Offering an abundance of affordable housing, a diverse landscape and cutting-edge tech industries, we’re not the least surprised that the state of North Carolina is growing. In fact, according to U.S. Census data, during the first decade of the 21st Century North Carolina was the 6th fastest-growing state in America, enjoying an 18.5 percent increase in population. And its unemployment rate continues to fall.
If you’re considering a move to North Carolina, SafeWise encourages you to explore our all-inclusive North Carolina Safety Directory, which provides you with everything you need to know about personal home security and crime prevention in The Tar Heel State. Then, read through our comprehensive safe city guide.
We’ve paired the most recent FBI Crime Report with our own independent examination to bring you North Carolina’s top 50 safest cities to settle in. To make our list, a city had to have a population of over 5,000 as of 2012 and needed to meet criteria regarding both violent and property crimes, according to FBI statistics from 2012. We analyze the number of Violent Crimes, consisting of aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, and robbery, as well as Property Crimes, consisting of arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Then we calculated the chance of these crimes happening out of 1,000 in order to level the playing field for the different populations of each city.
SafeWise wants you to keep in mind that although the FBI Crime Report is an outstanding, trusted source for crime statistics, not all North Carolina cities have reported complete data to the FBI.
If North Carolina is calling you, it’s time to discover your new hometown.
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Listed as a National Historic Landmark, Pinehurst residents have plenty of reason to be proud of their hometown. Not only is Pinehurst honored as the safest city in The Tar Heel state, it’s also a recreation hub. In fact, “Convention South” magazine recently named Pinehurst to their list of the “South’s Surprising Recreational Havens for Groups.”
Pinehurst has long been known as a golfer’s paradise but cycling, tennis, and equestrian activities are also popular with residents and guests. Surrounded by some of the country’s leading medical facilities, boasting an award winning police department and offering a robust Business Guild, newcomers will discover an unmatched quality of life in Pinehurst. If you need another reason to pack your bags for Pinehurst, check out its impressively low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .79
Property Crimes Per 1,000: .39
2. Holly Springs
Holly Springs should earn top spot on your list of places to relocate, especially if you have a young family. Located near the geographic middle of the East Coast, and just 20 miles from the state capital of Raleigh, the population of Holly Springs has more than doubled in size since 2000. There’s good reason for that. Not only is it the second safest city in North Carolina, it offers a highly ranked public school system, and has received accolades as a wonderful place to raise a family.
In 2013, Businessweek.com named Holly Springs “The Best Place to Raise Kids in North Carolina” and NerdWallet.com honored Holly Springs as the “Best Place for Home Ownership in North Carolina” as well as one of the “Best North Carolina Towns for Young Families.” Safety is the backbone of any community, and Holly Springs is no exception.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .54
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 1.94
Home to highly regarded Elon University, Elon is a quaint community that’s built on heritage, character and progress. Located in the stunning Piedmont area of central North Carolina, Elon residents can make the most of their lovely surrounding by heading to the popular Beth Schmidt Park where Fido enjoys his freedom at K-9 Corner, mom and dad challenge each other to a friendly game of disc golf, and toddlers go crazy over the playground which offers a number of play components that are accessible to children with special needs.
The Elon Police Department might be small, but its use of technology is impressive. Its website offers citizens the convenience of requesting a Vacation Home Check or filing a report for a minor incident. Residents can also use the comprehensive report data base to search for reports 24/7. An important component of Elon’s appeal is its low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .41
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.28
If you’re looking for the best of small town living with all the amenities of a large city, you may have just discovered your new home. Located in Wake County, Apex is a welcoming community situated near Raleigh that’s flourishing thanks to its innovative programs. Move to Apex and your family will enjoy a brand new nature park that sports an amphitheater, tennis clinics, disc golf demos and more, plus a first-rate cultural arts center.
The Halle Cultural Arts Center provides the 40,000 member community of Apex with brilliant performances and popular programming for youth. From drawing and painting to a creativity packed Spring Break Theatre Camp, drama groups and even voice lessons, a full spectrum of classes for the arts is waiting to be explored.
Wondering what development opportunities await you in Apex? Take a look at the city’s amazing interactive development map that shows approved, planned and proposed development. In addition to friendly neighbors, recreation and a focus on the arts, you’ll also be thankful for Apex’s high marks for safety.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .84
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.25
The leaders of Winterville know that a town is only as strong as its people, and creating a family-friendly atmosphere is at the top of their to-do list. From Pee Wee baseball to the annual Watermelon Festival, Winterville residents have plenty of reasons to mix and mingle. They are also offered the chance to unite by participating in town boards such as the Board of Adjustment, Planning Board and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. When summer rolls in, it’s not uncommon for families join together and make the short trip to the beach.
Winterville exudes the welcoming small town vibe eastern North Carolina is known for, plus it offers the convenience of living near the much larger city of Greenville. Known for its abundant shopping, award winning medical facilities and institutes of higher learning, Greenville is just a 15 minute drive north. Winterville’s community cohesiveness may be one reason why its citizens don’t have to be preoccupied with safety.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.15
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 1.99
Affordable, green and citizen focused are just a few ways to describe the growing town of Morrisville. Located just 15 miles west of Raleigh, Morrisville is making quite a name for itself. In fact, just this month it was honor by NerdWallet.com as the eighth “Best Place for Home Ownership in North Carolina,” boasting a home ownership rate of 48.8 percent and monthly homeowner costs of $1,825. Morrisville also earns accolades for its commitment to the environment.
