South Carolina’s 20 Safest Cities of 2020

South Carolina Safest Cities Badge

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

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in South Carolina for 2020. 

  1. Isle of Palms
  2. Port Royal
  3. Mount Pleasant
  4. Bluffton
  5. Tega Cay
  6. Edgefield
  7. Hanahan
  8. Mauldin
  9. Fort Mill
  10. Central

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 July 15, there have been 11 mass shooting incidents in South Carolina this year, leaving 16 dead and 46 injured. Four were injured in a March incident in Hanahan—the seventh safest city in the state this year.
  • Charleston, which ranks number 16 this year, had a mass shooting incident in May that injured four.
  • 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

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

  • 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

Isle of Palms, South Carolina
#1
Isle of Palms
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,396
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $102,656
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.5, 0.0, 0.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    18.2, 15.5, 26.7
Port Royal, South Carolina
#2
Port Royal
(
+19
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    13,227
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $46,475
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.2, 3.6, 2.6
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    15.0, 23.0, 22.6
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
#3
Mount Pleasant
(
+6
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    89,733
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $90,454
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.5, 1.9, 1.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    13.6, 15.3, 17.0
Bluffton, South Carolina
#4
Bluffton
(
+6
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    22,578
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $70,222
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.2, 2.0, 1.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    11.2, 16.5, 15.3
Tega Cay, South Carolina
#5
Tega Cay
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    10,763
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $121,623
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 0.5, 0.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    20.3, 21.1, 19.2
Edgefield, South Carolina
#6
Edgefield
(
-1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,756
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $23,487
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.1, 0.8, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    12.4, 10.3, 8.2
Hanahan, South Carolina
#7
Hanahan
(
+10
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    26,060
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $61,221
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.3, 3.0, 2.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    13.3, 16.2, 18.7
Mauldin, South Carolina
#8
Mauldin
(
+5
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    25,418
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $65,539
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.7, 2.5, 2.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    17.3, 16.0, 19.9
Fort Mill, South Carolina
#9
Fort Mill
(
+5
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    18,618
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $71,436
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.7, 2.7, 2.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    17.6, 18.4, 21.5
Central, South Carolina
#10
Central
(
-4
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    5,180
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $26,623
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.0, 1.1, Not available
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    26.1, 34.6, Not available
#11
Clover
(
+14
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    6,234
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $46,940
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.9, 4.1, 1.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    21.0, 28.9, 21.8
Walhalla, South Carolina
#12
Walhalla
(
-4
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,327
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $28,750
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.1, 1.6, 3.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    20.8, 18.0, 24.0
Ridgeland, South Carolina
#13
Ridgeland
(
-9
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,072
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $31,909
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.2, 0.7, 3.5
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    21.9, 27.2, 32.3
#14
Belton
(
+9
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,402
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $28,775
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    0.7, 3.8, 2.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    31.1, 54.7, 49.4
Goose Creek, South Carolina
#15
Goose Creek
(
+7
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    43,545
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $64,204
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    2.4, 3.8, 3.8
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    21.9, 22.9, 22.0
Charleston, South Carolina
#16
Charleston
(
-1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    137,092
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $61,367
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.0, 2.8, 3.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    20.8, 23.0, 24.9
Simpsonville, South Carolina
#17
Simpsonville
(
+2
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    22,641
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $58,857
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.8, 3.1, 3.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    30.7, 34.9, 36.1
#18
Saluda
(
+10
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    3,636
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $26,802
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.4, 4.4, 6.1
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    17.1, 16.3, 13.9
Fountain Inn, South Carolina
#19
Fountain Inn
(
+1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    8,846
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $52,820
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    4.3, 3.5, 1.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    19.9, 23.8, 18.8
Surfside Beach, South Carolina
#20
Surfside Beach
(
-9
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    4,511
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $50,490
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    1.6, 2.2, 1.1
  • Circle Property
    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)
21

North Augusta

23,161

1.9

38.6

22

Summerville

51,565

2.7

33.7

23

Travelers Rest

5,183

0.6

47.5

24

Lexington

21,680

3.6

30.5

25

Williamston

4,216

3.8

30.8

26

Seneca

8,371

4.8

25.7

27

Honea Path

3,782

2.1

43.4

28

Woodruff

4,253

3.5

35

29

Greer

31,722

4.2

36.1

30

Rock Hill

74,049

4.9

37.7

31

Irmo

12,413

5.2

36

32

Abbeville

5,059

6.5

28.7

33

Hardeeville

6,561

6.9

27.3

34

Moncks Corner

11,484

5.9

35.6

35

Greenville

69,608

5.3

40.4

36

Conway

24,784

5.7

38.7

37

Beaufort

13,920

5.8

41.7

38

Lyman

3,557

8.4

28.1

39

Bennettsville

7,898

8.1

33.7

40

Easley

21,203

5

59.1

41

Forest Acres

10,375

4.8

63

42

Mullins

4,350

6

56.8

43

Cayce

14,238

7.9

46.4

44

Columbia

133,540

7.4

50.6

45

York

8,203

8.7

44.7

46

Newberry

10,293

8.8

44.4

47

Clinton

8,498

10.1

40

48

Sumter

39,898

9.2

46.9

49

North Charleston

112,840

9.2

58.2

50

Chester

5,394

12.1

42.1

51

Union

7,748

9.4

59.5

52

Gaffney

12,816

8.1

70.8

53

Laurens

8,868

9.7

62.5

54

Florence

37,819

9.6

65.1

55

Georgetown

8,819

11.1

58.1

56

Lake City

6,668

11.2

57.6

57

Cheraw

5,611

10.3

68.8

58

West Columbia

17,368

10.4

74.4

59

Darlington

5,960

11.2

69.3

60

Camden

7,215

12.9

60.7

61

Orangeburg

12,820

13.3

58.5

62

Barnwell

4,385

12.5

65.5

63

Manning

3,958

8.3

92.5

64

Batesburg-Leesville

5,380

17.1

47.4

65

Greenwood

23,265

16.8

68.5

66

Marion

6,416

15.3

81.7

67

Hartsville

7,608

15

86.5

68

Myrtle Beach

33,687

14

105.5

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.”

Rebecca Edwards
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.