We all want the finer things in life. Love, comfort and safety are at the top of everyone’s list.
For a lot of people who live in the fine state of North Carolina, safety isn’t a problem, but we don’t all get to live in the safest cities — unless of course you live in Elon.
The purpose of this post is to determine where the safest cities to live are in the Tar Heel State. Those places where crime is usually something you hear about on Facebook, but not from your local paper.
In all, we analyzed 90 cities in North Carolina with a population of more than 5,000 using the latest FBI crime data.
- Elon (Photos | Homes)
- Holly Springs (Photos | Homes)
- Pinehurst (Photos | Homes)
- Davidson (Photos | Homes)
- Cary (Photos | Homes)
- Apex (Photos | Homes)
- Stallings (Homes)
- Rolesville (Photos | Homes)
- Woodfin (Photos | Homes)
- Waxhaw (Photos | Homes)
- Fuquay-Varina (Photos | Homes)
- Fletcher (Photos | Homes)
- Black Mountain (Photos | Homes)
- Clayton (Photos | Homes)
- Winterville (Photos | Homes)
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. Or for more reading on safe places to live and North Carolina, check out:
- Safest States In America
- Safest Cities In America
- 10 Best Places To Live In North Carolina
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
Holly Springs is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 24,661, over 2 times its population in 2000.
Pinehurst is a village in Moore County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 13,124. It is home of the historic golf resort, Pinehurst Resort. A large portion of the central village, including the resort complexes, is a National Historic Landmark District, designated in 1996 for its landscape design and its significance in the history of golf in the United States.
Davidson is a lakeside town on Lake Norman in northern Mecklenburg County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 10,944 at the 2010 census. It is home to Davidson College. The town is centered on the college from which it takes its name.
Cary is the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is predominantly in Wake, with a small area in Chatham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina and is the county’s second-largest municipality and the third-largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham. The town’s population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census, making it the largest town and seventh-largest municipality statewide. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 159,769 as of July 1, 2015. Cary is the second most populous incorporated town in the United States.
Apex is a town in Wake County, North Carolina and a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town’s population to be 43,907 as of July 1, 2014.
Stallings is a suburban town in Union and Mecklenburg counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 13,831 at the 2010 census.
Rolesville is a town and suburb in northeastern Wake County, North Carolina, United States, just outside the capital city of Raleigh. It is the second oldest town in Wake County and has been one of the fastest growing towns in the state of North Carolina for the past several years. The population was 6,074 in 2015.
Woodfin is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 6,123 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is named for Nicholas Washington Woodfin, a renowned lawyer and statesman of early North Carolina, under whom Governor Zebulon Vance clerked as an attorney. Woodfin is the only municipality bearing the name Woodfin in the United States. The town was incorporated in 1971, although the community itself dates back to at least the mid-19th century.
Waxhaw is a town located in Union County, North Carolina. The population was 9,859 according to the 2010 Census.
Fuquay-Varina is a town in Wake County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 18,644 in 2012. The population was 17,937 at the 2010 census, up from 7,898 at the 2000 census. The town is a 25-minute drive south of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. The hyphenated name attests to the town’s history as two separate towns. Fuquay Springs and Varina merged in 1963 to create the modern town. Economically, the town initially grew due to tobacco trade and agriculture, but has seen recent population growth and real estate development due to its proximity to Research Triangle Park.
Fletcher is a town in Henderson County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 7,187 at the 2010 census, and was estimated to be 8,079 in 2016.
Black Mountain is a town in Buncombe County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 7,848 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is named for the old train stop at the Black Mountain Depot and is located at the southern end of the Black Mountain range of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Southern Appalachians.
Clayton is a town in Johnston County, North Carolina, and considered a satellite town of Raleigh. As of 2010, Clayton’s population was 16,116 people. Much of that growth can be attributed to the town’s close proximity to the Research Triangle area and access to major highways such as I-40, U.S. 70, and NC 42.
Winterville is a town in Pitt County, North Carolina, United States. The population is 9,269 as of the 2010 census. The town is a part of the Village.
How we calculated the safest cities in North Carolina
While there are surveys and public polls on what cities in a state are the safest, we didn’t want to rely on speculation and opinion. Instead, we looked at the hard numbers from the FBI’s most recent report of crime (Sept 2017) in North Carolina.
Specifically, we analyzed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report which summarizes the number of property crimes and violent crimes in each city per year. We used two criteria:
- Violent crimes per capita (murders, assaults, rapes, armed robberies)
- Property crimes per capita (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts)
For example, there were a total of 84 crimes committed in Elon which had a reported population of 10,150. That means the number of crimes per capita is 0.0083 which translates into a 1 in 120 chance of being the victim of a crime.
We only looked at cities that have populations of more than 5,000 people reported to the FBI in 2016. This left us with a total of 90 of the biggest cities in North Carolina to rank.
We ranked each city for each criteria from 1 to 90 where 1 in any particular category is the safest.
Next, we averaged each places two criteria to create a Safety Index. We crowned the place with the lowest overall Safety Score “The Safest Place In North Carolina”.
The safest city, based on our criteria, is Elon. The most dangerous city in North Carolina? Lumberton, where residents had a 1 in 6 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Note: This report is not an analysis of the effectiveness of local police departments, nor does it reflect the fact that people from out of town may come into a community and cause a crime. It simply looks at where crimes occurred most frequently, based on a city’s population.
There You Have It – The Safest Cities In The Tar Heel State
Looking at the data, you can tell that Elon is as safe as they come, according to science and data.
But as most North Carolina residents would agree, almost every place here has its safe and not safe parts. So just make sure you’re informed ahead of time.
Here’s a look at the most dangerous cities in North Carolina according to the data:
For more reading, check out: