North Carolina’s Safest Cities of 2023

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The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in North Carolina for 2023

See if your city made the full list.

In our latest State of Safety survey, more than half of North Carolinians (55%) said they worried about their safety, which is more than the average American (50%). This may be because of the high levels of property crime and violent crime in the state. While not the worst, North Carolina ranks thirteenth for the highest violent crime rates and twelfth-highest for property crimes. Both rates have slightly increased year over year.

In this report

2023 North Carolina crime rates

North Carolina's violent crime rate went up this year, going from 4.2 per 1,000 people to 4.3. The state's property crime rate saw a slight rise, too, from 22.3 per 1,000 to 22.4.

In the South Atlantic region, North Carolina's violent crime rate was higher than the regional average of 3.8 per 1,000. As for property crime, North Carolina’s rate is substantially higher than the region (19.5).

North Carolina's crime rates are higher than the national average.

Image: SafeWise

Violent crime in North Carolina: Fear vs. reality

North Carolina’s violent crime has hovered near the national average for the last four years, which could explain why a majority of residents feel safe in their home state.

  • 51% of residents in North Carolina reported feeling safe in their state, which is close to the sentiment of Americans as a whole (50%).
  • 13% of North Carolinians reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the 12 months prior to the report—up from 10% last year.
  • As with most states, murder is the least common violent crime in The Old North State, making up 2% of violent crimes (US 2%)—the state's 20 safest cities also averaged 2%.
  • 41% of residents in North Carolina report using some form of personal protection—just above the US average (39%).
  • 54% said they use pepper spray for protection. It was the most popular self-protection device among North Carolina respondents.
  • 55% of survey participants say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 (US 44%).

Attitudes about gun violence in North Carolina

  • 60% of North Carolina residents cited gun violence as a safety concern—well above the US average of 47%.
  • 13% of survey respondents reported experiencing gun violence in the 12 months prior to the survey, an increase from 6% last year.
  • 46% of respondents say they use a concealed handgun as a form of protection (US 41%).
  • There were 21 mass shootings in North Carolina. The state ranks eleventh in states with the highest rates of mass shootings.
60% worry about gun violence.

Image: SafeWise

Property crime in North Carolina: Fear vs. reality

North Carolina residents in our survey reported more personal experiences with property crime year over year. This reflects the rising trend in the state's property crime rate over the year.

  • North Carolinians reported 77% more personal experiences with property crime this year (23%) compared to last year (13%).
  • Burglary accounts for 17% of all property crimes in The Tar Heel State (US 16%).
  • 25% of participants reported experiencing package theft, putting North Carolina below the US average of 34%.
  • 22% of people in North Carolina use no form of property protection—around the same as the national average of 24%.
  • The top forms of property protection in North Carolina this year were security cameras and guard dogs with 39% of survey participants using each one. Security systems come in a close second at 37%.
  • 40% of residents in North Carolina say the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the security of their property compared to the US average of 28%.

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A closer look at the safest cities in North Carolina

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • Every safest city reported no more than 2.1 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.
  • 14 of the 20 safest cities reported no murders.
  • Rolesville holds on to the number-one spot again this year.
  • Rolesville and Winterville reported zero murders, rapes, and robberies.
  • Every safest city falls below state, region, and US property crime rates.
  • All safest cities reported fewer than 13.7 property crimes per 1,000 (US 19.3).
  • The safest cities reported over 7,000 property crimes. The state reported over 200,000.
North Carolina's safest city is Rolesville.

Image: SafeWise

The 20 safest cities in North Carolina

Rolesville, NC
#1
Rolesville
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    9,679
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $127,575
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.4, 0.5, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    5.2, 4.0, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Elon, NC
#2
Elon
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    12,521
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $68,031
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.8, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    4.2, 4.8, 6.7
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Pinehurst, NC
#3
Pinehurst
(
+6
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    17,253
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $92,342
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 1.1, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    6.2, 7.9, 6.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Davidson, NC
#4
Davidson
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    13,457
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $141,845
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.4, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    6.0, 7.8, 9.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Winterville, NC
#5
Winterville
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    10,225
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $80,199
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.9, 0.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    6.7, 6.8, 8.7
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Apex, NC
#6
Apex
(
+5
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    67,878
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $121,313
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 0.5, 0.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    8.8, 11.2, 9.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Waxhaw, NC
#7
Waxhaw
(
-2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    19,089
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $123,370
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 0.5, 1.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    7.6, 9.4, 9.1
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Cary, NC
#8
Cary
(
-2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    177,735
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $113,782
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 0.7, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.6, 9.5, 9.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Fuquay-Varina, NC
#9
Fuquay-Varina
(
-2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    34,018
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $85,047
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.9, 0.7, 0.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.0, 9.4, 9.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Holly Springs, NC
#10
Holly Springs
(
-2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    41,798
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $120,229
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 0.8, 0.6
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    10.0, 9.3, 6.6
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Stallings, NC
#11
Stallings
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    16,746
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $97,630
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.2, 0.5, 1.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.7, 10.5, 12.3
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Concord, NC
#12
Concord
(
+3
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    100,631
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $78,775
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 1.2, 1.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    12.0, 14.0, 16.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Wake Forest, NC
#13
Wake Forest
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    49,457
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $104,006
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.4, 1.4, 0.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.3, 10.9, 8.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Wendell, NC
#14
Wendell
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    9,841
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $67,321
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.2, 1.3, 0.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    10.3, 11.6, 9.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#15
Cornelius
(
New
)
  • bullet
    Population
    31,453
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $95,147
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.1, N/A, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    11.4, N/A, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Brevard, NC
#16
Brevard
(
+3
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    7,922
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $46,058
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.1, 1.6, 2.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    13.1, 16.7, 23.7
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Huntersville, NC
#17
Huntersville
(
+1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    60,450
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $102,335
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.6, 1.7, 1.4
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    12.2, 14.8, 16.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Mint Hill, NC
#18
Mint Hill
(
-1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    28,701
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $84,468
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.1, 2.1, 2.1
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    9.9, 12.8, 13.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#19
Oak Island
(
+4
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    8,955
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $85,802
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.6, 1.9, 1.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    13.0, 18.9, 16.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Boone, NC
#20
Boone
(
-6
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    20,321
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $24,756
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.6, 1.2, 1.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    13.7, 13.5, 13.1
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. One of the best ways to stop a burglary before it happens is to add a home security system.

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Didn't find your city?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population as calculated using FBI data. To request a report of the remaining cities in your state email info@safewise.com with the subject line: Safest Cities Full Report.

NOTE: If your city is missing from our full report, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2021.

Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Related articles on SafeWise


Endnotes and sources

FBI Crime Data Explorer, "Documents & Downloads." Accessed February 6, 2023.

  • 2021 and 2020 Crime in the United States Annual Reports
    • Offenses Known to Law Enforcement
  • 2021 NIBRS Estimation Tables

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program, "Offenses Known to Law Enforcement [2019]." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Bureau of Justice Statistics, "National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS)." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Subject Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

US Census Bureau, "2021: ACS 5-Year Estimates Detailed Tables." Accessed February 6, 2023.

SafeWise, "2022 State of Safety survey." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "General Methodology." Accessed February 6, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Past Summary Ledgers." Accessed January 3, 2023.

Gun Violence Archive, "Congress."

  • 2022 totals: Accessed January 3, 2023.
  • 2021 and 2020 totals: Accessed December 19, 2022.
Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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