Is Charleston, SC Safe? 10 Worst Places in Charleston SC!


Charleston,SC is a friendly waterfront city popular for its rich heritage, beauty, history, business climate, and romantic appeal. This coastal beauty has lots of big city attractions and was once the fourth largest and wealthiest city in the U.S!

It has a lot of galleries (art) and a growing food culture, offering the most from lowcountry staples to modern tapas. All these notwithstanding, there is still crime in Charleston, SC. So here are the areas to avoid.

Current Crime Situation in Charleston, SC

According to the data from the FBI, Charleston SC crime rate in 2022 was 2,264.3 for every 100,000 people, which is around -2.58% lower than the national rate of 2,324.2 per 100,000 people. Out of 3,449 total crimes, this city reported 571 violent crimes and 2,878 property crimes.

Violent crimes had a crime rate of 375 for every 100,000 people, which is 1% greater than the state average, while 2,878 property crimes had a crime rate of 1,889 for every 100,000 people, which is roughly 3% greater than the state average.

From the total crimes reported for violent crime, murder, rape, robbery, and assault had 8, 54, 73, and 436 incidents respectively, with a crime rate of 5.3, 35.5, 47.9, and 286.2 for every 100,000 people. For property crimes, burglary, theft, and vehicle theft, the total reported crime was 229, 2,146, and 503 incidents respectively, with a crime rate of 150.3, 1,408.8, and 330.2 for every 100,000 people.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Places in Charleston, SC

1. Kiawah Island


There are 1,772 people on this island, which is one of the smallest in Charleston. This neighborhood, with 10 miles of pristine, white sandy beaches, was once tagged the number 1 Best South Carolina Beaches by U.S. News and World Report, and it is a short drive south of downtown Charleston.

Despite its size, the crime rate is higher than the national average. With 2023 FBI data, this neighborhood's violent crime rate is 20.2 compared to the U.S. average of 22.7, and the property crime rate is 39.5 compared to the U.S. average of 35.4.

The FBI's 2022 crime reports show assault is the chief crime for violent crimes, as theft is a property crime. The total number of crimes recorded was 393, where violent crime and property crime were 69 and 324 incidences. What's wonderful about this area is that crime seems to drop every year. So far, year after year, crime has fallen by 14%, and violent crimes are 81% lower than the U.S. average, with overall crime rates 83% lower than the U.S. average.

With these numbers, no wonder locals advise on the beauty in visiting the district at any time of the day, whether single females or couples. But visitors in this city are reminded to be alert and not wander in any gang neighborhoods at night because they are very active.


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2. Goose Creek


Goose Creek, with a friendly, small-town atmosphere, is located north of Charleston in Berkeley County, and a quick drive away from few of the stunning beaches that makes South Carolina popular.

There are 42,944 people in this neighborhood, where the total crime rate is 2,068 for every 100,000 residents. In the past decades, the crime rate has been excessive. Although the rate has improved now, there are still a couple of property crimes that keep the police on a regular lookout.

From the FBI's 2022 crime reports, there were 2 murders all year, and other violent incidents like rape, robbery, and assault which were 14, 11, and 103 incidents respectively. For reported property crimes, theft and burglary took the bulk which were 121 and 621 crime incidences, respectively. Vehicle theft cases made up only around 11% of property crimes.

Many people find satisfaction in riding bikes to move about, but night time can be sketchy. Public transportation still serves at optimal safety, as cash thefts are very minimal. In Goose Creek, you have a chance of being a crime victim is 1 in 49.

3. Eastside


22,016 people occupy this Suburban area located on the eastern flank of the city. Eastside has made significant strides but continues to struggle with violence, gang wars, drug activity, and crimes such as burglary, homicide, car theft, and robbery.

According to police data, the homicide rate in the neighborhood dropped after 2010, when six people were killed, and 2012, which saw four deaths. Between 2013 and 2017, the neighborhood did not see more than three people killed per year.

In 2018, there were no homicides, but by 2020, there were five deaths. The data for aggravated assaults (using firearms) stayed in the single digits after dipping from 10 in 2010, but by 2018 and 2019, they rose to 13 and 19, respectively.

