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South Carolina – A famous “Deep South” state, its name is evocative of cotton, plantations and the sea. One of the oldest states in colonization terms, Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was the site where Confederate batteries started hostilities in the Civil War by firing on Union positions. Named after King Charles I of England/Scotland, the state is well-known for coastal recreation, its ancient sites and luscious interior.

South Carolina’s population is around 5 million. Its population density is ranked 19th overall in the US. The state’s economy is perceived to be heavily based around agriculture but in fact, the services sector constitutes approximately 84% of South Carolina’s wealth. In the late 20th century, numbers of industries and companies from the north relocated to the state as part of the “Sun Belt Migration."

5.76 Average violent crime per 1,000
44.70 Average property crime per 1,000

Despite a diversified economy, average incomes in South Carolina are lower than US averages. State average household income is around $50,000, which is roughly 15% below the US figure. Per capita income at $28,000, which is a similar percentage below US averages. Relative to national averages, South Carolina has challenges in terms of its high crime statistics. Notably:

  • It’s the 47th safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • The violent crime rate is considerably higher than the national average (ratio 1.66) based upon 5.76 violent crimes per 1,000 compared against the national average of 3.47. This makes the state the 39th safest in the US
  • Property crime is also higher than the national average with 44.7 per 1,000 (national level 40.43).

The safest parts of South Carolina statistically are:

  1. ​Charleston
  2. Bluffton
  3. Clemson
  4. Mauldin
  5. Tega Cay

Safest Cities in South Carolina, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
1Charleston3883,1442.83522.975
2Bluffton413302.04816.480
3Clemson83150.48719.158
4Mauldin654092.54616.017
5Tega Cay52190.48221.125
6Mount Pleasant1651,3321.89215.272
7North Myrtle Beach721,2784.38477.822
8North Augusta599502.54340.952
9Lexington666433.07929.999
10Goose Creek1629863.76722.927
11Hanahan743963.02216.172
12Sumter3331,8398.17245.132
13Orangeburg1248719.48366.611
14Greenville4152,8316.02141.075
15Gaffney934507.16434.663
16Beaufort926676.75949.001
17Port Royal483033.64723.023
18Greer1231,0584.15835.761
19Summerville1471,7452.91134.556
20Anderson1811,6666.52860.084
21Newberry684356.55541.936
22Moncks Corner485464.43750.471
23Conway1429365.96539.318
24Irmo554474.45236.186
25North Charleston1,0266,2919.21856.520
26Myrtle Beach5234,33115.769130.582
27Columbia9917,1347.34352.861
28Forest Acres596355.58660.115
29West Columbia1771,11210.77667.698
30Easley1251,3085.92261.970
31Florence4872,72812.66670.951
32Greenwood3161,70213.54572.956

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in South Carolina, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then rated them using the population of the city and created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.

Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.

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