A participant in the North Carolina League of Municipalities “Green Challenge,” Morrisville consistently seeks ways to conserve energy and promote sustainability. The town is currently working toward “advanced” level Green Challenge certification. Morrisville leaders offer citizens a number of ways to voice their concerns and ideas, plus capture important insights into the community. Morrisville 101 is a free annual citizen’s academy open to residents 16 years of age and older. The academy not only allows citizens to connect with one another but also helps them develop as effective leaders in their community.
As if we need another reason to recommend Morrisville, its crime rate is remarkably low.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .56
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.78
When you live in Stallings you’ll enjoy all the perks of suburban life plus an easy 20 minute commute into Charlotte. At the hub of this 14,000 member community is Stallings Municipal Park. This is the place where citizens of all ages gather to enjoy a variety of events, such as beach parties, game and fitness nights, movies galore and celebrations like the one planned for Earth and Arbor Day.
We were impressed to find that Stallings maintains a professional newsletter with an entire page dedicated to information from the Stallings Police Department, and its website offers newcomers a comprehensive resident page. Only minutes away from the state’s most populated city, we were also pleased to discover Stallings residents keep criminals at bay.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .70
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.73
A mere 20 minutes directly west of Raleigh you’ll discover the progressive, safe town of Cary. Cary does an outstanding job of seizing new communication technologies to help improve its citizens’ quality of life. For example the JouleBug app seeks to make Cary more sustainable and the CaryHaveYourSay.com website gathers citizens’ opinions that will be used to create an updated Community Plan. The interactive website asks residents to do things like explain what places reflect the best of Cary and shouldn’t be changed and then mark their top five favorite areas on the Idea Map.
Cary’s Public Information Office does a remarkable job of keeping the community informed and encouraging participation in government. With approximately 150,000 residents, Cary is the seventh largest municipality in the state, and that makes its low crime rate even more extraordinary.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .81
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.62
9. Black Mountain
If you’re thinking of launching or growing a business, you’ll be happy to hear that Black Mountain welcomes entrepreneurs and small business owners with open arms. In fact, Black Mountain received the first Certified Entrepreneurial Community certification in the entire country, and is honored for its active youth entrepreneurial program. Located in the lovely Swannanoa Valley of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain is only 20 minutes from Asheville, but with the wealth of resources in your backyard you’ll head there less often than you’d imagine.
Whether you’re meeting friends for coffee, enjoying an al fresco dinner with your spouse, or shopping for a one-of-a-kind piece of pottery, Black Mountain’s historic downtown is the place to be. And if your family goes crazy for festivals, you’re in luck. When you live in Black Mountain you’ll enjoy more than half a dozen annual festivals, including a number of art festivals like the Black Mountain Art and Crafts Show, and Art in Bloom Art. All this, and Black Mountain offers safe streets too.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.12
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.98
10. Wake Forest
Just north of Raleigh you’ll find the growing community of Wake Forest. We warn you, you’ll fall hard and fast for this suburban paradise. Best yet, short of packing the moving van, Wake Forest does all it can to help you get settled in your new hometown stress free. You’ll want to check out the community’s comprehensive Customer Service page and Newcomers page for helpful links, and don’t miss the Official Guide to Wake Forest. Wake Forest also has an official app that gives you the 411 on downtown happenings, lets you report street maintenance problems, and even check to see if your kid’s soccer game has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
If you’re craving quality entertainment, you’ll want to head to the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre. Managed by the Wake Forest Parks and Recreation Department, the Renaissance Center is bursting with activities. From puppet theater to scrapbooking nights, to music, dances, and balls, this hub of creativity is a place you’ll get to know well. And when you put down roots in Wake Forest, you can expect to enjoy crime free neighborhoods.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.56
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.60
A suburban town of Charlotte, you’ll have a hard time finding a town that’s so close to a major city, yet retains the charm and ambiance of Matthews. Take a look at its community calendar and you’ll quickly see Matthews is big on community gatherings and takes art appreciation seriously.
From BeachFest to summer camps, First Friday Films to Artfest, Matthews does an amazing job of offering a diverse assortment of events for its citizens to enjoy. As you roam around town, you’ll notice art everywhere, including dynamic bronze sculptures, whimsical pieces and colorful creations that will catch your toddler’s eye.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.66
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.75
Safe, active and progressive are three words that accurately describe the city of Huntersville. Situated 15 miles directly north of Charlotte, Huntersville has a large population of roughly 50,000 but that doesn’t stop it from feeling like a close community.
One way its residents get to know one another is through healthy activity. Discovery Place KIDS offers children dozens of ways to get moving and explore their world through hands on activities that develop their sense of accomplishment. The Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics Center offers more programming for kids than we’ve ever seen, including a triathlon training program for children as young as four years of age, followed by a kids triathlon series during the summer.
It’s no wonder why Huntersville made the list of Movoto.com’s10 Best Cities in North Carolina in 2013, and we’re not the least surprised it also received kudos from NerdWallet.com which ranked it number six on its list of Top Places in NC for Job Seekers.
Huntersville has a focus on fitness, but it’s also serious about crime. In fact, the police department recently invited citizens to meet with their neighborhood police officer and enjoy a free cup of Joe. The Coffee with a Cop program provides an opportunity for citizens to ask questions of their local police officer, voice concerns and find out about more about the department’s work in their neighborhood. Two thumbs up to the Huntersville Police Department for this brilliant idea! Programs like this may be one reason why Huntersville residents enjoy a low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.75
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.75
13. Mint Hill
On the outskirts of Charlotte, you find the quintessential all-American town of Mint Hill. May brings movies to the lawn of Town Hall, June delivers free concerts and its annual Mint Hill Madness event lives up to its name. The festival celebrates the founding of Mint Hill and it is a much anticipated, don’t-miss community event that includes a carnival, parade, mouth watering treats, music and a fireworks show that will have your entire family oohing and ahhing.
