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
    10.83
  • Property Crime Rate
    305.45
  • 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

10 Safest Cities in North Carolina

  • No. 1 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‘s room for improvement in the public safety arena.

    98out of 100

    Public Safety

    86out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    2.1699 (2nd)3.9878 (1st)97.702 (1st)0.2932 (4th)0.2932 (4th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    14388 (3rd)101079 (2nd)0.035 (8th)0.042 (9th)0.01 (9th)0.27 (6th)
  • No. 2 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.

    94out of 100

    Public Safety

    85out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    2.853 (4th)6.6569 (2nd)126.1 (2nd)0.1902 (2nd)0.1902 (2nd)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    15624 (1st)105404 (1st)0.035 (8th)0.044 (8th)0.014 (7th)0.034 (10th)
  • No. 3 Huntersville

    Huntersville — known for its lakefront houses and recreational opportunities on the South‘s largest human-made lake, 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.

    89out of 100

    Public Safety

    82out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    3.1208 (5th)9.7092 (4th)153.27 (3rd)0.5201 (5th)0.5201 (5th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    15456 (2nd)97320 (3rd)0.037 (7th)0.041 (10th)0.012 (8th)0.326 (2nd)
  • No. 4 Carolina Beach

    With a downtown boardwalk featuring an ice cream shop, candy shop and doughnut shop, it‘s 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‘s really no reason not to indulge in what this town has to offer.

    81out of 100

    Public Safety

    78out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    4.7229 (7th)23.615 (6th)226.7 (5th)4.7229 (9th)4.7229 (9th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    13872 (4th)74091 (4th)0.015 (10th)0.049 (7th)0.043 (3rd)0.179 (9th)
  • 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.

    83out of 100

    Public Safety

    71out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    4.434 (6th)14.345 (5th)265.52 (6th)0.7825 (7th)0.7825 (7th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    12948 (5th)67656 (5th)0.047 (5th)0.083 (5th)0.019 (6th)0.208 (8th)
  • No. 6 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‘s residents experience a low cost of living but relatively high poverty rate.

    88out of 100

    Public Safety

    62out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    1.8857 (1st)7.5429 (3rd)311.14 (8th)3.7715 (8th)3.7715 (8th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    7872 (10th)39829 (10th)0.042 (6th)0.141 (3rd)0.067 (2nd)0.234 (7th)
  • No. 7 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.

    81out of 100

    Public Safety

    60out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    2.3315 (3rd)30.31 (9th)265.8 (7th)6.9946 (10th)6.9946 (10th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    9624 (8th)45469 (7th)0.053 (4th)0.055 (6th)0.1 (1st)0.279 (5th)
  • No. 8 Fayetteville

    Fayetteville has a famous U.S Army history, where you can find exhibits such as the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. It is also home to Fort Bragg, a U.S. Army installation northwest of the city.

    81out of 100

    Public Safety

    44out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    5.0924 (8th)30.84 (10th)176.66 (4th)0 (1st)0 (1st)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    11136 (6th)44057 (8th)0.096 (1st)0.176 (1st)0.01 (9th)0.316 (3rd)
  • No. 9 New Bern

    New Bern is North Carolina‘s second-oldest city 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.

    75out of 100

    Public Safety

    46out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    9.1216 (9th)27.365 (7th)317.57 (9th)0.6757 (6th)0.6757 (6th)0 (1st)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    9948 (7th)42222 (9th)0.087 (2nd)0.175 (2nd)0.031 (4th)0.299 (4th)
  • No. 10 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 Hickory‘s unemployed residents do not have insurance.

    64out of 100

    Public Safety

    58out of 100

    Financial Safety

    Public Safety

    Total Violent CrimeSociety CrimesProperty CrimeHate CrimeOfficer IncidentMass Shootings
    10.319 (10th)28.992 (8th)462.89 (10th)0.2462 (3th)0.2462 (3th)0.9848 (10th)

    Financial Safety

    Annual RentHousehold IncomeUnemployment RatePovertyUninsured EmployedUninsured Unemployed
    8580 (9th)46390 (6th)0.084 (3rd)0.125 (4th)0.023 (5th)0.515 (1st)

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.

15out of 50

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.

33out of 50

Health Safety

Top 25 Safest Cities in North Carolina

Cary170,518111
Apex52,577222
Huntersville57,677333
Carolina Beach6,352754
Mooresville38,340565
Mocksville5,303486
Pittsboro4,2897107
Fayetteville210,1176238
New Bern29,6009209
Hickory40,617111410
Durham273,759121211
High Point112,526101912
Charlotte931,235151113
Asheville93,18616914
Greensboro293,298141615
Hope Mills16,219131716
Wilmington120,920171817
Southern Shores2,90722418
Salisbury33,901182419
Raleigh472,47223720
Morganton16,478201521
Statesville26,975192122
Roanoke Rapids14,664212223
Hendersonville14,081251324
Dunn9,793242525