What Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In South Carolina?

Dangerous Cities in South Carolina

With its warm climate, plentiful beaches, and vibrant cities, South Carolina is a desirable place for those looking to escape the frigid weather in the north. The state is rich in history and culture, filled with charm and exuding southern hospitality. However, statewide there is more crime in South Carolina than the rest of the country. With this in mind, for those looking to settle down in the Palmetto State, it can be especially difficult to know which cities to avoid.

Based on FBI statistics, the most dangerous cities in South Carolina include Myrtle Beach, Hartsville, Darlington, Cheraw, Union, Florence, Georgetown, Spartanburg, Greenwood, and Lake City. Hartsville alone, the second most dangerous city, has a violent crime rate that is almost three times the state average and a total crime rate that is a staggering 304% higher than the national average.

 So, if you’re looking for a safe place for you and your family to live in South Carolina, it is crucial that you know which areas to steer clear of. With that said, let’s take a deeper look at the top 10 most dangerous cities in South Carolina.

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2022 South Carolina Crime Statistics

Overall, violent crime in South Carolina has climbed by 4% this year, which follows a 4% drop last year. This earns South Carolina the highest violent crime rate in the entire South Atlantic region of the United States.

Only 46% of South Carolina residents feel safe in their state, which seems a little out of place considering the high rates of personal experience with crime.

Violent Crime in South Carolina

Despite a statewide increase in violent crime and reported crime, fewer South Carolinians feel that crime is on the rise – 64% compared to 66% nationwide.

  • South Carolina’s violent crime rate is 154% higher than it is amongst the state’s safest cities. It is tied with Alabama for the sixth-highest violent crime rate in the nation.
  • Violent crime in South Carolina increased by 4% year over year.
  • The most common violent crime is aggravated assaults, making up about 76% of all reported incidents.

Property Crime in South Carolina

The good news is that, in terms of property crime, the state is experiencing a 3% drop year over year. However, with about 29.4 incidents per 1,000 people, South Carolina still far exceeds the national average of 21.1.

What Are the Most Dangerous Cities in South Carolina?

With South Carolina’s reputation as the sixth most dangerous state in the nation, high crime rates should not be all that surprising. In an effort to help you avoid the worst areas in the state, we’ve put together a ranking of the most dangerous places in South Carolina for 2021. While you can certainly speak with a long-time resident of South Carolina about which cities to steer clear of, analyzing statistics will give you the most unbiased answer.

To determine the most dangerous places across the Palmetto State, we took a look at reported FBI crime date. More specifically, we examined the property crime, violent crime, and total crime rates for each place in South Carolina’s with over 5,000 residents. Those with the highest crimes per 100K people in 2021 earned a spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in South Carolina:

  1. Myrtle Beach
  2. Hartsville
  3. Darlington
  4. Cheraw
  5. Union
  6. Florence
  7. Spartanburg
  8. Georgetown
  9. Greenwood
  10. Lake City

Let’s dive deeper and explore these communities in detail, along with their characteristics, crime rates, and livability.

1. Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Population: 30,106
  • Total Reported Incidents: 4,331
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,190
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 11,234
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 12,424

Myrtle Beach is a favorite destination among East Coast vacationers. However, it is considered to be the most dangerous city in South Carolina, with a total crime rate per 100K of 12,424. The total crime rate in the city is an astounding 399% higher than the national average and violent crime is 214% higher. Based on crime data, the area of 21st Ave, North and North Ocean Blvd. is deemed the most dangerous place in Myrtle Beach.

Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in the city are 1 in 9. In addition to being the most dangerous city in South Carolina, it is also ranked the third most dangerous city in the entire country as of 2021.

2. Hartsville, SC

  • Population: 7,816
  • Total Reported Incidents: 776
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,435
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 8,878
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 10,314

According to FBI crime data, Hartsville is ranked as the second most dangerous city in South Carolina. It is the largest city in Darlington County, home to major industries, a lively downtown area, and plenty of cultural events and places to eat. There are approximately two burglaries every week in Hartsville, which is frequent enough to give the city the highest burglary rate in the entire state.

Although no murders were reported in the city during the 2019 calendar year, Hartsville still has the fifth highest violent crime rate in South Carolina. The most dangerous area in Hartsville is the vicinity of Bayview Circle and the W. Bobo Newsome Highway. Your chances of becoming a victim of crime in Hartsville are 1 in 10.

3. Darlington, SC

  • Population: 6,185
  • Total Reported Incidents: 592
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,478
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 8,580
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 10,058

Known for its NASCAR races and numerous tobacco farms, Darlington takes the third spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in the state of South Carolina. Compared to last year, Darlington saw a steep rise in property crime and averaged more than one car theft a month. Violent crime in Darlington is the fourth highest in South Carolina, and a whopping 290% higher than the national average. Overall, you have a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Darlington, South Carolina.

In addition to the high crime rates, Darlington also has an incredibly high unemployment rate at 10.0% and a median household income that is 53% lower than the national average. So, if you want to live in a place where decent incomes are the norm, jobs opportunities are plentiful, there’s tons to do, and crime rates are low, steer clear of Darlington.

