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
The 1st most dangerous city in North Carolina goes to Whiteville.
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 12.6 chance of being a victim of a property crime in 2017 in Whiteville.
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.
The 93rd most populated city in North Carolina, Wadesboro ranks as the 2nd most dangerous.
Wadesboro’s crime problem has been slowly improving in recent years, with violent crime going down from 2015-17, and property crime dropping.
Still, Wadesboro residents face about a 1 in 17.0 chance of being the victim of theft or arson.
It seems that the Kinston is a hub of crime.
Though residents of Kinston had a 1 in 78 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017, that’s not too bad relative to other cities of its size.
Property crime now stands as the 8th worst in North Carolina.
For a relatively small town, Williamston has had an extensive amount of industrialization over the past 100 years.
This level of industrialization may contribute to the higher occurrences of crime within the city, good for a 1 in 16.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime.
You have a 1 in 18.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime in Clinton and a 1 in 114 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Crime in Reidsville has been heading in the right direction over the past few years, as both property and violent crimes have been on the decrease .
Reidsville residents have a 1 in 18.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime, good for 14th worst in the state. Additionally, they have a 1 in 117 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, 7th worst in North Carolina.
Coming in as the 7th most dangerous city in North Carolina is Rockingham.
While violent crime has been steadily dropping in recent years, with a 10% total drop in violent crime from 2015-17, property crime went up by nearly the same rate during this interval.
That left residents of Rockingham a 1 in 1211.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2017, and a 1 in 150 chance of being the victim of violence.
Roanoke Rapids isn’t in the top for either category of crime, but a cumulatively bad score lands it in 8th place.
On the bright side, violent crime was reformed in a serious way between 2016, with the instances dropping to 107.
That amounts to a 1 in 140 chance of being the victim of a violent crime in 2017.
Washington ranks as the 9th most dangerous city in North Carolina thanks to 12th place finish in violent crime and a 15th place finish in property crime.
Those rankings contribute to a 1 in 16.7 of being the victim of a crime in Washington.
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)
For more North Carolina reading, check out: