South Carolina has beaches, mountains, and grassy plains. It is one of the most beautiful states in the country and attracts millions of visitors every year. However, despite the beauty on the outside, how safe is South Carolina?
Every year, the FBI releases the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics. These numbers depict crime in the United States and record “crime rates.” Crime rates are the most effective way to determine the safeness of an area. Crime rates can be calculated for small neighborhoods, large metro cities, or whole countries. Because crime rates can be adapted to fit specific populations, crime rates give accurate estimations of daily crime in an area.
To calculate crime rates, the total number of crimes in a given area is divided by the total population of the area. That number is then multiplied by 100,000 to give the number of crimes per 100,000 people. Using uniform crime rates, security experts can compare the crime data from New York (population of 8.6 million) to the crime data from Draper, Utah (population of 47,000).
Crime rates allow for the uniform comparison of crime across the United States, making it easy to compare the safeness of cities and towns. The FBI releases crime data for the nation by averaging crime data across all 50 states. The national crime rate is the average crime rate for all states. If a city’s crime rate is above the national average, the city is more dangerous than average; if a city’s crime rate is below the national average, the city is safer than average.
Crime rates are separated into two categories: violent crime and property crime. According to the National Institute of Justice, violent crimes include rape, sexual assault, robbery, domestic violence, assault, and murder. Property crimes include burglary, larceny, theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, shoplifting, and vandalism. Violent crime, because of the intensity of the crime, has lower average rates than property crime. The national average violent crime rate is 382.9 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, and the national property crime rate is 2,362.2 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.
Violent crimes are heinous and cause lasting emotional and physical trauma for victims. Depending on the severity of the crime, those convicted of violent crimes can face life in prison. The least severe sentence for violent crime is the conviction for robbery, which has a maximum jail time of 5 years. However, if the crime was committed with a weapon, the jail time can be increased to 20 years in prison. That being said, violent crimes are incredibly dangerous. Cities with high violent crime rates should be avoided, if possible.
South Carolina’s violent crime rate is 488 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The likelihood of becoming a victim of violent crime in South Carolina is 1 in 205. The murder rate of South Carolina is 8.0 in 100,000, compared to the national average murder rate of 5.0 per 100,000. Rape and assault rates are also higher in South Carolina. The rape rate is 48 in 100,000, while the national average is 43 in 100,000. The assault rate in South Carolina is 36.3 in 100,000, compared to the national average of 24.7 in 100,000. On the other hand, the robbery rate of 70 per 100,000 inhabitants is lower than the national average of 86 per 100,000.
Although the robbery rate is lower than the national average, the state is (as a whole) more dangerous than the national baseline. According to surveys, the homicide rates have increased in South Carolina by 4 percent from 2016 to 2017.
In order to combat the high crime rates in South Carolina, the state has 272 law enforcement agencies employing 11,674 police officers. The police department has also hired over 500 unsworn law enforcement officers. In total, the state offers 259 police officers for every 100,000 inhabitants.
Property crimes are less serious than violent crimes, though they can still be life-threatening crimes. Arson, with the intent to harm or kill, can result in a life sentence in prison. Theft often results in the least amount of jail time—often only a few months to a few years.
The property crime rate in South Carolina is 3,018 per 100,000 inhabitants. Those living in South Carolina have a 1 in 33 chance of being a victim of property crime. The most common property crime in South Carolina is theft, with 109,616 reported cases every year. The second most common type of property crime is burglary, with 29,473 cases every year. Homeowners are nearly twice as likely to have their homes burglarized in South Carolina, compared to the national average.
There are 60 colleges and universities in South Carolina. The largest university, the University of South Carolina in Columbia, has a student body of 34,731, as of 2017. The smallest college is W. L. Bonner College, with a total of 13 students and one professor.
College campuses often see high rates of property crime (burglary and theft) and low rates of violent crimes. The most common violent crime seen on college campuses is rape and sexual assault towards women. Women on college campuses face sexual abuse while at parties, while walking on campus, and while attending classes. Although women-led movements across the states have helped to decrease new cases of sexual assault against women, it is still a common campus crime.
In 2018, Ohio State reported 992 cases of inappropriate touching and 30 cases of rape against Richard H. Strauss, a team doctor for the university. A few weeks after the initial accusations, the total number of cases jumped to 1,500 cases of sexual abuse in 2018 and 2019. Another college, Michigan State, reported 1,013 rapes, all done by the same sports coach in a single year. Although these reports are severe, most colleges will not experience such high rates of sexual abuse. Typically, the most common crimes found on college campuses are possession of drugs and petty theft.
