The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In North Carolina For 2021


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Tar Heel State for 2021.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. It is our seventh time ranking the most dangerous places to live in North Carolina and is updated for 2021.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a good dose of southern hospitality in most of North Carolina’s dangerous cities: these cities are more concerned with cleaning up their neighborhoods and fighting crime.

We’re not talking about choosing tomato based BBQ sauce instead of vinegar; or even worse, not being a Durham Bulls fan kind of crime, we’re talking about the type of crime that will get you on Raleigh’s WRAL at six. And lucky for you, RoadSnacks is here to tell you where the most crime is committed in the TarHeel State: we’ve created a list of the top ten most dangerous places in North Carolina for 2021.

In order to compile our list, we looked at FBI data for violent crimes and property crimes in Texas cities with a population of 5,000. That left us with 91 cities. We discovered that the state as a whole had 363 violent crimes and 2,545 property crimes reported per capita. And while that doesn’t seem like that many for the ninth largest state in the country in population, it is above the national average; and coincidentally one of the top 25 most dangerous states in the country.

Gone are the days that parents can let their children run wild until the street lights come on. Heck, parents shouldn’t let their kids out of their sight in the most dangerous cities in North Carolina. So, you must be wondering, how does one navigate these dangerous North Carolina cities when trying to make an informed decision on where you should call home?

We suggest that you take a look at our list below before you make any life changing decisions.

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live In North Carolina For 2021

Whiteville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,338
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,461 (Third most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 9,535 (Second most dangerous)
More on Whiteville:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

For the second year running, Whiteville takes the gold medal for being the most dangerous place to live in North Carolina for 2021.

Residents of Whiteville had a 1 in 10 chance of being the victim of a property crime in 2019, representing the second highest property crime rate in the state. In other words, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings when you’re out for a picnic at one of Whiteville parks.

Violent crime is also quite high in Whitesville, which had the fifth highest murder rate in North Carolina.

Whitesville is located about fifty miles west of Wilmington.

Wadesboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility

1
/10

Population: 5,228
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,893 (Most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,426 (Sixth most dangerous)
More on Wadesboro:  | Cost Of Living

Taking the #2 spot on our list of North Carolina’s most dangerous places is Wadesboro, a town of 5,228 about an hour southeast of Charlotte.

Even without a single murder in 2019, Wadesboro had the highest violent crime rate in North Carolina. That’s mostly due to a whole bunch of aggravated assault cases, but having the third highest rate of rape cases also doesn’t help.

While the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for animals, humans of Wadesboro are on their own for finding safety.

Williamston, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,217
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,265 (Fourth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,670 (Fifth most dangerous)
More on Williamston:  | Cost Of Living

Williamston motto might be “easy living with hometown values,” but there’s nothing easy about living in the place with the third highest crime rates in North Carolina.

Williamston is home to a Western theme park, Deadwood, but there’s plenty of wild west style crime going on in the town itself. For example, the town has the second highest rate of rape cases in the state and the fourth highest violent crime rate overall.

The bad news doesn’t stop there. Williamston also recorded the fifth highest burglary rate in the state, so be sure to keep your doors locked here.

Henderson, NC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 14,883
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,626 (Second most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,563 (Tenth most dangerous)
More on Henderson:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Welcome to Henderson, the de facto murder capital of North Carolina. The city of 14,883 had 8 murders in 2019, the highest rate statewide.

All forms of violent crime are quite prevalent in Henderson, where residents had a 1 in 61 shot of being the victim of an attack over the year.

Property crime is also all too common in Henderson, so be sure nobody steals your catch after a day out fishing on Kerr Lake.

Henderson is located about 40 miles northeast of Durham.

Pineville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 9,088
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 748 (18th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 12,444 (Most dangerous)
More on Pineville:  | Cost Of Living

Located just south of Charlotte, you certainly won’t find Pineville featured on our list of Charlotte’s best suburbs. There’s far too much crime in Pineville for that.

In fact, while Pineville is in the #5 position on this list, it actually had the highest total crime rate. How’d that happen? Well, having the highest property crime rate by a huge margin helped.

Residents had a crazy high 1 in 8 chance of having their stuff stolen or damaged by a criminal in 2019. We just hope nobody steals any important historical memorabilia from the James K. Polk State Historic Site.

Albemarle, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 16,134
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 904 (Eighth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,466 (11th most dangerous)
More on Albemarle:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Albemarle ranks as the sixth most dangerous city in North Carolina thanks to an unhealthy mix of violent and property crime.

Overall, there were 146 violent crimes and 882 property crimes reported in 2019 — both pretty high for a city of 16,134.

If you’re trying to get away from the mean streets of Albemarle, there’s always Morrow Mountain State Park for a breath of fresh air.

Laurinburg, NC

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 14,928
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,071 (Fifth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,104 (16th most dangerous)
More on Laurinburg:  | Cost Of Living

The Laurinburg Police Department sure has their work cut out for them. Why’s that? Well, residents had a 1 in 93 of finding themselves the victim of a violent crime in 2019, the fifth highest odds in North Carolina.

On top of that, Laurinburg had the second highest burglary rate in the state, with about one happening each and every day, on average. In fact, there were more burglaries than larcenies in Laurinburg, which is extremely rare.

Monroe, NC

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 35,630
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 931 (Seventh most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,279 (14th most dangerous)
More on Monroe:  | Cost Of Living

The county seat of Union County, Monroe is a city of 35,630 located about 25 miles southeast of Charlotte. Events at Monroe’s parks are pretty common, but you’d better keep track of your valuables while you’re out, because the city had 1,407 larceny cases in 2019.

