When you were little, how did your parents teach you about danger? Did they just repeat “stranger danger” over and over again until you thought all strangers must be bad people? Did they tell you not to go outside after dark or not to walk alone?
When we think about dangerous places, we often compare them to the type of places we have lived in the past. Are we prepared to live in a city that isn’t as safe as we are used to?
When we move to a new place, one of the top things you are looking for in a city is safety. You want to feel safe where you live. However, part of feeling safe is dependent upon what you are used to.
If you grew up in a neighborhood that was so safe, locking the doors at night was unheard of, then perhaps moving to a city like Chicago would be a brutal wakeup call for the status quo of safety.
On the other hand, if you grew up in Chicago, perhaps moving to a place like Cary, North Carolina, would be another type of shock. Cary often comes up as one of the safest cities in the U.S. so you can bet people who live in Cary aren’t worried about walking home alone from school.
So if Cary is the safest city in North Carolina, then what are the most dangerous cities in the state? If you are from North Carolina, you may first guess cities like Fayetteville, Durham, and Greensboro, but you might actually be surprised at which cities make the top 10.
Interested to read more?
We analyzed 99 cities in North Carolina and found one clear winner: Whiteville, North Carolina.
Shocked that none of the cities listed above even ranked in our top 10? We are too. Turns out being a larger city does not equate to higher crime levels. In fact, most of the cities listed on our top 10 are smaller cities in towns in eastern NC.
Want to see how your city stacks up? Read on to learn more about each of the ranked cities and about how we crunched the numbers to come up with the top 10 most dangerous cities in North Carolina for 2019.
Or learn more about the safest places in North Carolina.
For more North Carolina reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In North Carolina
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In North Carolina
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Carolina
Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In North Carolina
The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In North Carolina For 2019
Whiteville ranks as the 1st most dangerous city in North Carolina according to 2017’s data.
While there’s still a 1 in 12.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime in Whiteville, their crime statistics in both categories have been falling steadily over recent years.
Wadesboro ranks as the 2nd most dangerous city in North Carolina.
Over 5,413 people jam pack Wadesboro which must contribute to its high level of property crime (7th highest overall). Violent crime is a bit less of an issue placing 1st overall.
Located in the heart of the Tar Heel State, Kinston has the 8th worst rate of property crime in the state, with residents facing a 1 in 2nd chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
The city had a 1 in 78 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017.
Williamston ranks as the 4th most dangerous city in North Carolina.
The Williamston ranks as having the 11th highest violent crime rate and 6th highest property crime rate.
Clinton is the smallest city to make this list.
Violent crime rose between 2015-17, leaving residents a 1 in 114 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017 (a rate that would earn a top 10 spot in most states).
Clinton’s already horrible property crime statistics also got worse in these years, going up between 2015-17.
Reidsville makes it into the top 10 most dangerous in North Carolina. After a huge growth spurt in the 60’s and 70’s, people are actually leaving Reidsville in droves, which could be in part to its high criminal population.
As of the last FBI report, crime in Reidsville has been ticking upwards, and statistically, 1 in 18.6 residents here was recently the victim of a robbery or car theft.
Rockingham is the smallest city to make this list.
And this city in North Carolina has been making great strides to get off this list altogether — the violent crime rate fell between 2015-17.
That’s means residents have a 1 in 150 chance of being a victim of violence in 2017.
Roanoke Rapids’s recent explosion of crime makes it the 8th most dangerous place to live in the Tar Heel State.
Between 2015-17, both violent and property crime rates nearly tripled, leaving residents with a 1 in 140 chance of being the victim of a violent crime and a 1 in 17.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2017.
If the trend continues, we can expect to see the town of Roanoke Rapids top this list in a few years’ time.
Washington ranked 15th overall for property crime, while 12th for violent crime.
Crime in Goldsboro has been heading in the right direction over the past few years, as both property and violent crimes have been on the decrease since 2011. Perhaps the former home of Andy Griffith could use more help of Matlock-type lawyers to help solve some of Goldsboro’s recent crimes.
Goldsboro residents have a 1 in 19.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime, good for 20th worst in the state. Additionally, they have a 1 in 133 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, 9th worst in North Carolina.
How Is Your Town In ?
How we determined the most dangerous cities in North Carolina for 2019?
Every year the FBI release two crime datasets, a preliminary dataset limited to the biggest cities in the country, followed by a more detailed release at the end of the year.
For our analysis, we focused on the JUST released 2017 data, specifically the 2017 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2019.
So what criteria did we use? Have a look:
- Violent Crimes Per Capita
- Property Crimes Per Capita
In order to make the analysis as apples to apples as possible, we only considered cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 99 cities in North Carolina.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 99 for the two criteria with a #1 ranking being the most dangerous for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the two rankings into one “Dangerous Index”.
Finally, we ranked every city on the “Dangerous Index” with the lowest index being the most dangerous in North Carolina — Whiteville.
Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in North Carolina.
Locking It All Up In North Carolina
The latest FBI crime data shows that Whiteville ranks as the most dangerous city in North Carolina for 2019.
We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Whiteville and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.
If you’re curious enough, here are the safest cities in North Carolina:
- Elon (Pop. 10,283)
- Holly Springs (Pop. 34,897)
- Pinehurst (Pop. 16,145)
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