If you’re looking to make friends fast and immerse yourself in your new hometown, you’ll want to consider joining one of Mint Hill’s many civic organizations, such as the Arts and Science Council, Mint Hill Arts, or Mint Hill Historical Society. When it’s time to travel for business or pleasure, you’ll find the Charlotte Douglas International Airport is less than 20 miles west of the city. Mint Hill’s civic oriented citizens may be one reason why crime is kept to a minimum.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.65
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 4.24
Skirting gorgeous Lake Norman, you’ll find the booming community of Cornelius. From 2000 to 2010, Cornelius more than doubled in size, from approximately 12,000 residents to more than 24,000. And we’re not the least surprised, because you know what they say about location.
The lakefront town spans roughly 70 miles of Lake Norman’s 520 miles of shoreline, and offers residents every water related activity you can imagine. The diverse community also boasts 10 public parks, and if golf is your preferred pastime activity, you’ll be happy to hear Cornelius offers an 18-hole championship golf course. Bursting with activity and filled with beautiful water views, Cornelius is also safe.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.28
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.64
If you’re searching for a strategically located place to build you business, you’ll want to learn more about the safe community of Archdale. Situated in the popular Piedmont Triad region of the state, Archdale is intersected by two major highways and close to two large cities: High Point and Greensboro. According to the Archdale city website, one million people live within a 30 mile radius of the city and the Archdale City Council works aggressively to help capture economic development opportunities.
If offering your family an active lifestyle is important to you, you’ll feel good about a move to Archdale. That’s because the city owns more than 100 acres of parkland. It also continues to develop the Creekside Park Walking Trails and the Pedestrian Network Plan which will eventually consist of 34 miles of sidewalk and 13.5 miles of greenways.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.12
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 5.35
16. Boiling Spring Lakes
Pair a relaxed lifestyle with access to every amenity you could want, and you will have created Boiling Springs Lake. Chartered less than 50 years ago, Boiling Springs Lake is an up and coming community located near the much larger city of Wilmington, N.C., and its residents enjoy an easy drive to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
True to its name, the 23 square mile community is dotted with lakes of every size. In fact, when you settle down in Boiling Springs Lakes you’ll discover 50 enticing lakes that are perfect for a day of kayaking, fishing or an invigorating sail. Other popular activities include disc golf, excursions to historic Ft. Fisher and a slew of family-friendly events like Spring Fling at the Lakes and a community summer camp that kids beg for. New playgrounds, walking trails and shopping centers surround a variety of affordable housing, and if safe streets are what you’re searching for, you’ve found them.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.07
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 5.57
Located in Western North Carolina, Brevard measures just 5.12 square miles. But don’t let its diminutive size fool you. Brevard has a reputation as a hub for the arts and the gateway to activity. Downtown Brevard is bustling with several creative annual festivals, such as the ever popular White Squirrel Music Festival. In addition to the arts, Brevard citizens also benefit from an average summer temperature of just 71.3 degrees and that makes recreation a major pursuit with Brevard families.
Call Brevard home and you’ll find your family putting down their electronics and picking up inner tubes for an invigorating float down a local stream, or strapping on hiking boots and exploring one of the many local trails. Brevard is the perfect jumping off point for excursions to Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, and Gorges State Park. Whether you want to surround yourself with the arts, or fish, canoe, kayak, camp, or rock climb you’ll have the chance to do it all in this safe quaint community. Watch this video and learn more about Brevard’s small town appeal and abundant recreation.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.62
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 4.32
Urban and rural space exist in harmony in Fletcher. Home to the Asheville Regional Airport, which transports residents to places like Houston, Atlanta and Chicago, and just 13 miles south of Asheville, Fletcher remains decidedly low-key. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fletcher is a place active people flock to. The community of roughly 7,000 residents offers two community parks, and it’s perfectly located to enjoy an impromptu trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which offers vistas you’ll never tire of.
And when visitors land on your doorstep (and trust us, they will) you’ll head to the Biltmore Estate or stunning Chimney Rock Park. Make the move to Fletcher and you’ll enjoy a tax rate that’s just $.32.5 per $100 of assessed value; that’s nearly $.20 less than the county average. Safe, future thinking, yet mindful of the rural character that make it an unmatched place to call home, Fletcher is fabulous!
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.09
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.45
It’s only fitting that a town named after the great adventurer and pioneer Daniel Boone be bursting with outdoor pursuits! One of North Carolina’s most beloved recreation centers, Boone offers the active family year-round outdoor thrills. Call Boone home and your family will also benefit from a consistently high ranked school system, close proximity to well respected Appalachian State University, and the Appalachian Regional Medical Center.
Boone also boasts Rocky Knob Park which offers some the finest mountain biking in the East. Parents looking for a weekend retreat won’t need to go far, as Boone is home to a handful of sensational spas and the Boone Area Wine Trail. Relax as you sip on a regional favorite and chat with vineyard owners, then take a few bottles of the best blend home. Rest assured, Boone is bursting with good vibes that your whole family will enjoy.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.95
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 5.64
Clayton earns high marks for safe neighborhoods and excellent schools. And its government takes both seriously. In fact, District Attorney Susan Doyle recently honored Officer Vause as the Johnston County Law Enforcement Officer of the Month for his exceptional work at keeping drunk drivers off the roads. In addition to the hardworking officers of the Clayton Police Department, the teachers and parents of Clayton also deserve two thumbs up. BusinessWeek.com ranked Clayton’s schools among the top in the U.S., giving it an “average school rating” of 9.3 out of a possible 10.
