The SafeWise team is pleased to release the ninth annual Safest Cities report.
South Carolina’s 20 Safest Cities of 2023
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Here are the 10 Safest Cities in South Carolina for 2023
See if your city made the full list.
South Carolina residents share similar levels of concern about crime as the rest of the country in our 2023 State of Safety survey, and its safest cities collectively boast crime rates below national averages. But statewide, there’s more crime reported in The Palmetto State than the rest of the US.
In this report
2023 South Carolina crime rates
Violent crime in South Carolina decreased this year—dropping by 2%—it went down from 5.3 incidents per 1,000 people to 5.2. Property crime continued a downward trend, falling from 27.2 crimes per 1,000 people to 25.9.
In the South Atlantic region, South Carolina has the highest rates of violent and property crime, ahead of North Carolina for violent crime (4.3) as well as property crime (22.4). Two of the eight states in this region didn't meet state reporting requirements this year: Florida and Maryland.
South Carolina's crime rates are higher than the national rate. Across the 41 states that met reporting requirements this year, South Carolina has the seventh-highest rates of violent and property crime.
Violent crime in South Carolina: Fear vs. reality
People in South Carolina are more worried about violent crime than the average American and reports of violent crime experiences jumped up 71% year over year. Survey respondents were less likely than any other state to say crime is decreasing. However, The Palmetto State is one of 22 states that saw a drop in the violent crime rate year over year.
- 50% of South Carolinians say they feel safe in their state—the same as the US average.
- While 14 of the safest cities saw slight drops in violent crime numbers, the total number of violent crime incidents went up by over 10% since last year.
- 3 of the safest cities have a higher violent crime rate than the country (4.0).
- Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime in South Carolina, making up 79% of all reported incidents—11% higher than the national average.
- 10% of reported violent crimes were robberies, far below the national average (US 15%).
Attitudes about personal safety in South Carolina
- 43% of South Carolina respondents use some form of personal protection (US 39%).
- The top forms of personal protection used by South Carolina respondents this survey year were pocket knives (56%), concealed firearms (51%), and pepper spray (47%).
- This is higher than the national averages for pocket knives (US 43%), concealed firearms (41%), and pepper spray (US 42%).
- 38% of respondents said they added or increase security measures in the 12 months prior to the survey compared to the US average of 35%.
- 50% say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic (US 44%).
Attitudes about gun violence in South Carolina
- 55% are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 47%), beating out concern over property crime and package theft.
- Survey respondents say their gun violence experiences rose 69% year over year—from 13% to 22%.
- The 20 mass shooting incidents in South Carolina in 2022 represent an 18% increase compared to 2021 (17 incidents).
- For every police officer killed or injured by a gun in South Carolina in 2022, 6.2 suspects experienced the same.
- There were 28 self-defense shooting incidents in South Carolina in 2022—down 1 from the year before.
Property crime in South Carolina: Fear vs. reality
South Carolinians experienced slightly more property crime this survey year than the rest of the country. Still, the statewide property crime rate fell by almost 5% this year.
- 28% of survey participants reported an experience with property crime in the 12 months prior to the survey, compared to 27% nationwide.
- Property crime has dropped by nearly 34% since it last went up in 2011.
- Burglaries are far less common in the safest cities, making up just 10% of all property crime versus 14% statewide. Nationally, burglaries account for 14% of all property crime.
- 8 of the safest cities reported lower property crime rates than national levels while 16 come in below state levels.
Attitudes about property security in South Carolina
- 83% take proactive measures to protect their property (US 76%).
- Survey respondents in South Carolina are more likely than the average American to use security cameras, guard dogs, firearms, and systems to protect their property, with 43% of those preferring security cameras over other types of protection (US 38%).
- 26% of survey respondents say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 28%).
Attitudes about package theft in South Carolina
- 33% of survey respondents in South Carolina reported experiencing package theft in the last 12 months, which is just below the US average of 34%.
- 53% of participants expressed a high level of concern about package theft—matching the US average.
- The preferred methods of package protection in South Carolina are video doorbells (36%) and verified delivery (27%). This is higher than the national average for video doorbells (US 28%), but the same as the US average for verified delivery.
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A closer look at the safest cities in South 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.
- 48 cities met criteria to be considered for ranking.
- Fort Mill, our number 1 this year, moved up from rank 4 last year—it reported the lowest property crime rate in the state (6.2).
- 7 cities are new to our top 20 this year: Goose Creek, Travelers Rest, Fountain Inn, Hardeeville, Irmo, Simpsonville, and Seneca.
- 17 cities increased in rank this year.
- Seneca had the biggest jump in rank this year, climbing 12 spots to land at 20.
- Charleston (population 141,768), Mount Pleasant (population 95,657), Summerville (population 54,438), and Goose Creek (population 45,901) are the only cities with populations over 37,000.
Violent crime in South Carolina's safest cities
Property crime in South Carolina's safest cities
- The property crime rate in the safest cities is 18.6 incidents per 1,000 people, about 28% lower than the state rate (25.9).
- Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Port Royal, Hardeeville, and Seneca all reported less than 200 property crime incidents this year.
- 2 cities reported fewer than 8 property crimes per 1,000 people: Fort Mill and Bluffton.
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.
Find security and safety resources in your area
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 ." 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.