The State of Safety in North Carolina 2020

If you call North Carolina home, you may be more concerned about your safety every day than the rest of the country.

11 percent have experienced violent crime, 24 percent have experienced property crime, 7 percent have been affected by a mass shooting

57% of Tar Heel State participants in our 2020 State of Safety survey expressed high concern about safety on a daily basis, compared to 46% nationwide.

North Carolina crime stats infographic

Daily levels of concern about crime and safety increased by 21% year over year in North Carolina.

North Carolina’s crime rates are slightly higher than national rates, but its reported experience with crime is below national averages. The state’s violent crime rate of 3.8 is barely above the national rate of 3.7, but its property crime rate of 24.9 is almost three points higher than the national rate of 22.0.

Reported experience with violent crime remained the same year over year, with 11% of respondents indicating a personal run-in with violent crime incident in the past 12 months. Encounters of property crime rose by five points, from 19% last year to 24% in this year’s report.

Both experiential numbers fall under national averages. Across the country, 12% reported a personal experience of violent crime and 26% reported being personally affected by property crime.

Violent Crime in North Carolina: Fear vs. Reality

Physical assault by a stranger is the violent crime that causes the highest concern in North Carolina. But respondents feel they’re more likely to fall victim to being robbed on the street.

  • 50% said being physically assaulted by a stranger is the violent crime they worry about most, compared to 40% across the US.
  • Across the state, aggravated assault was the most common violent crime, accounting for 70% of all violent crime reported in North Carolina.
  • 37% reported that being robbed on the street is the violent crime they think is most likely to actually happen. That’s 10 points higher than the national average of 27%.
  • Robbery accounted for 22% of all violent crimes reported statewide.
North Carolina crime stats infographic
North Carolina crime stats infographic

Property Crime in North Carolina: Fear vs. Reality

A break-in when someone’s at home is the most worrisome property crime in the Tar Heel State. When it comes to the crime survey respondents think would actually happen, a vehicle break-in tops the list.

  • 73% reported high concern about a break-in when residents are home or sleeping. That’s 15 points higher than the national average of 58%.
  • Burglary was the second most prevalent property crime in North Carolina, making up 24% of reported incidents across the state. 
  • 50% named a vehicle break-in as the property crime they think is most likely to occur, compared to 36% nationwide.
  • Larceny-theft was the most common property crime, comprising 69% of all property crime in the state.
  • 33% of North Carolina respondents have a home security system—nearly 10 points higher than the national average of 24%.
  • Dogs or other guard animals are the security measure used most widely in the state. 35% report using a guard animal, versus 33% nationally.
  • 26% use no form of protection or security for their property. That’s just below the national average of 29%.
North Carolina crime stats infographic
North Carolina crime stats infographic

North Carolina’s Safest Cities 2020

We don’t have a ranking of safest cities for North Carolina due to city data that the FBI deemed underreported, and was therefore excluded. State-level details are provided below.

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.

VC = Violent Crime
PC = Property Crime

North Carolina
State Data
North Carolina
  • Circle Population
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    3.8, 3.7, 3.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2020, 2019, 2018
    24.9, 25.8, 27.3

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.

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

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


FBI Uniform Crime Reporting, “2018 Crime in the United States
SafeWise, “2020 State of Safety
US Census Bureau, “Quick Facts, North Carolina

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for 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.

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