As North Carolina's warmer and more southern twin, South Carolina appropriately shows off a palm tree beneath a crescent moon on its blue-and-white flag. Also known as “The Palmetto State,” South Carolina has a hot climate and plenty of beaches (due to its location on the Atlantic Ocean), making it a destination for those looking to escape the frosty weather up north. While definitely not small, South Carolina is only larger than nine other states, though it does have the 23rd biggest population in the country. It's never been known to back down from a fight, seeing a third of all combat action in the Revolutionary War, as well as being the first state to secede from the Union prior to the Civil War.
While it doesn't have any sprawling metropolises, South Carolina does have several sizable cities where residents nevertheless enjoy having a bit more breathing room than the typical urban hub. This includes Columbia (133,803 people), Charleston (132,609 people), and North Charleston (108,304 people). It also has several well-known educational institutions, including The Citadel, Clemson University, the College of Charleston, and the University of South Carolina. Coupled with the safety found in many of its cities, it's an attractive place to live.
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.
1. TEGA CAY
Boasting a pretty name that sounds like it could also be a pirate ship or a Caribbean island, the city of Tega Cay is actually named after the Polynesian words for “beautiful peninsula.” In fact, it really is located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Wylie, and it is also beautiful. As a huge bonus, this town happens to be the safest in the state of South Carolina at the moment, experiencing just one violent crime and 149 property crimes last year. It's located right on the northern border of the state, adjacent to North Carolina, and is located a mere 20 miles from downtown Charlotte.
2. FORT MILL
A suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina, Fort Mill nevertheless resides on the other side of the border in South Carolina. This town was originally established back in 1873 and was named after a British colonial-era fort. The city grew quickly in the 1800s when textile mills were built in the area, and today it's one of the safest cities in the state, last year seeing 25 violent crimes and 14.71 property crimes per 1,000 people. The city is rich with history, being home to more than a dozen locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the William Elliott White House, which was the site of the last full meeting of the Cabinet of the Confederate States of America. Fort Mill also has its eye on the future and is home to notable businesses such as LPL Financial, Continental Tires, and Shutterfly.
3. MOUNT PLEASANT
It may not be a mountain, but Mt. Pleasant really is pleasant. A neighbor of Charleston, this sizable town offers beautiful beaches and plenty of safety, experiencing only 1.65 violent crimes and 15.79 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. As the third-largest municipality in the state, Mount Pleasant has plenty to see and do (besides the beaches), including Patriots Point, a naval and maritime museum that's also home to the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. More than a dozen locations here are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Paul Pritchard Ship Yard, which was operating as long ago as 1702, and was South Carolina's only state shipyard.
Located just outside Greenville, this city is perhaps best known for being home to Kevin Garnett, the championship-winning NBA player who was also a member of the USA Olympic team. Another thing that it's known for is safety since Mauldin saw only 1.47 violent crimes and 16.28 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. Locals here enjoy getting outdoors and take advantage of area state parks such as the Paris Mountain State Park and Croft State Park, as well as Sadlers Creek State Park on Lake Hartwell.
A stone throw's north of Savannah lies Bluffton, a close-knit community that's been often referred to as “the last true coastal village of the South.” Coincidentally, Bluffton is actually located on a bluff along the May River, and it's also one of the safest cities in South Carolina, experiencing 2.29 violent crimes and 18.61 property crimes per 1,000 people last year. There are plenty of nature and beaches to experience nearby, including the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hunting Island State Park, and Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. But those who want a taste of history can check out historical sites such as the Church of the Cross and the Seven Oaks house.
The Top 50 Safest Cities in South Carolina, 2017
1. Tega Cay
11. Goose Creek
2. Fort Mill
32. North Charleston
3. Mount Pleasant
25. Forest Acres
7. Fountain Inn
18. North Augusta
9. Port Royal
49. North Myrtle Beach
To identify the safest cities in South 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.