The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina For 2021


We used data and science to identify the most dangerous cities in the Palmetto 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 South Carolina and is updated for 2021.

As if there isn’t enough to worry about with unruly Ravenels in Charleston and vicious alligators on Hilton Head Island, there are also super dangerous places in the Palmetto State.

South Carolina is, after all, the sixth most dangerous states in the country, so no one should really be too surprised. And because RoadSnacks thinks it’s important to provide important information to the public, we created a list of the most dangerous places in South Carolina for 2021.

How’d we determine the most dangerous places in South Carolina? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 57 cities. We looked at the FBI’s latest crime report for violent crime and property crime statistics for every place with over 5,000 residents.

Some might say it’s because of drugs and alcohol, some might say the state needs to offer better jobs with competitive salaries, and some might say that it’s just people being people; any way you look at it, the numbers don’t lie. The state’s violent crime and property crime numbers are above the national average and climbing.

Let’s be real, we’re not talking about driving a boat without life jackets kind of danger. The type of danger we’re talking about gets people on Dillon’s WPDE at six. Folks, the cities that made our list have robberies happening in broad daylight, car jackings, and daily shootings. There are neighborhoods in these cities that you shouldn’t drive thru, ever.

Want to know the South Carolina places where jobs are scarce, wages low, crime high-where your Southern Charm will get you absolutely nowhere? Keep reading.

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

Darlington, SC

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 5,886
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,478 (Fourth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,579 (Third most dangerous)
More on Darlington:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Known for its tobacco farms and NASCAR races, Darlington ranks as South Carolina’s most dangerous city for 2021. Darlington saw a increase in property crime compared to last year, a big reason the city moved up 4 spots on this list.

Darlington averaged more than one car theft per month over the year, but fortunately, none were race cars from the Darlington Raceway. Good thing, or the carjacker would be mighty hard to catch up with.

Violent crime also ranked as the fourth highest in South Carolina, which includes the fourth highest rate of rape cases statewide. Overall, residents had a 1 in 67 chance of being attacked over 2019.

Hartsville, SC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 7,524
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,435 (Fifth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 8,878 (Second most dangerous)
More on Hartsville:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Hartsville held onto its #2 position on our list of South Carolina’s most dangerous places for yet another year. Crime has stayed level in Hartsville, which is bad news when you’ve got the second highest property crime rate in the state.

There are about two burglaries a week in Hartsville, which is frequent enough to give the city the highest burglary rate in South Carolina. We recommend padlocking your picnic basket if you’re out at Kalmia Gardens, because ten thefts a week go down in Hartsville.

And while Hartsville didn’t record a single murder in 2019, it still had the fifth highest rate of violent crime in South Carolina.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 34,860
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,190 (Seventh most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 11,233 (Most dangerous)
More on Myrtle Beach:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Ah, Myrtle Beach, a favorite of East Coast vacationers. While Myrtle Beach’s violent crime rate has been steadily decreasing, its property crime rates remain the highest in South Carolina.

Folks in Myrtle Beach had a 1 in 8 chance of having their stuff stolen or damaged over 2019, making Broadway at the Beach one of the few places where it’s not a bad idea to wear a wallet chain.

In fact, with the prevalence of property crime, Myrtle Beach has the highest overall crime rate in South Carolina, outstripping the national average by a whopping 365%.

Florence, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 37,640
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,187 (Eighth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,631 (Seventh most dangerous)
More on Florence:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

The core of the Pee Dee region in northeastern South Carolina, Florence comes in as the fourth least safe place to live. Florence recorded the sixth highest burglary rate statewide, averaging just over one break-in per day.

We just hope they have enough security at the Florence County Museum to stop any would-be heisters.

Violent crime is also all too prevalent in Florence, which experienced 447 such crimes over 2019. It’s also one of the few places listed here that’s seen a rise in both categories of crime.

Cheraw, SC

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 5,589
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,091 (12th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 7,389 (Fourth most dangerous)
More on Cheraw:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Up next on our list of South Carolina’s most dangerous places is Cheraw, a small town of 5,589 located in the Pee Dee region Cheras is among the poorest spots in South Carolina, which does usually go hand in hand with high crime.

Cheraw’s residents had a 1 in 13 shot of being the victim of a property crime over 2019, with about one larceny going down each day, on average. Chances are everyone in Cheraw knows somebody who’s been robbed or had their stuff damaged.

At least folks can get away to Cheraw State Park to take their minds off all the crime going down on the town’s streets.

Georgetown, SC

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,733
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 9)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,225 (Sixth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,217 (Tenth most dangerous)
More on Georgetown:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

As the third oldest city in South Carolina, you’d think Georgetown would have its act together by now. Located on the coast between Charleston and Myrtle Beach, Georgetown does get a lot of visitors passing through.

We just recommend you keep a close eye on your valuables when you’re enjoying the harborwalk, or you might join the 453 people who had their stuff stolen in 2019.

Georgetown isn’t just plagued by high rates of crime. A whole host of other issues landed the city near the top of our list of the worst places to live in South Carolina.

Union, SC

Source: Public domain

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,694
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 987 (14th most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,940 (Fifth most dangerous)
More on Union:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Most cities here have been seeing their crime rates go down in recent years, but the overall crime rate in Union grew from last year and moved the city up 9 spots on this list as a result.

Union residents had a 1 in 14 chance of being the victim of a property crime over 2019, so it’s a good idea to lock your home, your car, and even your lunchbox. On the bright side, Union is the least violent place on this list.

Still, with sharp rises in both categories of crime, the Union PD has their work cut out for them.