BusinessWeek also honored the town as one of the top 10 most affordable places for families to call home and enjoy access to a stellar educational system. Clayton residents are justifiably proud that it was the only town in North Carolina to make that list. A mere 20 minutes from the state capital of Raleigh, and an easy drive to the infamous Research Triangle, Clayton offers affordable living and an easy commute for professionals. And thanks to the hard work of the Clayton Police Department and citizen involvement, Clayton has nominal crime.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.50
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.25
Waxhaw residents are proud of their past and zealous about what’s to come. Located a convenient 23 miles south of Charlotte, the roughly 11,000 member community of Waxhaw loves a good festival. In fact, there are community gathering events planned year-round. In fall, backyard chefs and professionals show off their culinary skills at the Grill’n & Chill’n BBQ Cook-off.
When winter rolls in, residents enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas festival, spring means it’s time for the much anticipated Spring Fest, and summer is synonymous with Jammin’ by the Tracks free Friday night concerts. One of the best things about living in Waxhaw is the Waxhaw Farmers Market. It’s open through all seasons and gives residents the chance to enjoy fresh treats grown by their neighbors. Move to the designated Small Town Main Street Community and take in the pleasures of a downtown that’s making an aggressive comeback.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.37
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.68
The 10 square mile community of Belmont might be small in size, but it’s big on beauty. Situated among gently rolling hills and the banks of Lake Wylie and the Catawba River, Belmont boasts a huge variety of things to do that will keep your family fit. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is the place to head if your family is seeking thrills. In addition to whitewater rafting, this one-of-a-kind facility also offers zip lining, standup paddleboarding, summer camps, race series and more.
For a more relaxed, but equally enjoyable day, head to the ever-changing Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. This world renowned 380-acre garden retreat draws visitors from around the world, but you’re lucky enough to have it at your back door. Book at birthday party your child will never forget, or let them take part in a Garden Adventure Camp. Moms and dads will want to take advantage of the garden’s many classes, lectures and workshops. Learn beekeeping, sharpen your photography skills or finally start that organic vegetable garden.
Move to Belmont and you’ll quickly fall in love with the Downtown Belmont Historic District, which displays tremendous examples of Tudor Revival and Bungalow/Craftsman architecture, old fashioned streetlamps, brick sidewalks and charm that can’t be replicated.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.13
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 5.08
23. Mount Holly
If you’re looking for a thriving business community and a government that appreciates citizen involvement, Mount Holly could be your next home sweet home. Situated just west of the Catawba River and only minutes from Charlotte, Mount Holly offers your business a well educated, motivated workforce and access to one of the nation’s premier airports, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Relocate to Mount Holly and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that your opinion counts. That’s because Mount Holly participates in the Connect Our Future program that’s focused on gathering citizen input into how the region should develop over the next 50 years. Spend five minutes taking the online survey and you’ll have contributed the region’s preferred growth plan. Mount Holly earns two thumbs up for taking part in this comprehensive planning program that’s overflowing with interactive maps and more. Safe, business oriented and pro-actively planning a positive future, Mount Holly is one of the state’s most impressive locales.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.46
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 4.76
If you’re searching for a city that takes your child’s education seriously, you’ll be pleased with Cherryville. This thriving, safe city is located in North Carolina’s western Piedmont region and is less than an hour from the heart of Charlotte. Cherryville citizens are known for their support of the local school system. In fact, in addition to traditional parent-teacher organizations, the Cherryville High School Education Foundation (CHSEF) contributes to programming at the high school level.
Founded less than five years ago, CHSEF is on a mission to deliver supplemental funding for educational and instructional programs. Just two years after the non-profit organization took hold, it had raised more than 20,000 for Cherryville High School. Safe and education focused, the city of Cherryville is perfect for families. Cherryville is near all the resources offered by larger cities, but maintains its own unique identity and an impressively low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.22
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.16
Spend a few minutes learning about the Raleigh suburb of Garner and you’ll agree it lives up to it motto, “It’s a great place to be.” That’s because residents are just a short drive from the amenities of a large city, but still enjoy a friendly, small town atmosphere.
Safe neighborhoods, 350 acres of parkland, and highly regarded schools are just a few reasons why Garner has been honored by Movoto.com as one of the 10 Best Cities in North Carolina and named as one of the 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in North Carolina. Named as an All American City in 2013, Garner also offers a delightful downtown, amazing performing arts center and one of the finest recreation and cultural resources programs we’ve ever discovered.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.42
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.10
Located in Davie County, just one hour from Charlotte and Greensboro, Mocksville is strategically situated in a major transportation corridor. Make the move to Mocksville and it won’t take long before you notice that economic development is strong. Mocksville boasts a pro-business philosophy and works hand-in-hand with the Davie County Chamber of Commerce and the Davie County Economic Development Commission to support both large and small businesses.
In December 2013, the Davie County Economic Development Commission launched the “Together We Are Davie” capital campaign that aims to raise $1 million over the next five years to create jobs and grow the local economy through new business recruitment, product development and an “Opportunity Fund.”
