South Carolina’s 20 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 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.

South Carolina's crime rates are above the national average

Image: SafeWise

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.
South Carolinians are most concerned about violent crime.

Image: SafeWise

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

  • The violent crime rate in the safest cities is 2.6 incidents per 1,000 people, about half that of the state rate (5.2).
  • 2 cities (10%) reported fewer than 10 violent crimes this year: Travelers Rest and Tega Cay.
  • Travelers Rest had the lowest violent crime rate in South Carolina this year (0.4).

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.
Fort Mill is the safest city in South Carolina

Image: SafeWise

The 20 safest cities in South Carolina

Fort Mill, South Carolina
#1
Fort Mill
(
+3
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    26,923
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $120,665
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.7, 1.3, 1.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    6.2, 9.6, 11.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Bluffton, South Carolina
#2
Bluffton
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    30,519
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $89,245
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.8, 0.9, 1.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    7.3, 7.2, 8.9
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
#3
Mount Pleasant
(
+2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    95,657
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $106,216
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.0, 1.0, 1.1
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    11.2, 13.3, 12.3
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Tega Cay, South Carolina
#4
Tega Cay
(
+4
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    12,178
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $130,571
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.6, 0.4, 0.4
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    14.0, 19.0, 14.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Hanahan, South Carolina
#5
Hanahan
(
+2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    29,582
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $76,094
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.6, 2.2, 2.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    12.9, 11.6, 12.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Port Royal, South Carolina
#6
Port Royal
(
+4
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    14,970
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $63,645
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    3.1, 2.7, 3.0
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    12.9, 15.0, 17.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Mauldin, South Carolina
#7
Mauldin
(
+5
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    25,808
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $73,755
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.9, 2.6, 2.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    17.6, 19.7, 16.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Goose Creek, South Carolina
#8
Goose Creek
(
New
)
  • bullet
    Population
    45,901
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $78,756
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.8, N/A, N/A
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    17.1, N/A, N/A
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Clemson, South Carolina
#9
Clemson
(
+2
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    18,220
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $48,335
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    1.9, 1.4, 1.8
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    21.0, 20.0, 24.2
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Summerville, South Carolina
#10
Summerville
(
+9
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    54,438
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $64,507
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.4, 3.4, 3.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    19.6, 27.9, 31.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
North Augusta, South Carolina
#11
North Augusta
(
+4
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    24,435
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $72,202
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.0, 2.0, 2.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    23.1, 29.9, 27.3
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Travelers Rest, South Carolina
#12
Travelers Rest
(
+10
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    8,297
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $36,495
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    0.4, 0.4, 0.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    30.6, 39.2, 58.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Lexington, South Carolina
#13
Lexington
(
-0-
)
  • bullet
    Population
    23,161
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $73,785
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.8, 2.1, 3.2
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    24.2, 21.8, 28.5
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Fountain Inn, South Carolina
#14
Fountain Inn
(
+7
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    11,306
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $72,558
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    3.5, 5.7, 4.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    22.3, 20.9, 19.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Greer, South Carolina
#15
Greer
(
+5
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    36,423
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $67,536
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.4, 2.8, 4.3
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    27.4, 30.6, 31.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Charleston, South Carolina
#16
Charleston
(
+1
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    141,768
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $76,556
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    4.4, 4.7, 3.7
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    22.4, 23.1, 22.6
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Hardeeville, South Carolina
#17
Hardeeville
(
+7
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    9,332
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $66,672
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    5.4, 6.0, 7.5
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    19.7, 22.0, 29.4
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Irmo, South Carolina
#18
Irmo
(
+9
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    12,902
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $81,380
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    2.9, 3.2, 3.1
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    29.8, 36.5, 33.0
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
#19
Simpsonville
(
+6
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    26,077
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $76,412
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    3.7, 3.4, 1.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    29.4, 32.7, 26.8
  • bullet
    VC=Violent crime, PC=Property crime
Seneca, South Carolina
#20
Seneca
(
+12
bullet
)
  • bullet
    Population
    8,611
  • bullet
    Median Income
    $48,816
  • bullet
    VC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    5.9, 9.9, 5.9
  • bullet
    PC Rate 2023, 2022, 2021
    21.7, 27.2, 26.0
  • 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.
John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over a decade of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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