Our Deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Don't miss out on all the home security and other product discounts on Safety.com

Safest Cities in North Carolina

  • Population

    10,381,615

  • Avg Annual Rent

    $11,460

  • Avg Household Income

    $56,105

  • Cost of Living

    21.40%

  • Violent Crime Rate

    1.88

  • Property Crime Rate

    33.66

  • Primary Care Ranking

    33

  • Mental Health Provider

    26

A southern state on the east coast of the United States, North Carolina has a varied landscape, from coastal plains occupying the eastern side of the state, to the lush, rolling Piedmont plateau region, to the Appalachian Mountains in the west. North Carolina is also culturally varied. In the area around Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, the educational center called the Research Triangle is home to North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Asheville is home to a rich arts scene, while Charlotte is the state’s largest city and a center for banking. Coastal towns such as Edenton and Kitty Hawk feature beach settings to rival any other state. Let’s see which of these towns makes the cut for North Carolina’s safest cities.

How We Determined the Safest Cities in North Carolina

We narrowed down the safest cities in each state based on two primary categories. First, we evaluated public safety factors including violent, property and hate crimes in each area to help determine the safest areas to live. We then evaluated financial and socioeconomic factors including household income, average rent and health insurance. In addition, we evaluated each state for natural disaster safety and public health safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of our methodology and links to sources here.

Here are the public safety factors we counted for each city:

*Public safety data is based on a population of 10,000 (for example, a “2” means two incidents for every 10,000 people).

  • Property crime – Number of property crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Violent crime – Number of violent crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Aggravated assaults – Number of aggravated assaults reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
  • Hate crime – Number of hate crimes reported in the city (FBI Hate Crime Report)
  • Officer-related incidents – Number of officer-involved shootings reported in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
  • Mass shootings – Incidents in which four or more people are shot/killed in the city (Gun Violence Archive)

Here are the financial safety factors we counted for each city:

  • Annual rent – Annualized median rent
  • Unemployment rate – The average rate of unemployed residents in each city
  • Cost of living – The average annual rent and household income per city
  • Poverty rate – Percentage of families that reported experiencing poverty in the last 12 months
  • Uninsured employed – Percentage of employed residents that reported not having health insurance
  • Uninsured unemployed – Percentage of unemployed residents that reported not having health insurance

20 Safest Cities in North Carolina

No. 1 Apex

Apex has already been named the best place to live in North Carolina, and now it can add another accolade to the list. With the lowest hate crime index and highest average household income of all the towns we analyzed in the Tar Heel State, Apex came out on top as the safest city in North Carolina.

99 out of 100

Public Safety

85 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.190197 (1st)0.190197 (1st)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
15624 (2nd)105404 (1st)0.035 (15th)0.044 (17th)0.014 (16th)0.034 (19th)

No. 2 Huntersville

Huntersville — known for its lakefront houses and recreational opportunities on the largest human-made lake in the South, Lake Norman — ties with Southern Shores for the lowest poverty rate on our list. But Huntersville emerges as the winner in other categories, including hate crime index and cost of living, landing it decisively in second place overall.

98 out of 100

Public Safety

82 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.520138 (8th)0.520138 (8th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
15456 (3rd)97320 (4th)0.037 (14th)0.041 (19th)0.012 (17th)0.326 (9th)

No. 3 Southern Shores

Given Southern Shores enviable location on the Outer Banks, perhaps it‘s no surprise that the nearly 3,000 residents pay the highest average annual rent on our list. However, this affluent town also boasts the lowest unemployment rate and the highest percentage of home internet access, indicating financial stability despite relatively high rent payments.

96 out of 100

Public Safety

79 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)3.439972 (17th)3.439972 (17th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
21372 (1st)98977 (3rd)0.01 (20th)0.041 (19th)0.032 (7th)0 (20th)

No. 4 Carolina Beach

With a downtown boardwalk featuring an ice cream shop, candy shop and doughnut shop, it is easy to see why Carolina Beach is a popular place to live and play. Fortunately, our data indicates that Carolina Beach is one of the safest towns in the state, so there really is no reason not to indulge in what this town has to offer.

96 out of 100

Public Safety

78 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)4.722922 (19th)4.722922 (19th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
13872 (5th)74091 (5th)0.015 (19th)0.049 (16th)0.043 (4th)0.179 (18th)

No. 5 Mooresville

A casual racing fan might think of Indianapolis as the home of racing, but diehard fans know the western North Carolina city of Mooresville truly claims the title of “Race City USA.“ Many of its attractions (and employers) are associated with racing in one way or another, including an indoor kart track or the Memory Lane Motorsports Museum.