If you’re an entrepreneur or you’re considering relocating your business to Mocksville, now is the time. If you have kids, you’ll be happy to hear that just like the economy, education is also a priority in Mocksville. The town offers state-of-the-art pre-K through early college programs that rival those of metropolitan areas.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.16
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.78
27. Chapel Hill
Home to one of the most respected universities in the nation, Chapel Hill was once honored as the “Most Livable City” in America. An outstanding, fare-free transit system and forward thinking police department could have something to do with citizens’ overwhelming satisfaction with the city. According research firm ETC Institute, Chapel Hill residents ranked city services well above regional and national benchmarks. And almost 90 percent of residents responding to the survey reported satisfaction with the overall quality of life in Chapel Hill. Exceptionally high satisfaction ratings were reported for how safe residents feel in their neighborhoods during daylight hours (99 percent).
We think the Chapel Hill Police Department deserves recognition for its Police2Citizen website that gives residents the power to view and map recent crime activities and arrests, search for specific incidents and access arrest records. The police department also offers a detailed Apartment Crime Statistics webpage which is an asset to parents sending their kids off to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill’s go-getting police department may be one reason why crime is kept at bay in this college town.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.48
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.71
Young, vibrant and affordable are just a few words that describe this Raleigh metro area community. Knightdale has a median resident age of 30 and was recently ranked number three on Movoto.com’s 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in North Carolina. Making families happy is at the top of Knightdale’s to-do list. Packed with parks and greenways, Knightdale is committed to creating outdoor space that brings families out of their homes and helps them get to know their neighbors.
Knightdale Station is a state-of-the-art green space that’s still growing, but already offers a children’s playground, dog park, walking and running trails and athletic fields. The beautiful Mingo Creek Trail runs along the Mingo Creek and is due to open in just one month. It will offer families, runners and cyclists the chance to travel through several communities, and it will conveniently connect to Raleigh’s Neuse River Trail. If you’re searching for an active family lifestyle at an affordable price, Knightdale is a sure bet. You’ll also appreciate it high marks for safety.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.10
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.14
Situated in the fastest growing large metro region in the country, yet decidedly laid-back, Morrisville has a lot to offer. You’ll find Mooresville near the east side of lovely Lake Norman and 30 minutes north of Charlotte. Mooresville is known to many as “Race City USA” because it’s home to a handful of racing technology suppliers as well as NASCAR racing teams and drivers.
Racing is just one of Mooresville’s pastimes. Cruises on Lake Norman, dinner in downtown Mooresville, and tearing up the fairways at Mooresville Golf Course are just a few of the other activities that residents of this 30,000 member community take pleasure in. Mooresville earns our praise for offering a diverse collection of ways to be active but it also deserves a high-five for its use of technology to help citizens engage with their community. Mooresville participates in Connect our Future, which gives residents the power to voice their opinion about how the region should develop over the next few decades and Digital Mooresville offers users the chance to enjoy a collection of family papers, historic maps, films, images, and walking tours that not only offer insight into Mooresville’s past, but also where it’s headed.
We weren’t surprised to discover that this forward thinking community and its neighbor Statesville have been honored as the Number One Micropolitan Area in the Nation nearly a dozen times by “Site Selection” magazine. More good news: when you move to Mooresville you won’t be anxious about crime.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.90
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.67
Just off I-95 and less than one hour east of Raleigh, you’ll find this North Carolina gem. Safety focused, historic and inventive, Nashville is only three square miles but it’s big on smart programs that help community members bond. Founded in 1780, Nashville also boasts an unmatched collection of Victorian and Queen Anne style homes that add to its appeal. The Nashville Police Department clearly recognizes that its abilities are tied to its relationship with the community. From Coffee with a Cop to Badges and Books, the Nashville Police Department offers the community fun ways to get to know the officers that keep them safe. Settle in Nashville and you might be surprised to see a police officer leading a special story time and offering your kids free face painting.
To further enhance community relationships the police department offers an impressive project named Watchdog. The Watchdog project divides the town into “Zones” and assigns a patrol officer to each one. That officer takes charge of community services project in his “Zone” which helps him become more familiar with residents. Leading Safety Meetings, soliciting comments and concerns and developing community partnerships are a few of the Watchdog project’s goals. An innovative police department and concerned citizenry undoubtedly contribute to Nashville’s low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.66
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.30
Sanford offers residents a short drive to several major North Carolina cities, including Raleigh, Charlotte, High Point and Fayetteville, but chances are you’ll find everything you need right at home. That includes a downtown that’s constantly calling you. The non-profit Downtown Sanford, Inc. is dedicated to economic vibrancy and quality of life in Downtown Sanford, and it’s on a mission to exploit the areas assets. Head downtown and your family will enjoy fresh delights at the Sanford Farmers Market, and events like Art Walk 7. Hosted by the entertaining Temple Theatre, Art Walk 7 blends wine tasting, music, and art for an afternoon that will delight your senses.
Sanford Second Sunday gives you the chance to spend a few hours shopping locally while enjoying the creative pursuits of street vendors, and when you’re looking for a place to read a book or enjoy a live concert head to Depot Park. This urban park is a gathering place for all kinds of events and programs, and includes the Sanford Railroad House and a museum. Convenient to a handful of major cities, safe, and offering an entertaining downtown, it’s no wonder that those who call Sanford home are proud to do so.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.05
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.18
Centrally located in the hub of the popular Piedmont Triad Area of North Carolina, Kernersville offers an easy drive to the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. Get a Kernersville address and it won’t be long before you realize it’s a community that’s rich with things to do. Committed to growth, but respectful of its small town appeal, Kernersville is full of pride. Education is an especially vital part of this blossoming community.