4. Cheraw, SC

  • Population: 5,793
  • Total Reported Incidents: 474
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,091
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,390
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 8,481

Next on our list of the most dangerous cities in South Carolina is the small town of Cheraw. Home to nearly 6,000 people, Cheraw is also one of the poorest places in South Carolina, which often goes hand-in-hand with high crime. It has one of the lowest median household incomes in the state, at $33,2000 and the poverty rate is a staggering 21%.

With a total crime rate per 100K of 8,481, and 241% higher than the national average, Cheraw is deemed the fourth most dangerous place in South Carolina. Although no murders were reported during the 2019 calendar year, the violent crime rate is still almost double the state average. Overall, you have a 1 in 12 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Cheraw, South Carolina.

5. Union, SC

  • Population: 8,081
  • Total Reported Incidents:
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 988
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,940
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,928

Home to around 8,000 residents, Union is another small town with big crime problems. In fact, year over year the crime in Union has increased by roughly 15% and the city has climbed nine spots on this list compared to the previous year. Violent crime rates in Union are 218% higher than the national average, while property crime is 229% higher. All in all, you have a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Union.

In addition to its high crime, over 30% of the population in Union is below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is 8.6%, and the median household income is a fraction of the national average, at $33,218.

6. Florence, SC

  • Population: 38,221
  • Total Reported Incidents: 2,943
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,188
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,631
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,819

Situated at the core of the Pee Dee region in northeastern South Carolina, Florence is the primary city in the Florence metropolitan area. Despite its vibrant social scene, affordable cost of living, and plentiful local amenities, Florence is the sixth most dangerous city in the state of South Carolina. It also has the sixth highest burglary rate in the state, averaging slightly over one break-in every day.

Violent crime is also a major issue in Florence, as the city experienced 447 incidents in 2019 and 7 of them were murders. Crime, overall, is increasing in the city by about 5% year over year. Based on FBI crime statistics, you have about a 1 in 13 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Florence, South Carolina.

7. Spartanburg, SC

  • Population: 37,570
  • Total Reported Incidents: 2,898
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,187
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,489
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,676

Located in “The Upstate” area of South Carolina’s northwestern region, Spartanburg is home to about 37,570 residents. It is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has been known as the Hub City since the 19th century when it became a major railroad intersection. Despite its proximity to breathtaking mountains, the Eastern seaboard, and lovely beaches, Spartanburg is considered the seventh most dangerous city in South Carolina.

Crime rates are exceptionally high, with violent crime being 213% higher than the national average and property crime at 208% higher. Year over year crime has increased in the city by about 74%. Based on statistics, you have about a 1 in 14 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Spartanburg. The most dangerous areas of the city are Hilltop, Howard St./ Arch St., and Duncan St./ Caulder Ave.

8. Georgetown, SC

  • Population: 9,071
  • Total Reported Incidents: 650
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,225
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,218
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,443

As the third oldest city in South Carolina, you might assume that it’s had enough time to iron out all the kinks. However, Georgetown earns the eighth spot on our list of the most dangerous cities in South Carolina. Crime rates are through the roof, and increasing year over year by 8%.

Violent crime alone is 223% higher than the national average and your chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Georgetown is 1 in 82. This is a huge number when you consider the fact that the average for South Carolina is 1 in 196.

Overall, you have a 1 in 14 chance of becoming a victim of any sort of crime in Georgetown. However, high rates of crime aren’t the only thing that plagues Georgetown. The unemployment rate is one of the highest in the state, at 7.6%, and about 22.8% of the population is living below the poverty line. Not to mention, Georgetown’s median household income of $32,593 is not benefiting anyone.

9. Greenwood, SC

  • Population: 23,260
  • Total Reported Incidents: 1,642
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,494
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,515
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,009

Greenwood is known for being the location of two popular annual festivals: The Festival of Flowers and the Festival of Discovery. While these may sound like peaceful events, Greenwood’s festivals actually contribute to the exceptionally high violent crime rate in the city. In fact, Greenwood’s violent crime rate is the third worst in South Carolina. Though, it appears that crime is decreasing year over year by about 18%.

Regardless, Greenwood is considered the ninth most dangerous city in South Carolina. Crime rates are 182% higher than the national average and you have a 1 in 15 chance of becoming a victim in Greenwood.

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10. Lake City, SC

  • Population: 6,751
  • Total Reported Incidents: 395
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,712
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 4,327
  • Total Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,039

Coming in last on our list of the top ten most dangerous cities in South Carolina is Lake City. Located in Florence County and about 60 miles west of Myrtle Beach, the city is home to about 6,751 residents. Despite being named one Travel & Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in May, crimes rates are remarkably high in Lake City, South Carolina.

Your chances of being a victim of violent crime in Lake City are 1 in 69, but not all areas have this high of a rate. Most of this crime is concentrated in Lake City’s “city center.” Though, total crime in Lake City is 143% higher than the national average and you have a 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim of (overall) crime in the city.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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