97 out of 100

Public Safety

71 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.782473 (12th)0.782473 (12th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
12948 (7th)67656 (6th)0.047 (11th)0.083 (14th)0.019 (14th)0.208 (17th)

No. 6 Raleigh

Raleigh is the second-largest city on our list but still boasts a relatively low unemployment rate of 4.3%. A significant factor in the high ranking as one of the safest cities in North Carolina is the fact that most of its employed population has insurance. However, there is room for improvement regarding insurance coverage for the unemployed residents of the city.

94 out of 100

Public Safety

68 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.211653 (2nd)0.211653 (2nd)0.084661 (17th)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
12888 (8th)63891 (7th)0.043 (12th)0.108 (11th)0.007 (19th)0.394 (7th)

No. 7 Mocksville

Squire Boone and his son Daniel Boone called the Mocksville area home during the 1800s, and today the town has grown modestly to a population of just over 5,000. Mocksville residents experience a low cost of living but relatively high poverty rate.

96 out of 100

Public Safety

62 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)3.77145 (18th)3.77145 (18th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
7872 (19th)39829 (16th)0.042 (13th)0.141 (8th)0.067 (2nd)0.234 (16th)

No. 8 Pittsboro

A somewhat sleepy town located west of Raleigh, Pittsboro safety score has some highs and lows. Although the town has the highest hate crime index and highest percentage of uninsured employed residents on our list, rent, poverty and unemployment remain relatively low.

95 out of 100

Public Safety

60 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)6.994637 (20th)6.994637 (20th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
9624 (13th)45469 (12th)0.053 (10th)0.055 (15th)0.1 (1st)0.279 (13th)

No. 9 Asheville

Asheville is a mountain town, with the Great Smokey Mountains to the west and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. Rent is relatively high compared to the average annual household income, which gives the area a high cost of living.

92 out of 100

Public Safety

62 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.321937 (6th)0.321937 (6th)0.751186 (18th)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
12012 (9th)47803 (9th)0.035 (15th)0.084 (13th)0.016 (15th)0.326 (9th)

No. 10 Morganton

Known as “Nature Playground“ thanks to its gorgeous location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the variety of outdoor adventures that await tourists and residents alike, Morganton also boasts the lowest average annual rent on our list. However, 15.5% of residents live below the poverty line.

96 out of 100

Public Safety

55 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)1.21374 (15th)1.21374 (15th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
7740 (20th)41459 (15th)0.077 (7th)0.155 (6th)0.044 (3rd)0.379 (8th)

No. 11 Hickory

Home of the Hickory Aviation Museum and “The Birthplace of NASCAR Stars“ — aka Hickory Motor Speedway — the town of Hickory offers some unique experiences. However, it‘s not the best place to live if you‘re unemployed, because over half of unemployed residents in Hickory do not have insurance.

93 out of 100

Public Safety

58 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.246202 (3rd)0.246202 (3rd)0.984809 (19th)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
8580 (17th)46390 (11th)0.084 (6th)0.125 (9th)0.023 (12th)0.515 (1st)

No. 12 Hope Mills

The town of Hope Mills knows how to put on a celebration, with exciting family events for holidays like the Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas. With such a community spirit, it makes sense for the town to have one of the lowest hate crime indices on our list. However, a high cost of living prevents Hope Mills from ranking higher overall.

98 out of 100

Public Safety

50 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.616561 (9th)0.616561 (9th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
11028 (10th)47083 (10th)0.086 (4th)0.146 (7th)0.029 (9th)0.238 (15th)

No. 13 Statesville

Statesville role in the Civil War draws tourists interested in that chapter of history. Other than the plaques and landmarks, there is no hint of war in modern-day Statesville, as it has one of the lowest hate crime indices on our list. However, there‘s room for improvement regarding the town and the high poverty rate.

98 out of 100

Public Safety

46 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.370714 (7th)0.370714 (7th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
8868 (15th)39382 (17th)0.086 (4th)0.191 (4th)0.023 (12th)0.443 (3rd)

No. 14 New Bern

New Bern is the second-oldest city in NC and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. Residents and tourists are unlikely to experience a hate crime in New Bern, but a relatively high cost of living and high poverty rate lower its overall ranking in our list of the safest cities in North Carolina.