The public school system enjoys partnerships, grant programs and mentoring opportunities with local business and entrepreneurial leaders. It’s also a fabulous place for embarking on a college career or enhancing your education because 18 colleges and universities are located within a 20 mile radius of Kernersville. A diverse selection of activities, a focus on education and nominal crime are just a few reasons why those who move to Kernersville rarely leave.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 4.61
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 6.30
Come home to King and enjoy a breath of fresh air! Small enough where neighbors still chat and home-town values are cherished, yet near all off the opportunities offered by the much larger city of Winston-Salem, King offers the best of both worlds. The All American Community knows how to balance growth yet retain the charm that has made it so appealing. It’s also full of pride when it comes to educating its youngest members. In fact, volunteers of the non-profit Stokes Partnership for Children have dedicated countless hours to enhancing community life in Stokes County and promoting the learning and well-being of the area’s youth.
In addition to quality education, residents of King enjoy access to two of the state’s most cherished parks: Pilot Mountain State Park and Hanging Rock State Park. The parks ensure adventurous types will never run out of adrenaline pumping activities, and those looking for some well deserved rest and relaxation can enjoy a leisurely horseback ride through the woods, picnic by a waterfall, or rent a rustic cabin for the ultimate mini getaway. In addition to a focus on education, friendly folks and a decidedly peaceful vibe, you’ll also be pleased about King’s safe streets.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.30
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.61
Known as the “City of Oaks” in honor of its many oak trees, Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina. And despite the fact that it’s the second most populated city in the state, it remains quite safe. Raleigh is bursting with economic opportunities, culture, arts, incredible dining and is home to Research Triangle Park, one of the largest research parks in the world. And it’s also committed to the environment. The city’s Office of Sustainability works to make Raleigh a better place by focusing on the interdependent relationships between economic vitality, environments stewardship and social equity. It recognizes individuals and organizations that perform outstanding work in environmental stewardship with its annual Environmental Awards that include recognizing the environmental accomplishments of Raleigh’s youth.
Urban community gardening is bolstered by Raleigh City Farm, an organization that’s determined to transform unexpected downtown spaces into fertile growing places that produce locally grown foods. Congratulations to the leaders and citizens of Raleigh for their commitment to the environment that undoubtedly makes Mother Earth smile.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 4.23
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.21
Conover is safe, friendly, and forward thinking when it comes to keeping citizens healthy and active. Located one hour north of Charlotte, Conover offers its roughly 8,000 citizens eight neighborhood parks and recently received a grant to improve active living opportunities for residents. It also wants to hear what amenities the community hopes to enjoy at the new Conover City Park. The Conover YMCA is the place to head for family fun, year-round camps, classes and special events. When mom and dad want a treat they’ll head straight for Rock Barn Golf and Spa.
In addition to a fabulous golf course and relaxing spa, the site also offers tennis, an equestrian center, swimming, fishing, and much more. Conover Police Department doesn’t shy away from using technology to its fullest. It offers residents access to an online survey in an effort to continually gauge community satisfaction and identify community needs. And recently, one of the department’s sergeants earned his advanced law enforcement certification. Welcoming neighbors, activities galore and a progressive police department may be a few reasons why Conover is one of North Carolina’s safest cities.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.03
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.49
Image: City of Conover
Carrboro has transitioned from an old mill town into a vibrant, proudly progressive community that values the arts and diversity. And if you were ever looking for a town that loves a good party, you needn’t search any longer. Carrboro celebrates creativity with events like 2nd Friday Art Walks, the Carrboro Film Festival, the Carrboro Music Festival and the amazing NC Comedy Arts Festival.
Carrboro’s annual Kite Day, and numerous holiday parades also lure residents from their homes to enjoy the charm of small-town living. An incredibly walkable town, Carrboro is the kind of place where you’ll catch up with friends at the year-round farmers’ market or chat with a boutique owner over coffee. Small business owners and artisans will find that Carrboro residents will go out of their way to spend their dollars locally. Rich in cultural and economic diversity and safe too, you’ll be hard pressed to find another community with as much to offer as Carrboro.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.08
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.61
The County Seat of Catawba County, Newton is situated in the triangle formed by the larger cities of Asheville, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte. Its mild climate encourages residents to explore the many recreational opportunities offered in their own backyards as well as those that are found in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Newton has taken great care to nurture its diverse industrial base and as a result, it’s home to an array of companies that produce everything from fiber optic cable to telecommunications technology, medical supplies and furniture.
Newton’s business friendly environment hasn’t been overlooked. “Business North Carolina” magazine ranked the region as having the second-best business environment of N.C.’s 50th largest communities and “Inc. Magazine” has twice named the Newton region as one of the top entrepreneurial areas in America. Plus, the local Hickory Regional Airport and the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport make life easy on business travelers. As if we needed another reason to fall in love with Newton, its crime rate is remarkably low.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.06
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 9.70
Image: Dan Johnson
38. Siler City
Approximately 30 miles southeast of the bustling city of Greensboro you’ll discover the relaxed town of Siler City. Rural in character with a decidedly small town identity, Siler City is a place where civic pride runs deep. And there’s good reason for that. Neighboring small towns have been swallowed up larger cities, but Siler City citizens have worked diligently to retain their distinctiveness. One way they have done so is through their commitment to the arts. Siler City’s NC Arts Incubator has played an important role in the town’s creative development. Located in a handful of buildings in the city’s historic district, when you visit the NC Arts Incubator you’ll find artists working with glass, metal, clay, and more. Open studios encourage interaction with artisans, and a retail gallery offers the chance to take home a one-of-a-kind, locally made creation.