Spartanburg, SC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 37,754
Rank Last Year:
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,186 (Tenth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,489 (Ninth most dangerous)
More on Spartanburg:  | Cost Of Living

This. Is. Spartansburg! Located in “The Upstate” of South Carolina’s northwest, this city of 37,754 isn’t quite as hardcore as the Sparta of yore, but it’s still the eighth most dangerous place to live in South Carolina for 2021.

The city does a good job of preserving nature at the Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve, but we’re pretty sure residents would like local leaders to preserve the safety of the human population as well.

More than one burglary a day goes down in Spartansburg on average, which gives the city the third highest burglary rate in South Carolina. And with 448 violent crimes recorded in data year 2019, no one will blame you for keeping your guard up in Spartansburg.

Greenwood, SC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 23,427
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,494 (Third most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,515 (18th most dangerous)
More on Greenwood:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Greenwood hosts two festivals each year — Festival of Discovery and the Festival of Flowers.

Those might sound like peaceful gatherings, but these festivals contribute to Greenwood’s crazy high violent crime rate, which ranks as the third highest worst in South Carolina.

The rate of rape cases in Greenwood is the third highest statewide. And you can pretty much count on at least one violent crime happening each day In Greenwood.

Lake City, SC

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,541
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 4)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,712 (Most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,326 (26th most dangerous)
More on Lake City:  | Cost Of Living | Crime Report

Good news, bad news situation with Lake City, South Carolina’s tenth most dangerous place to call home in 2021. On the plus side, Lake City’s property crime rate is the lowest on this list. So you don’t have to worry much about someone picking your pocket while you’re gawking at Lake City’s all the murals and public art.

The bad news? Lake City residents had a 1 in 58 shot of being the victim of a violent attack in 2019. That represents a jump from last year — yikes. Most of the violent crimes were just aggravated assaults, but we’re pretty sure that won’t make the victims feel any better about it.

Graphing The Most Dangerous And Safest Places In South Carolina

Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina Graph

Click To Enlarge

How we determined the most dangerous cities in South 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 South Carolina cities over 5,000 in population. That left us with 57 cities in South Carolina.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 57 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 South Carolina — Darlington. 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 South Carolina.

Locking It All Up In South Carolina

So what is the most dangerous city in South Carolina? After analyzing 57 cities in South Carolina, Darlington takes the top spot as the most dangerous city in South Carolina based on the most recently reported FBI data — 2019.

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

We want to point out again that there’s still safes places in Darlington and that this isn’t a comment on the people that live there. So please don’t beat us up.

Yes, there are about 260 police officers per 100,000 residents, but they just can’t be everywhere. So, cities like Myrtle Beach and Greenwood are starting to feel the effects; but the place that’s getting hit the worst, is South Carolina’s most dangerous place, Darlington.

So, if you want to know the top ten most dangerous South Carolina places–where you shouldn’t let your kids out after dark–take a look at the list below. And if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, head to the bottom.

Learn more about the safest places in South 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 South Carolina:

  1. Clover (Pop. 6,575)
  2. Port Royal (Pop. 13,368)
  3. Clemson (Pop. 17,547)
  4. Mauldin (Pop. 25,453)
  5. Central (Pop. 5,380)
  6. Hanahan (Pop. 26,941)
  7. Bluffton (Pop. 24,812)
  8. Mount Pleasant (Pop. 92,448)
  9. Tega Cay (Pop. 11,322)
  10. Fort Mill (Pop. 21,219)

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

The Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Darlington 5,886 1,478 8,579
2 Hartsville 7,524 1,435 8,878
3 Myrtle Beach 34,860 1,190 11,233
4 Florence 37,640 1,187 6,631
5 Cheraw 5,589 1,091 7,389
6 Georgetown 8,733 1,225 6,217
7 Union 7,694 987 6,940
8 Spartanburg 37,754 1,186 6,489
9 Greenwood 23,427 1,494 5,515
10 Lake City 6,541 1,712 4,326
11 Camden 7,242 1,187 5,316
12 North Charleston 115,312 966 6,019
13 West Columbia 17,986 706 6,666
14 Cayce 14,211 971 5,657
15 Chester 5,368 1,527 3,967
16 Gaffney 12,528 814 5,850
17 Marion 6,373 863 5,695
18 Sumter 39,546 1,056 4,541
19 Batesburg-Leesville 5,389 1,131 4,100
20 Laurens 8,823 906 5,100
21 Forest Acres 10,320 620 6,172
22 Columbia 133,790 775 5,252
23 York 8,294 807 5,075
24 North Myrtle Beach 16,942 419 6,581
25 Clinton 8,412 784 4,148
26 Walterboro 5,429 386 5,820
27 Easley 21,390 458 5,133
28 Bennettsville 7,726 685 4,025
29 Aiken 30,922 575 4,847
30 Newberry 10,333 696 3,929
31 Greenville 69,830 575 4,016
32 Abbeville 5,017 936 2,451
33 Hardeeville 7,075 749 2,939
34 Rock Hill 75,342 660 3,346
35 Moncks Corner 11,986 458 3,470
36 Travelers Rest 5,339 93 5,843
37 Beaufort 13,485 430 3,411
38 Conway 26,127 424 3,383
39 Seneca 8,525 586 2,604
40 Greer 32,976 433 3,096
41 Summerville 52,886 351 3,142
42 Irmo 12,516 311 3,299
43 Lexington 22,160 324 2,851
44 Fountain Inn 10,375 433 1,937
45 North Augusta 23,875 230 2,726
46 Charleston 138,254 373 2,259
47 Simpsonville 23,682 194 2,681
48 Clover 6,575 288 2,387
49 Port Royal 13,368 299 1,735
50 Clemson 17,547 182 2,422

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.