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South Carolina’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

Written by | Updated March 9, 2020

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the sixth annual Safest Cities report. Here are the 20 Safest Cities in South Carolina for 2020. See if your city made the list.

5 percent have experienced a violent crime, 37 percent have experienced property crime, 5 percent have experienced a mass shooting

South Carolina expresses a higher level of concern about safety than most other states. That could be due to higher statewide crime rates than national averages, but the safest cities in South Carolina are leading the way with fewer incidents of both violent and property crime.  

Check out the complete list of South Carolina’s 20 safest cities of 2020. 

52% of the South Carolina residents who participated in our 2020 State of Safety study reported feeling high or very high concern for their safety every day. That’s six percentage points higher than the national average.

52 percent are concerned about crime on a daily basis

Higher crime rates and more reports of personal experience with property crime could be reasons there’s more general worry in the Palmetto State. 

South Carolina has the third-highest number of people who've experienced property crime in the past 12 months.

South Carolina has the third-highest number of people who’ve been affected by property crime in the past 12 months (37% compared to the national average of 26%). The state’s property crime rate is 30.2 incidents per 1,000 people, which is eight points higher than the national rate of 22.0. 

When it comes to violent crime, South Carolina has one of the lowest numbers of people who say they’ve been affected by violent crime in the past year (5% versus the national average of 12%). That’s a decrease of two percentage points from last year. But the state’s violent crime rate of 4.9 is still above the national rate of 3.7 incidents per 1,000.

Violent Crime in South Carolina: Fear vs. Reality

Mass shooting is the number one violent crime concern in South Carolina, but respondents named being robbed on the street as the violent crime they think is most likely to actually happen.

  • 48% indicated the highest concern about being the victim of a mass shooting, versus 38% nationally. 
  • As of February 6, 2020, there has been one mass shooting in South Carolina this year. Three were injured and three were killed in the incident at a bar in Hartsville
  • Between 2014 and 2019, there were 44 mass shootings in South Carolina, resulting in 54 deaths and 167 injured. Across the US there were 2,087 mass shooting incidents during the same timeframe.
  • 35% named being robbed on the street as the violent crime they think is the most likely to happen, compared to 27% nationwide.
  • Robbery was the second most common violent crime reported by the safest cities, making up 16% of all incidents reported by those cities and 14% across the state.
48 percent are most concerned about mass shootings
35 percent think they're most likely to be robbed on a street

Property Crime in South Carolina: Fear vs. Reality

Someone breaking into a home when the residents are out is the most feared property crime in South Carolina. Residents think that having digital property stolen (like photos or files) is a more likely crime that could actually happen.

  • 67% are most concerned about a break-in when no one’s home, compared to 62% nationwide. 
  • Burglary made up only 13% of all property crime reported by the safest cities and 19% of all property crime in South Carolina.
  • 46% think the most likely property crime that could occur is the theft of digital property, versus 36% nationally. 
  • Digital security was the number one safety concern in South Carolina last year.
  • Larceny-theft is the most common property crime in South Carolina, accounting for 71% of the state’s property crimes and 78% of the property crimes reported by the safest cities.
  • 37% of South Carolina respondents use a security system, versus 24% across the country.
  • 40% use a dog or other guard animal (33% nationally), making it the most widely used security method in the state.
  • 21% don’t use any form of protection or security on their property, compared to 29% nationwide. 
67 percent are most concerned about a home break-in
46 percent think a break-in is most likely to happen

A Closer Look at South Carolina’s Safest Cities of 2020

  • Isle of Palms is the safest city in South Carolina for the third consecutive year, boasting a 0.5 violent crime rate and only two total violent crimes reported in 2018.
  • Twelve cities (60%) moved up in rank this year, and Port Royal made the biggest leap, climbing 19 spots to be the second-safest city in the state.
  • Seven cities fell in rank this year (35%).
  • 90% of the cities had violent crime rates that are lower than the national rate of 3.7 and 100% are lower than the state rate of 4.9.
  • Even though Charleston has more than 135,000 residents, it still came in with one of the state’s lowest violent crime rates—3.0—and its property crime rate is 20.8, beating state and national averages.
  • Sixteen cities (80%) beat the national property crime (22.0) rate and 85% beat the state rate (30.2).
  • Bluffton had the lowest property crime rate at 11.2, but a violent crime rate of 2.2 put it at number four on the list.   
  • Edgefield had the fewest total property crime incidents reported, with 59, followed by Saluda with 62.
  • Five cities reported fewer than 100 total property crimes.
South Carolina safest cities heat map showing population and crime score

The 20 Safest Cities in South Carolina

VC = Violent Crime
PC = Property Crime

#1

Isle of Palms

0

Isle of Palms, South Carolina
Population 4,396
Median Income $102,656
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.5, 0.0, 0.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 18.2, 15.5, 26.7

#2

Port Royal

+19

Port Royal, South Carolina
Population 13,227
Median Income $46,475
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.2, 3.6, 2.6
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 15.0, 23.0, 22.6

#3

Mount Pleasant

+6

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Population 89,733
Median Income $90,454
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.5, 1.9, 1.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 13.6, 15.3, 17.0

