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.
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.
To create this ranking, we looked at the most recent FBI crime data for each city in North Carolina. In particular, we focused in on property and violent crime per capita. By doing a per capita analysis, we keep things apples to apples when comparing Raleigh to Wrightsville Beach.
Interested to read more?
We analyzed 74 cities in North Carolina and found one city that was the most dangerous: 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 2020.
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 2020
Whiteville, with a population of 5,401 ranks as the 1st most dangerous city based on 2017 data.
Between 2015-17, violent crime fell, leaving residents a 1 in 96 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.
Property crime also dropped during these years, meaning Whiteville may be off this list in another year if the trend keeps up.
The hometown of Charlie Rose isn’t so rosy right now when you look at the recent crime numbers. There were more than 200 violent crimes in this small town in 2017, and as of the recent criminal rankings, the numbers are climbing steadily.
If you live in Henderson, NC, you have a 1 of 10 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
The 3rd most dangerous city in North Carolina goes to Kinston.
And much like a walk in a major city park, you need to watch for muggers and property theft as it ranks as having the highest rate of property theft in the Tar Heel State. You had a 1 in 15.6 chance of being a victim of a property crime in 2017 in Kinston.
It’s not totally clear why the property crime rate is so high. People live spread out, unemployment is relatively high — but not super high — and poverty isn’t as bad as in some other parts of the state.
Albemarle places 4th in our list of the most dangerous cities in North Carolina.
Violent crime is an issue here as it ranks 10th in the state for that criteria, while ranking 6th for property crime.
High levels of unemployment and poverty probably contribute to above average rates of crime.
Reidsville is the 5th most violent city in North Carolina.
Unfortunately, Reidsville has experienced a quick and steady rise in its crime in recent years, with both violent and property crime increasing between 2015-17.
In 2017, residents of Reidsville had a 1 in 132 chance of being the victim of violence.
Oxford ranks 6th overall for dangerous places in North Carolina.
In 2017, residents faced a 1 in 129 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Oxford’s violent crimes have risen 8% in recent years, meaning it’s on track to overtake the role of most dangerous city in North Carolina in the not too distant future.
The 61st most populated city in North Carolina, Siler City ranks as the 7th most dangerous.
Siler City’s crime problem has been slowly improving in recent years, with violent crime going down from 2015-17, and property crime dropping.
Still, Siler City residents face about a 1 in 22.3 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
Rockingham is the 21st most violent city, with residents facing a 1 in 171 chance of being the victim of violence in 2017.
Progress has been made in recent years, however, reflected by a 12% drop in violent crime, and an 11% drop in property crime between 2015-17.
Gastonia earns a 9th place ranking overall.
Between 2015-17, violent crime and property crime increased, leaving Gastonia residents with a 1 in 20.1 chance of being the victim of theft or arson in 2017.
Also home to grocery chain giant Food Lion, Salisbury has seen its violent crimes tick upwards over the last few years, and its residents have a 1 in 128 chance of being the victim of a robbery, rape, murder or attack.
How Is Your Town In ?
How we determined the most dangerous cities in North Carolina for 2020?
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 74 cities in North Carolina.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 74 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 2020.
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:
- Cary (Pop. 170,518)
- Pinehurst (Pop. 16,213)
- Holly Springs (Pop. 37,008)
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