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Most Dangerous Cities in North Carolina

most dangerous cities in north carolina

North Carolina is well known for its arts and cultures, mild climate, and over 300 miles of beautiful shoreline. A hiker’s paradise, it offers 41 state parks, ten national parks, and four national forests.

With a population of 10.55 million, it is the 28th largest state in the US but the 9th most populated state. North Carolina borders four states, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. Like every state in the US, some cities are considered more dangerous than others. However, as a state, North Carolina has 20% less violence than South Carolina

But what about cities?

Which are considered the most dangerous cities in North Carolina?

Let’s find out…

Dangerous Cities in North Carolina

A handful of towns and cities in North Carolina have high unemployment and low wages, which in turn drives a larger amount of crime. So, let’s take a look at some of the cities that are the most dangerous in North Carolina with high crime rates, starting with…


Location: Robeson County

Lumberton is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in North Carolina. It has around 19,000 residents and a high rate of violence and property crime compared to other places within the state. The chance of becoming a victim of any crime is 1 in 27.

Property crime is the biggest problem in Lumberton, though. The chance you will become a victim of property crime is 1 in 14. This means keeping your home safe and installing surveillance if needed is important. It also has one of the highest vehicle theft rates, according to FBI crime data. In addition, 31.3% of the population live under the poverty line. This is 12.5% higher than the national average.


Location: Small City in Stanley County

Albemarle has one of the highest crime rates in America when compared to all communities of all sizes, with a crime rate of 53 per 1,000 residents. Here, there is a 1 in 19 chance of becoming a violent or property crime victim.

The northwest region of Albemarle is typically thought to be the safest by locals. Your likelihood of becoming a victim of crime might range from 1 in 41 in the northwest of the city to 1 in 11 in the central neighborhoods. Property crime is highly prevalent, so again, surveillance is advised to protect you and your home. It’s reported a house with no surveillance is 300% more likely to be targeted.


Richmond County

It is believed in Rockingham that a crime occurs every 8 hours and 15 minutes. It has 51.88 crimes per 1,000 people in a typical year. The northeastern region is often regarded as the safest by locals.

Your likelihood of becoming a victim of crime can range from 1 in 12 in the southern neighborhoods to 1 in 31 in the northeast. According to residents, Rockingham appeals to the older generation as there is not much opportunity to progress there financially.



Rockingham County

With a population of around 14,500 people, Reidsville sits high on this list of dangerous places to visit or live in North Carolina. Property crime is a huge issue, with the highest number of crimes being targeted at people’s homes.

Residents have a 1 in 17 chance of being a victim of a violent crime which is 124% higher than the national average. The crime rate for Reidsville sits at 24 out of 250 people who will be victims of a crime of some sort. It doesn’t have much going for the younger generation but was voted one of the top 10 cities for retirees.


Mecklenburg County

Recently, Charlotte, North Carolina, has received negative press. This is because of the rise in murder rates in the area. Currently, it sits at 12.08 per 100,000 residents.

Additionally, the overall crime rate in the population is 42.26 per 1000, which is much higher than the national average. Whilst some areas of this city are safer than others, it is a well-known tourist destination, so if you plan on visiting Charlotte, book a hotel in a nicer neighborhood.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

It is famous for being home to the NASCAR hall of fame and lots of urban bars and restaurants. If you need to move to Charlotte, make sure you first do some research on the communities to ensure you are going to the safest part of town.


Columbus County

Another dangerous city in North Carolina is Whiteville. Since it has the second-highest rate of property crime in the state due to its poor job opportunities, housing, and affordability conditions, locals should be extra cautious with their houses, vehicles, and personal goods.

Whiteville was known previously for its rich history, with one of the post offices still operating there since 1821. However, it has become a dangerous city with higher crime rates in recent years. There are 56.27 crimes committed against every 1,000 residents each year. The west half of the city is often seen as the safest among locals.



Durham County

One of the most dangerous cities in America is Durham, North Carolina. The city’s murder rate in 2015 was 21.5 per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national average. The city also had a violent crime rate of 47.60 per 1000.

Durham is the fourth most populated city in North Carolina, making it even more popular for crime. However, there are nice neighborhoods, and with its suburban feel, with many residents owning their own homes, you can find a good quality of life there. It is important, however, that you ensure your home is protected.


Vance County

Henderson has earned the title of North Carolina’s murder capital. The city, which has a little over 15,000 residents, is seen to be the second most dangerous place in North Carolina for violent crimes, with a startling rate of 20.12 violent crimes and 56.77 property crimes per 1000 people.

Another concerning fact is the increasing number of murders. An extremely high number — 303 — of violent crimes were committed in 2020, including ten murders, 41 robberies, and 246 assaults.

The numbers don’t lie!