On the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, 1,098 crimes were reported in 2018. The most common crime on campus was disciplinary action. The second most common crime was the possession of illegal drugs.
Campus law enforcement on South Carolina campuses offers help to victims of crime. Law enforcement officers are on-call every hour of every day to ensure that college students feel safe and protected. Women on campus can ask campus officers to escort them through the campus at night if they are feeling unsafe. Hopefully, the measures taken by campus law enforcement will help students to feel safer on campus.
Not every city in South Carolina is dangerous. In fact, some cities may skew the state averages if certain cities are significantly more dangerous than others.
The most dangerous cities in South Carolina are:
The most dangerous city in South Carolina is Marion. Marion is one of the most dangerous places in the United States, and the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime or property crime are 1 in 10. In Marion, there are 1,527 violent crimes per 100,000 people and a surprising 8,167 property crimes per 100,000 people. This is not the right place to raise a family or take a night walk in the park. Crime in Marion is staggeringly high, making the city the most dangerous place to live in South Carolina.
The second most dangerous place to live in South Carolina is Hartsville. Hartsville has a population of 7,608 and sees 772 reported crimes every year. In Hartsville, there is a 1 in 10 chance that residents will become victims of either property crime or violent crime. The property crime rate in Hartsville is 8,648 (over 200 percent higher than the national average). The violent crime rate is 1,498. Hartsville is an incredibly dangerous place to live. Violence here is commonplace, and residents often are forced to return home before dark.
Myrtle Beach has the highest property crimes in South Carolina. The property crime report is 10,547 crimes per 100,000, earning the town the third most dangerous place in South Carolina. Essentially, while in Myrtle Beach, there is a 1 in 9 chance that you will be a victim of property crime. The most common crime in Myrtle beach is theft, followed closely by burglary and car theft. Residents need to fully protect their homes while in Myrtle Beach to prevent burglaries and thefts. The violent crime rate in Myrtle Beach is also extremely high, with 1,404 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Overall, Myrtle Beach is a town that should be avoided at night.
The North Charleston SC crime rate is the fourth highest crime rate in the state. The total crime rate was 921.79 crimes per 100,000 population. There are 1,039 violent crimes and 6,613 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. Due to the high crime rates in North Charleston, public safety experts recommend that inhabitants stay in the areas that are familiar to them. Not all of North Charleston is dangerous; however, specific areas of the town have extremely high violence due to drug abuse and gang violence.
Greenwood has a fairly large population of 23,265 people. However, with a large population, comes higher crime rates. The violent crime rate in Greenwood is 1,684, which is the second-highest violent crime rate in South Carolina. The property crime rate is 6,851 per 100,000. Even though the city has seen a decrease in crime over the last several years, there is still a 1 in 59 chance that residents will be victims of crime.
Batesburg-Leesville has the highest violent crime rate in South Carolina, with 1,710 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The property crime rate is 4,739 per 100,000. The area has abnormally high rates of violent crime compared to property crime, making the area an extremely dangerous place to be. While in Batesburg-Leesville, there is a 1 in 20 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.
The West Columbia SC crime rate is the seventh-highest in South Carolina. The violent crime rate is 1,042 per 100,000, and the property crime rate is 7,438 per 100,000 people. The crime rate here is 145 percent higher than the crime rate of South Carolina and 238 percent higher than the national average. West Columbia is known for gun-related violence due to drug and gang activity. Of course, not every community in West Columbia has high rates of violence. However, since some areas are prone to violence, it’s important that residents remain on guard and use necessary protective measures.
Conway is safer than 4 percent of United States cities, rating fairly low on the list. This means that 96 percent of cities in the United States are safer than Conway. Conway has a violent crime rate of 603 crimes per 100,000 people. The chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Conway are 1 in 158. The property crime rate is also fairly high, with a rate of 4,307 per 100,000 people, which is 200 percent more than the national average. The Conway SC crime rate fluctuates drastically depending on the neighborhood. To access up-to-date crime data about your neighborhood, check a crime map website such as SpotCrime.com.
The Greenville SC crime rate ensures that the town ranks as the ninth most dangerous town in South Carolina. There are 554 violent crimes and 4,316 property crimes per 100,000 people. While in Greenville, there is a 1 in 184 chance that you will become a victim of violent crime, making the city more dangerous than a majority of other cities in the United States.