#4

Bluffton

+6

Bluffton, South Carolina
Population 22,578
Median Income $70,222
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.2, 2.0, 1.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 11.2, 16.5, 15.3

#5

Tega Cay

-3

Tega Cay, South Carolina
Population 10,763
Median Income $121,623
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 0.5, 0.8
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 20.3, 21.1, 19.2

#6

Edgefield

-1

Edgefield, South Carolina
Population 4,756
Median Income $23,487
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.1, 0.8, 1.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 12.4, 10.3, 8.2

#7

Hanahan

+10

Hanahan, South Carolina
Population 26,060
Median Income $61,221
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.3, 3.0, 2.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 13.3, 16.2, 18.7

#8

Mauldin

+5

Mauldin, South Carolina
Population 25,418
Median Income $65,539
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.7, 2.5, 2.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 17.3, 16.0, 19.9

#9

Fort Mill

+5

Fort Mill, South Carolina
Population 18,618
Median Income $71,436
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.7, 2.7, 2.4
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 17.6, 18.4, 21.5

#10

Central

-4

Central, South Carolina
Population 5,180
Median Income $26,623
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.0, 1.1, Not available
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 26.1, 34.6, Not available

#11

Clover

+14

Population 6,234
Median Income $46,940
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.9, 4.1, 1.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 21.0, 28.9, 21.8

#12

Walhalla

-4

Walhalla, South Carolina
Population 4,327
Median Income $28,750
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.1, 1.6, 3.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 20.8, 18.0, 24.0

#13

Ridgeland

-9

Ridgeland, South Carolina
Population 4,072
Median Income $31,909
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.2, 0.7, 3.5
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 21.9, 27.2, 32.3

#14

Belton

+9

Population 4,402
Median Income $28,775
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 0.7, 3.8, 2.7
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 31.1, 54.7, 49.4

#15

Goose Creek

+7

Goose Creek, South Carolina
Population 43,545
Median Income $64,204
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 2.4, 3.8, 3.8
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 21.9, 22.9, 22.0

#16

Charleston

-1

Charleston, South Carolina
Population 137,092
Median Income $61,367
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 3.0, 2.8, 3.0
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 20.8, 23.0, 24.9

#17

Simpsonville

+2

Simpsonville, South Carolina
Population 22,641
Median Income $58,857
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.8, 3.1, 3.3
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 30.7, 34.9, 36.1

#18

Saluda

+10

Population 3,636
Median Income $26,802
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.4, 4.4, 6.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 17.1, 16.3, 13.9

#19

Fountain Inn

+1

Fountain Inn, South Carolina
Population 8,846
Median Income $52,820
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 4.3, 3.5, 1.9
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 19.9, 23.8, 18.8

#20

Surfside Beach

-9

Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Population 4,511
Median Income $50,490
VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 1.6, 2.2, 1.1
PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018 39.2, 51.7, 48.3

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 recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about your home security options, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems.

Didn’t Find Your City in the Top 20?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, which is based on the median population of the state. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2018.

2020 RankingCityPopulationViolent Crime (per 1,000)Property Crime (per 1,000)
21North Augusta23,1611.938.6
22Summerville51,5652.733.7
23Travelers Rest5,1830.647.5
24Lexington21,6803.630.5
25Williamston4,2163.830.8
26Seneca8,3714.825.7
27Honea Path3,7822.143.4
28Woodruff4,2533.535
29Greer31,7224.236.1
30Rock Hill74,0494.937.7
31Irmo12,4135.236
32Abbeville5,0596.528.7
33Hardeeville6,5616.927.3
34Moncks Corner11,4845.935.6
35Greenville69,6085.340.4
36Conway24,7845.738.7
37Beaufort13,9205.841.7
38Lyman3,5578.428.1
39Bennettsville7,8988.133.7
40Easley21,203559.1
41Forest Acres10,3754.863
42Mullins4,350656.8
43Cayce14,2387.946.4
44Columbia133,5407.450.6
45York8,2038.744.7
46Newberry10,2938.844.4
47Clinton8,49810.140
48Sumter39,8989.246.9
49North Charleston112,8409.258.2
50Chester5,39412.142.1
51Union7,7489.459.5
52Gaffney12,8168.170.8
53Laurens8,8689.762.5
54Florence37,8199.665.1
55Georgetown8,81911.158.1
56Lake City6,66811.257.6
57Cheraw5,61110.368.8
58West Columbia17,36810.474.4
59Darlington5,96011.269.3
60Camden7,21512.960.7
61Orangeburg12,82013.358.5
62Barnwell4,38512.565.5
63Manning3,9588.392.5
64Batesburg-Leesville5,38017.147.4
65Greenwood23,26516.868.5
66Marion6,41615.381.7
67Hartsville7,6081586.5
68Myrtle Beach33,68714105.5

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

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

Sources

FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “American Fact Finder
Gun Violence Archive (GVA), Mass Shootings Reports

 

Mass Shooting Definition

SafeWise uses the GVA definition of a mass shooting: “If four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.”

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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