97 out of 100

Public Safety

46 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.675676 (10th)0.675676 (10th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
9948 (12th)42222 (13th)0.087 (3rd)0.175 (5th)0.031 (8th)0.299 (12th)

No. 15 Roanoke Rapids

Roanoke Rapids is home to the Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, where the largest collection in the world of rare and endangered waterfowl can be admired by visitors. But Roanoke Rapids is more than a safe haven for these 1,500 birds; our data shows that it‘s one of the safest places in North Carolina for people to live, too.

96 out of 100

Public Safety

45 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)3.409711 (16th)3.409711 (16th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
8448 (18th)36495 (19th)0.064 (8th)0.202 (3rd)0.042 (5th)0.499 (2nd)

No. 16 Hendersonville

With a relatively low hate crime index, Hendersonville is a welcoming place that offers plenty for residents and tourists to do, whether shopping downtown, visiting the aquarium or checking out the car show. However, a relatively high cost of living pulled Hendersonville a little further down our list of safest cities.

86 out of 100

Public Safety

58 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.710177 (11th)0.710177 (11th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
10128 (11th)38412 (18th)0.022 (18th)0.097 (12th)0.04 (6th)0.322 (11th)

No. 17 Salisbury

With 11 national and five local historic districts in the area, numerous museums and a roster of historical figures who graced its streets, Salisbury is like a time capsule. Unfortunately, it doesn‘t rank any higher than 17th on our list of the safest cities in North Carolina due to having the highest rate of unemployment. A significant portion of the population also lives below the poverty line.

86 out of 100

Public Safety

43 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)0.88493 (13th)0.88493 (13th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
9216 (14th)41760 (14th)0.104 (1st)0.213 (2nd)0.029 (9th)0.397 (6th)

No. 18 Cary

Financially, the people of Cary are doing quite well. Cost of living in the area is the lowest on our list because only a relatively small portion of average household income ( $101,000 per year) is spent on rent in Cary. This town also enjoys relatively low unemployment and poverty rates, but our data shows there is room for improvement in the public safety arena.

46 out of 100

Public Safety

86 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
1.290186 (19th)2.463083 (19th)45.86026 (20th)0.293224 (5th)0.293224 (5th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
14388 (4th)101079 (2nd)0.035 (15th)0.042 (18th)0.01 (18th)0.27 (14th)

No. 19 Dunn

Dunn — home of the annual North Carolina Cotton Festival — ranks low on our list due to its low financial safety score. The residents of Dunn earn an average household income of less than $30,000 per year but pay over $8,500 in rent each year, which gives this small town not only the highest cost of living, but also the highest poverty levels on our list. 

90 out of 100

Public Safety

30 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)1.021138 (14th)1.021138 (14th)4.08455 (20th)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
8616 (16th)29592 (20th)0.095 (2nd)0.287 (1st)0.029 (9th)0.401 (4th)

No. 20 Charlotte

With a population hovering over 930,000, Charlotte is the largest city on our list and home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Only 0.5% of its employed residents do not have insurance, but 40.1% of unemployed residents lack insurance. Charlotte also has a relatively high cost of living.

53 out of 100

Public Safety

60 out of 100

Financial Safety

Public Safety

Total Violent CrimeAggravated AssaultProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
9.245787 (20th)20.55335 (20th)0 (1st)0.257722 (4th)0.257722 (4th)0 (1st)

Financial Safety

Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
13032 (6th)60886 (8th)0.062 (9th)0.121 (10th)0.005 (20th)0.401 (4th)

North Carolina State Safety

Natural Disaster Safety

North Carolina ranks 15th in the country for risk of natural disasters, according to the Insurance Journal. ReadyNC.org reports that all areas of North Carolina have experienced tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, lightning strikes, snow and ice storms. Other potential hazards include droughts, earthquakes, extreme heat and wildfires. Hurricanes remain one of North Carolina’s most pressing dangers, with yearly occurrences for the past few years and three times in 2018.

15

Natural Disaster


Health Safety

The leading causes of death in North Carolina are cancer and heart disease, with accidents a distant third, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug related deaths in North Carolina are only slightly higher than the U.S. rate, and the state ranks 23rd worst in overdose death rate.

North Carolina ranked 33rd in number of primary care doctors, with 134.4 active primary care physicians per 100,000 residents. The state is ranked higher for access to mental health help, coming in at 26th, with 243.6 mental health providers per 100,000 residents. For air quality — another key health measure — North Carolina is 22nd in the country and has improved significantly since the turn of the century.

33 out of 100

Health Safety

Top 25 Safest Cities in North Carolina

City Population Public Safety Ranking Financial Safety Ranking Rank