In Lexington, the chance of becoming a victim of either property crime or violent crime is 1 in 29. The Lexington SC crime rate is 63 percent higher than the national average, making it one of the more dangerous towns in South Carolina. The violent crime rate in Lexington is 363 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The property crime rate is 3,059 crimes per 100,000. Lexington is not the most dangerous city in South Carolina. However, since some areas of Lexington are more dangerous than others, it’s important that residents learn to stay away from the more dangerous communities.
South Carolina is safe, as long as you know where you are. Some neighborhoods in South Carolina are extremely safe, while others rank as the most dangerous cities in the country. However, just because South Carolina has a few dangerous areas, does not make the state as a whole dangerous. Some of the safest cities in South Carolina are:
Isle of Palms is the safest city in South Carolina, and one of the safest cities in the country. With a violent crime rate of 0.0 per 100,000, families can be content to raise their families without the threat of nearby crime. The property crime rate in Isle of Palms is 18.2, an incredibly low rate for property crime. The median income in this area is $102,603, suggesting that this area is fairly affluent.
Port Royale is a beautiful area located next to bodies of water. The violent crime rate in this city is less than 1.2 per 100,000, making violence an extremely rare crime. The property crime rate is 15 crimes per 100,000 people. Port Royale is one of the safest places to live in South Carolina.
As the name of this city suggests, Mount Pleasant is an incredibly pleasant place to live. Homeowners can expect low crime and happy neighbors. The neighborhoods here are affluent, with a median income of $90,000 a year. The violent crime rate in Mount Pleasant is 1.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate is only 13.6 per 100,000.
Bluffton has a population of 22,578 people and is known for being an extremely welcoming area. In Bluffton, neighbors watch each other’s back and look out for one another. The violent crime rate in this area is 2.3 crimes per 100,000, and the property crime rate is 11.2 crimes per 100,000. Due to proactive policing, this area has been able to decrease crime rapidly over the past several years.
This community has extremely low rates of violent crime at 0.8 crimes per 100,000 people. However, in the past few years, there has been a small spike in property crime, dropping Tega Cay from the second safest city to the fifth. However, the city still maintains extremely low property crime rates of 20.1 crimes per 100,000 people.
Edgefield is a small South Carolina town with a population of 4,756 people. The neighborhoods are quaint, kind, and welcoming. This town has many new families looking for safe, yet inexpensive, areas to raise their families. The median income here is $23,487 and has low incidents of crime. The violent crime rate is 2.1, and the property crime rate is 12.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. Both crime rates are extremely low.
Hanahan, thanks to the local sheriff’s office, has had a drastic decrease in crime over the past five years. Now, the city sees less than 2.3 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate is at an all-time low for the town, with only 13.3 property crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. The law enforcement division has worked hard in this city to decrease crime rates and welcome new neighbors to the communities.
This town is located within Greenville country, yet it is one of the safest places to live in South Carolina. With a median income of $65,539, this area is perfect for the average family looking for a friendly town. The violent crime rate is low, with only 1.3 crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate in this town is also incredibly low, with only 17.3 crimes per 100,000.
Fort Mill is located just south of Charlotte, South Carolina, and has a population of 18,618. The crime rates here are low, and the people are happy and welcoming, making this an ideal neighborhood for new, hardworking residents. The violent crime rate here is 1.7, and the property crime rate is 17.6. Fort Mill increases in its safety levels every year and is one of the best places to live in South Carolina.
Central has a population of 5,180 and a median income of $26,623. The town is full of happy homeowners who love their lives. The violent crime rate here is incredibly low, with only 1.0 violent crime per 100,000 people. Needless to say, violent crime barely exists in Central. It has a property crime rate of 26.1 per 100,000, which is the only reason why the town isn’t ranked higher on our list of safest cities.
Regardless of where you live, it’s important for homeowners to protect themselves from the possibility of property crime. Often, those living in safe neighborhoods become complacent and stop locking their doors. When this happens, complacent homeowners are more likely to experience property crimes.
One of the best ways for residents in South Carolina to prevent their homes from being targeted is by installing a home security system. Countless surveys and studies have concluded that home security systems can deter crime in 60 percent of cases. Out of the 40 percent of cases where the burglar proceeds with the crime regardless of the security system, 80 percent will run off as soon as the alarm goes off.
Cove Security is one of the best home security providers for South Carolinians. Cove offers home security systems for only 15 dollars a month, nearly 40 dollars cheaper than its competitors. With complete home security systems, including indoor security cameras, motion sensors, and door alarms, residents of South Carolina can fully protect their homes and families with Cove Security.