One in fifty people will experience a violent crime. In 2020, there were 855 incidences of property crimes, including 244 burglaries and 70 instances of vehicle theft.


Anson County

Wadesboro has a population of 5,402. It’s North Carolina’s third-most dangerous city despite having a small population. Surprisingly, it has a crime rate of 97.64 per 1,000 population. Most of the crimes committed here are property crimes, even though violent crimes do account for some of the high rates.

Almost one-third of city people live below the poverty line, which accounts for the high poverty rate in the area, which leads to more crimes. This isn’t unusual all over the United States and, in fact, the world. Understandably, Wadesboro is among the most dangerous communities in North Carolina, given the lack of economic opportunity and resources available to fight crime.


Gaston County

Gastonia has a population of 80,000 people and is the largest city in Gaston County. There have been numerous reports of violent crimes in recent years, and the city has a high overall crime rate of 48 in every 1000 residents.

Also, it is a remote region, making it challenging for locals to get important services like healthcare. Because of this, many locals are poor and at risk of being victims of crime. Even though some locals see Gastonia as a lovely city, it lacks opportunity and entertainment.



Martin County

Some of North Carolina’s top horse shows and rodeos are held in Williamston. Hundreds of people attend its yearly “Carolina Country Stampede,” which features delicious food and even better entertainment every September.

Although people are not afraid to visit there, it does have a high crime rate. The Carolina Country Stampede brings a temporary hope and influx of people but, unfortunately, doesn’t escape the fact that 1 in 5 people live in poverty in the city.

Unemployment can cause chaos…

Additionally, 15% of residents are unemployed. With unemployment comes a higher link to criminal activity. Williamston has one of the highest crime rates in America for its size, with a crime rate of 67 per 1,000 population. Here, there is a 1 in 15 probability of becoming a violent or property crime victim.

Least Dangerous Cities in North Carolina

Chapel Hill

Orange County

Chapel Hill is close to Raleigh and Durham and is home to the University of North Carolina and its Carolina Tar Heels. It is well known for being a bustling college town. It’s more than just a college town, though.

It’s filled with an array of restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife. Chapel Hill is all about living happily, from its charming downtown and historic university to the famous Ackland Art Gallery and stunning vistas of Jordan Lake. In addition, the nearby town of Carrboro has a thriving music and arts scene.

Chapel Hill


Buncombe County

If you like food and beer, Asheville is the place for you. With low crime rates compared to the list we just mentioned, it has something to offer everyone. Especially if you are a craft beer lover. Ashville has been crowned Beer City four times in the USA. The region is home to many independent craft breweries that distribute around the country and huge brewing plants that have access to great water sources for making beer.

You’ll never run out of things to do between delicious food and drink, a diverse music and arts scene, and outdoor activities.


New Hanover County

If you love the ocean, Wilmington is the place for you. The area is far from suburban and still has a historic, quaint feel. It has a small city feel with a lot of friendly locals who enjoy the finer things in life, like dining al fresco by the river and long hot summers.

However, it is a little pricey in comparison to other places in North Carolina. Another important factor to add is that crime is at an all-time low in Wilmington, so you can have peace of mind knowing that you are unlikely to be a victim of any violent or property crimes.


Wake County

And finally, the safest place to live in North Carolina is Rolesville. The city has a population of 10,050, and the likelihood of becoming a victim of any crime is extremely low. In fact, 83% lower than the North Carolina average. Its crime rate is 451 for every 100,000 residents. It also offers a rural feel, and most people own their own homes in the city. The city is very family friendly with lots of schools and parks you can choose from.


What Other Cities Should I Avoid?

You’re in luck! We’ve put together a few guides to give you a better idea starting with the 10 Most Dangerous States In The US, followed by the 10 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Chicago, the Most Dangerous Cities In Florida, the Most Dangerous Cities In Ohio, and the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Los Angeles.

Now let’s look at places where you and your family can settle with peace of mind. Check out the Best Cities To Live In Connecticut, the Safest Neighborhoods In Atlanta, and the Safest Cities In California in 2023.

But that’s not all! We’ve also covered the Safest Neighborhoods In Philadelphia, the Best Places To Live In Florida For Families, and the Best Neighborhoods In Long Island, as well as the Safest Places To Live In Florida, the Safest Cities In Texas, and the Best Neighborhoods In Brooklyn.

Final Thoughts

The population in North Carolina is increasing, and this is due to many enticing factors in the state. Many elements, like its proximity to the beach and mountain scenery, warm temperature, growing tech sector, attractive employment market, strong schools, and prestigious universities, make it an appealing place to live.

In fact, North Carolina’s Wake County is the third-fastest growing county in the US. However, there are issues with property crime. Some cities on this list, such as Rockingham and Charlotte, sit above average for the national crime rate in the US and should be visited with caution.

All the best in finding your new home!

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