Siler City is also home to the 2014 Milo Holt Western Film Festival. ExploreSilerCity.com offers residents a way to keep up on all the current happenings and community resources in their town. Access to quality healthcare, and higher education offered by the Siler City campus of Central Carolina Community College round-out the reasons why nearly 10,000 people call the safe city of Siler home.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.22
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.57
Just five minutes outside of Asheville, one of North Carolina’s most popular cities, you’ll find the quaint and affordable community of Woodfin. Situated along the banks of the French Broad River, Woodfin is a place where residents enjoy a relaxed pace of life that’s incredibly addicting. Filled with friendly folks, it won’t take you long to feel at home in Woodfin, and you’ll never hear the kids proclaim their “bored” because Woodfin is surrounded by amazing stretches of open space. Situated in the Appalachian Mountains, the Pisgah National Forest offers white water rivers, waterfalls, and some of the state’s most amazing wildlife watching as well as hundreds of miles of picturesque trails.
The largest national forest in the state, Nantahala National Forest, is only a short drive away and offers more than 500,000 acres of adventure. From whitewater rafting to horseback riding, hiking to biking, camping and bird watching you’ll never have enough time to traverse the Forest’s 600 miles of trails. Safe, friendly and laid back, Woodfin makes a wonderful home.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.11
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 10.70
Enjoy this virtual tour of Fuquay-Varina and find out for yourself why its population has more than double in the last decade. Only 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh and the famous Research Triangle Park, Fuquay-Varina offers a number of innovative business programs that let you know economic development is a priority. The city’s Business Bridge Program is lead by the town’s Economic Development Director who works as the point of contact between businesses and town government. The Economic Development Committee of Fuquay-Varina’s Chamber of Commerce offers an unparalleled resource for people interested in relocating their business to Fuquay-Varina, or starting one in the booming community.
And in addition to SCORE counseling, Fuquay-Varina now offers SCORE Workshops to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup ventures succeed. Find yourself in Fuquay-Varina and you’ll feel good knowing that you’re protected by a dynamic police department. The Fuquay-Varina Police Department earns our respect for reaching out to youth and providing them with interactive, fun programs. The department’s annual Teen Day Fuquay is all about hands-on experiences that help youth understand the dangers associated with drinking and distracted driving. There’s no preaching at the popular event, but there’s lots of food, prizes and music. The police department also runs a Police Explorers program which helps kids gain insight into what life as a law enforcement officer is all about. A thriving economy and a pro-active police force are just two reasons why this growing community has held crime at bay.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 4.38
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 7.53
Over the last three decades, Morganton has been investing into its downtown and it’s paying off big time. Recently Morganton’s Main Street was selected as a finalist for the People’s Choice Great Main Street Contest sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association. Morganton’s Main Street program has helped pump more than $60 million dollars of public and private investment into downtown and has played a crucial role in helping it regain status as the hub of the community. Stroll downtown and you’ll be treated to great coffee, live jazz, free concerts, art galore, craft beer and free Wi-Fi.
Morganton’s open-air farmers’ market is the place to head for the freshest veggies your family ever enjoyed and rain or shine you won’t want to miss Morganton’s TGIF Free Friday night concert series. Make the move to Morganton and you can sign up for text alerts that will keep you in the loop about all the downtown happenings. If you’re a business owner, or hope to become one, you can get a jump start on the planning process by taking a peek at the properties available downtown. Minimal traffic and low crime only add to Morganton’s distinctive charm.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.04
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 9.13
Historic, artsy and welcoming are a just a few words that describe the quaint railroad town of Aberdeen. Aberdeen is amazingly diverse with opportunities, but one of the most cherished pastimes is golf. Only a few miles from the infamous golf mecca of Pinehurst, you’d better pack your clubs if you’re headed for Aberdeen. Railroad enthusiasts will be thrilled to learn that this safe N.C. city is full of exciting railroad history.
Aberdeen’s National Register historic district is the place to head for meeting up with friends at a café or shopping for a gift handcrafted by a local artist. Creativity is a cherished talent in Aberdeen and the Artists League of the Sandhills helps keep it that way. Formed nearly a decade ago, the organization offers creative art classes and workshops, and gives artists a place to come together and get inspired by one another.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.69
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.78
Leland is ideally positioned for the family who wants it all. Step out your door and it won’t be long before you find yourself walking Wilmington’s famous historic waterfront or settling in one of its restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood. Or, rent a kayak and explore any one of the area’s tranquil waters or paddle to isolated Eagles Island. If you prefer land activities, pack a picnic and enjoy a family hike through the Green Swamp Preserve or the 900-acre Brunswick Nature Park.
Leland is surrounded by excellent golf courses, and when the kids get restless you can break out the beach buckets and take in a day of sunshine at nearby beaches. Leland’s climate is moderate, so you can expect to enjoy outdoor pursuits 365 days per year. You’ll also discover a wealth of opportunities to give back to this dynamic community through volunteering. Fast growing, vibrant and safe, we predict a move to Leland will make every member of your family smile.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.55
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 11.31
About 20,000 people call Lexington, North Carolina home, making it small enough to enjoy a sense of community, but large enough to offer a variety of housing, progressive programs and a never-ending assortment of events. Located in the central part of the state, less than 30 minutes south of Winston-Salem, one of the benefits of moving to Lexington is its diverse housing market. Those who cherish historic architecture will find what they’re looking for in Lexington’s Park Place neighborhood. One of the community’s oldest collection of homes, Park Place offers a short walk to the shops, live music, and eateries of Uptown Lexington. While you’re discovering Uptown Lexington you’ll be greeted by the “Pigs in the City” art initiative and enjoy free Wi-Fi.