Worse than a couple of picked pockets, however, is Monroe’s troubling rate of rape cases — the fourth highest in North Carolina. Overall, violent crime is a bigger problem in Monroe.

Reidsville, NC

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 13,959
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 752 (17th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,375 (Seventh most dangerous)
More on Reidsville:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Located a half-hour north of Greensboro, Reidsville comes in as the ninth most dangerous place in North Carolina. The poverty rate in Reidsville is nearly 25%, which does tend to correlate with higher crime rates.

Overall, property crime is the bigger issue in Reidsville, so keep an eye on your wallet when you’re out for an event at Market Square.

Residents of Reidsville had a 1 in 15 of being the victim of a property crime throughout 2019. On the bright side, Reidsville one of only a few places on this list with 0 murders for the year.

Goldsboro, NC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 34,085
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 783 (16th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,823 (Ninth most dangerous)
More on Goldsboro:  | Cost Of Living

The next stop on our list of North Carolina’s most dangerous places for 2021 takes us to Goldsboro, a city of 34,085 in Wayne County. Goldsboro is no stranger to violence — anyone can visit the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield, site of a Civil War battle with 15,000 soldiers.

These days, violence is slightly less prevalent, but there were still 267 violent crimes recorded in 2019.

On top of that, Goldsboro averaged more than five property crimes each day in 2019, so you’ll want to keep your doors locked and your eyes peeled for porch pirates here.

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In North Carolina

Most Dangerous Cities In North Carolina Graph

Click To Enlarge

How we determined the most dangerous cities in North Carolina for 2021?

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 2019 data, specifically the 2019 Crime In The United States Report. We will update the results when data becomes available in September 2021.

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 North Carolina cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 91 cities in North Carolina.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 91 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. Any ties went to the smaller city. You can download the data here.

Read on for a detailed look at the 10 most dangerous cities in North Carolina.

Locking It All Up In North Carolina

So what is the most dangerous city in North Carolina? After analyzing 91 cities in North Carolina, Whiteville takes the top spot as the most dangerous city in North Carolina based on the most recently reported FBI data — 2019.

The latest FBI crime data shows that Whiteville ranks as the most dangerous city in North Carolina for 2021.

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.

Do we think the problems in North Carolina’s most dangerous places are directly related to high unemployment, low wages, and lack of rehabilitation programs? Absolutely. Not to mention, rent in most of North Carolina’s safest places and best places to live is out of reach for most people, making it difficult for people to make a move. This keeps the people in these places feeling angry, defeated, and more likely to commit a crime.

So, what is the most dangerous place in North Carolina? That would be, Whiteville.

To see how the rest of your favorite places in North Carolina faired, take a look below; and if you don’t find your favorite there, head to the bottom.

Learn more about the safest places in North Carolina.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the most dangerous cities in America or the most dangerous states in America.

Here are the safest cities in North Carolina:

  1. Apex (Pop. 56,276)
  2. Wendell (Pop. 8,096)
  3. Winterville (Pop. 9,922)
  4. Morrisville (Pop. 28,796)
  5. Cary (Pop. 172,525)
  6. Davidson (Pop. 13,193)
  7. Pinehurst (Pop. 16,522)
  8. Elon (Pop. 12,214)
  9. Wake Forest (Pop. 46,145)
  10. Holly Springs (Pop. 38,577)

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

The Most Dangerous Cities In North Carolina

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Whiteville 5,338 1,461 9,535
2 Wadesboro 5,228 1,893 6,426
3 Williamston 5,217 1,265 6,670
4 Henderson 14,883 1,626 5,563
5 Pineville 9,088 748 12,444
6 Albemarle 16,134 904 5,466
7 Laurinburg 14,928 1,071 5,104
8 Monroe 35,630 931 5,279
9 Reidsville 13,959 752 6,375
10 Goldsboro 34,085 783 5,823
11 Roanoke Rapids 14,354 891 4,918
12 Asheville 93,641 742 6,325
13 Waynesville 10,146 611 6,751
14 Burlington 54,108 850 4,601
15 Forest City 7,116 477 8,220
16 Siler City 8,237 813 3,945
17 Hope Mills 15,878 699 4,868
18 Hillsborough 7,321 519 5,354
19 Roxboro 8,299 735 4,398
20 Dunn 9,768 573 5,262
21 Fayetteville 209,614 875 3,526
22 Greensboro 298,025 818 3,688
23 Salisbury 33,877 735 4,170
24 Charlotte-Mecklenburg 944,260 739 3,925
25 Lexington 18,917 639 4,292
26 Washington 9,497 747 3,759
27 Rockingham 8,687 448 4,961
28 Elizabeth City 17,424 510 4,373
29 Durham 280,282 729 3,807
30 Oxford 8,851 1,028 2,609
31 Hendersonville 14,234 428 4,777
32 Rocky Mount 53,827 787 3,022
33 Lenoir 17,904 435 4,462
34 Selma 7,018 783 2,906
35 Aberdeen 7,892 519 3,813
36 High Point 113,307 730 3,288
37 Smithfield 12,882 551 3,578
38 Eden 14,773 595 3,472
39 Morganton 16,524 496 3,709
40 Hickory 41,040 402 4,368
41 Zebulon 5,814 412 4,024
42 Kernersville 24,980 260 4,567
43 Mebane 16,203 277 4,264
44 Wilmington 124,750 608 2,880
45 Marion 7,837 153 5,346
46 Kill Devil Hills 7,268 261 3,866
47 Newton 13,153 349 3,482
48 Wilson 49,344 445 3,131
49 Greenville 94,193 463 3,011
50 New Bern 30,187 414 3,309

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.