state in the union and remains a hub for higher education, technology, and agriculture. Everything from tobacco to furniture is grown or made here, while the state also boasts nine cities with a population over 100,000, as well as 18 schools that compete at the Division I level. Additionally, it's home to a big armed forces population which is split among several different bases, including the largest military base in the world: Fort Bragg. Between all that hustle and bustle is a gorgeous and varied landscape, spanning from the pristine beaches along the Atlantic Ocean to the cloud-scraping peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. Mount Mitchell remains the highest point in America located east of the Mississippi River, and the state also has 17 major river basins. On the east coast, Cape Hatteras has sunk so many ships (more than 1,000, including Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge) that it has become known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Of course, it's also a state that offers many safe, inviting communities.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
Pinehurst is located between Charlotte and Fayetteville, near the Uwharrie National Forest. Originally established with the vision of becoming a health resort, Pinehurst today remains a huge golfing town and boasts the distinction of being the safest city in North Carolina, experiencing a mere 11 violent crimes and 91 property crimes last year. It's also home to one of the best-regarded golf resorts in the country. The aptly named Pinehurst Resort, which laid out its first golf course in 1897, today includes nine golf courses, a spa, three hotels, and high-end sports facilities. Not interested in tee time? Check out the Pinehurst Race track, Pinehurst Historic District, or Lloyd-Howe House, all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A mere 23 miles from downtown Charlotte lies Waxhaw. It's a place where residents enjoy access to the big city without all the hassle and headaches of living in a big urban hub. Waxhaw is also one of the safest towns in North Carolina, and it experienced only 10 violent crimes and 105 property crimes last year. Named after the indigenous Native American tribe that settled the area before it became a colonial settlement, Waxhaw today is commonly referred to as “The Haw” and hosts the Queens Cup Steeplechase Races, as well as popular Fourth of July and Christmas parades. Meanwhile, the town center remains a draw for antiques shoppers and foodies.
3. HOLLY SPRINGS
A rapidly growing community located southwest of Raleigh, Holly Springs has more than doubled since the turn of the millennium. Throughout its growth surge, Holly Springs has remained a very safe town, seeing only 18 violent crimes last year as well as 9.07 property crimes per 1,000 people. The town was originally established around fresh water springs in the 1700s, but it was in the 1990s that it really began to grow, partly due to the employment opportunities of Research Triangle Park.
Home to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, which also happens to be the largest Marine Corps air station in the world, Havelock is a true-blue American city. Locals love their football—the Havelock High School football team has won the NCHSAAA 3A state championship four times—almost as much as keeping their neighbors safe. After all, the city experienced a mere 5 violent crimes last year, and on the property crimes side, just 10.54 instances per 1,000 people. As a bonus, outdoors enthusiasts have plenty to discover near Havelock, including the pristine beaches of the Crystal Coast, as well as the verdant Croatan National Forest.
Located within the Charlotte metropolitan area, Stallings is located just 15 miles from downtown Charlotte. It also happens to be one of the safest cities in North Carolina and experienced only 12 violent crimes last year, as well as 160 property crimes per 1,000 people. Named after brothers Matthew Thomas Stallings and Martin Stallings, who both established farms in the area, the town got its start in the farming and timber industries.
The Top 50 Safest Cities in North Carolina, 2017
21. Wake Forest
3. Holly Springs
43. Carolina Beach
44. New Bern
15. Mint Hill
25. Mount Holly
36. Kings Mountain
47. Southern Pines
8. Black Mountain
48. High Point
30. Bessemer City
To identify the safest cities in North Carolina, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000. Note that our use of the word "cities" is versatile, refers to populations of 5,000 and over, and thus includes places with the words "town" and "township."
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.