The Vineyards at Lexington draw those who want a new home or townhome that’s full of the latest amenities, plus the convenience of a neighborhood club house and pool. No matter here you settle, once you start exploring Lexington you’ll quickly determine it’s the place to be for barbeque. In fact, the “Huffington Post” recently ranked Lexington number four on its list of Top 10 Best BBQ Cities. Expect your kids to grow up attending Lexington’s famous BBQ Capital Cook-off, and sinking their teeth in the juicey sweet taste of Lexington-style barbeque. Dynamic housing, good food and safe streets make Lexington a North Carolina stand-out.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.29
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 9.94
If southern charm appeals to you, then a move to Tarboro may be in your future. Situated in beautiful eastern North Carolina, Tarboro offers you centuries old oak trees and an expansive historic district. In fact, it boasts nearly 50 blocks of gorgeous homes and neighborhood parks, and an original town commons parks. When you move to Tarboro you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
From a variety of churches to an active Arts Council, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved and make fast friends in Tarboro. The ninth oldest town in the state, Tarboro is conveniently located one hour from Raleigh and close enough to the mountains for a spur of the moment getaway. Tarboro is easy to access from Interstate 95 and situated midway between New York and Florida. Tarboro offers friendly folks, an amazing location and citizens that take pride in caring about one another. We’re not the least surprised it made our Safe City list.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 4.46
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.83
Lincolnton has a rich past and boasts two historic districts, South Aspen Street Historic District and West Main Street Historic District. But don’t think for a second that this amiable small town is stuck in the past. Quite the contrary, Lincolnton is impressively forward thinking.
One particularly noteworthy project is the Lovable Lincolnton Possibility Tour. We’ve never come across anything quite like it. As the name implies, the Possibility Tour is a walking or driving tour of amenities that downtown Lincolnton could offer. The tour identifies seven sites that include a mix of retail and business space, a movie theater, residences, restaurants and more. Each site offers a sign that depicts a rehabilitated existing historic building or new construction that will help transform Lincolnton’s Court Square from a government hub by day into an effervescent entertainment district by night. Our bet is the little town of Lincolnton is on the verge of making a big name for itself. An important component of its success is its low crime rate.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.55
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 9.83
The most populated city in western North Carolina, you’ll be hard pressed to find a community that offers more than the safe city of Asheville. In fact, it’s a place visitors flock to year-round for culinary treats, a nationally recognized craft beer scene, and an amazing artistic community. Plus, the Appalachian Mountains provide immeasurable beauty and you’ll never tire of the city’s rich architecture. In addition to countless community gatherings and bountiful beauty, you’ll discover that Asheville is serious about economic development.
Asheville leaders and citizens frequently join together to brainstorm ways to improve the city’s already robust economy. The Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission is just one example. The commission works to enhance the city’s River District, an urban waterfront gem. Asheville also offers a Minority Business Program and an Economic Development Incentives Policy designed to stimulate private sector investment and spur economic growth. We’ve highlighted a few of Asheville’s perks, but there are many more.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 4.95
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.69
On November 1, 2007, the Town of Butner was officially incorporated. This rural southern town offers a fascinating history and a location that’s hard to beat. Situated just north of Raleigh, Butner was once home to Camp Butner and more than 40,000 combat troops. From 1942 through 1945, Camp Butner trained servicemen for deployment and housed a number of barracks, rifle ranges, and a prisoner of war compound.
Today, Butner residents enjoy a relaxed lifestyle that is a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities. Fishing for Black Bass on Lake Holt, letting toddlers explore their freedom on one of the local playgrounds and archery hunting at the Butner Game Lands are just some of the recreational opportunities Butner residents take part in. Close to all the resources offered by larger cities, but intent on maintaining its own unique identity, Butner also boasts impressively little crime.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 3.25
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 10.68
Visit Hillsborough and you’re likely to fall in love. It’s the kind of place where folks gather over coffee to talk about the town’s latest happenings and families descend on its downtown historic district for an array of festivals, one of the most popular being Hog Day, where barbeque abounds. Hillsborough’s historic downtown is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so if you appreciate centuries old architecture you’ll be in your glory.
When the weekend rolls in, you’ll want to explore one of Hillsborough’s nine public parks, or Eno River State Park which offers more than 20 miles of hiking trails. And when the sun sets, you can count on Hillsborough to entertain you. Head downtown to enjoy lively music, a scrumptious dinner and a decidedly energetic vibe. Far from boring, this Orange County town is full of life and also offers your family the comfort of safe streets.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 2.88
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 10.70
Situated in the Piedmont area, Mebane is recognized as one of the fastest growing areas of North Carolina. That could be because it offers affordable living, progressive programs, and is located three hours from the state’s bountiful coast, as well as three hours from Western North Carolina’s magical mountains. Talk about location! Move to Mebane and you’ll be tempted by a wealth of weekend excursions. When it’s time to catch a flight, residents appreciate that they live close to two international airports.
Mebane residents also take comfort in safe neighborhoods and benefit from a police department that is pro-active in its approach to community oriented policing. The Mebane Police Department offers residents a handy property checklist that will give patrol officers all the information they need to keep an extra watch on their home when it’s vacant and an anonymous online form for reporting drug activity. If green space is vital to your family’s happiness, you’ll be happy to hear that Mebane has developed a comprehensive Recreation and Parks Master Plan. Best yet, when you make the move to Mebane, you won’t be preoccupied with your family’s safety.
Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 6.33
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 8.90
We were delighted to discover that every region of North Carolina is bursting with lively, safe cities. If you’ve ever considered a move to the Tar Heel state, the time to do so is now. Regardless of where you settle, SafeWise recommends investing in a home security system to help protect your family and your valuables.
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