The locals warn to always keep items of value out of plain sight in the vehicle. Pickpockets take time to explore as frequent as visitors find their way into the neighborhood. So, it is best to keep your wallets closer, especially if stuffed with cash. Also, females are encouraged to move at late hours only amidst company.

4. Hanahan


Hanahan is located in the southeastern region of Berkeley County, bordered by the west and south by North Charleston. Its scenic views, rich history, and blooming culture make it stand out. Sadly, crime is still an issue in this neighborhood for the longest time; however, the population of 25,743 has seen a decrease by 19% over the years, which says a lot about the neighborhood police watch.

From recent statistics, Hanahan’s violent crime rate is 18.4, and this is below the national average of 22.7. Property crime in Hanahan shoots at 28.9, which is also below the national average of 35.4. It is encouraging that both violent and property crimes are below the national averages,

There were a total of 323 property crime incidents in 2022 and 88 recorded violent crime incidents, with no murders and homicides, according to FBI 2022 data. Other violent reported incidents of rape, robbery, and assault were 18, 9, and 61 incidents, respectively, with crime rates of 80.6, 40.3, and 273.3 for every 100,000 people. For property crimes, theft, burglary, and vehicle theft cases made up 1,120.1, 174.7, and 152.3 incidences respectively, with crime rates of 1,120.1, 174.7, and 152.3 for every 100,000 people. Overall, the crime rate in this neighborhood is said to be 21% lower than the U.S. average.

Contrary to how the early 90s were, alleyways and street corners were hardly sandwiched by people. So, bike strolls at daytime or nighttime can be done safely by men and women traveling solo. You can move about with wads of cash and not feel intimidated as the police in the neighborhood are visible. The hotels nearby are highly recommended for their safety measures.

5. Mount Pleasant


This charming neighborhood of 89,410 residents in Charleston County has a cherished history and is overflowing with culture. Yet, certain drug-riddled areas are filled with bad cops who will pull you over if you look out of place in that area.

In 2022, the FBI's report showed 1,451 crimes registered in Mount Pleasant, with the city's crime rate of 1,544 incidents for every 100,000 people. The overall crime rate for Mount Pleasant was 34% below the overall crime rate State-wide. From the overall reported incidents, only 119 were violent cases, and no murder cases. The remaining 1,332 were property crimes, with theft superseding the list with 1,016 cases at 1,081.4 for every 100,000 people.

With intentional police activities in this neighborhood, over the years, crime in Mount Pleasant decreased by 27%. It has even disappeared off bus stations, and now it is safe during transportation, especially when moving with cash. Walking or biking can be done in the daytime and nighttime with little or no consciousness of the surroundings. So, everyone can travel alone safely, particularly women.


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6. Summerville


Summerville occupies 53,643 people and has crime rates 9% greater than the South Carolina average. In this neighborhood, there is a massive heroin issue, according to DCSD, and most of the crime is theft and burglary, but nonviolent. The police visibility helps, but crime still occurs regardless.

According to the FBI's 2022 report, it shows that the total crime rate was 3,045 per 100,000 residents. A total of 1,566 crimes were reported, and 1,378 were property crimes alone. The property crime rate per 100,000 residents was 2,680; meanwhile, that of violent crime rate was 366.

The danger in this community really depends on which part of Summerville you're in. There are a few neighborhoods to avoid, such as the low-income housing like near SHS. But the few good options are Cane Bay, Jedburg, Nexton, Sangaree, Knightville, Trolly Road area, etc.

During public transit, there are more infrequent chances of being robbed of cash or pickpocketed. However, there are greater chances of your vehicle or personal property being hijacked. The locals recommend exploring the district in the daytime and also at night time, so women traveling solo can feel at ease. In Summerville, one's chance of being a crime victim is 1 in 33.

7. Harleston Village


Harleston village is tucked away to the east of King Street, in the center of Charleston Harbor and Broad Street, with the College of Charleston and MUSC to the south. There are interesting attractions in this neighborhood, like the Colonial Lake Park, nestled within the heart of the neighborhood, giving off a peaceful, picturesque oasis in Charleston's urban atmosphere.

This neighborhood has a total population of 2,811 with a fairly equal female-to-male ratio. Here, property crime is a major problem but with little or no violent crime. The police patrols are reasonably effective, so the crime rate is impeded.

As long as you don't forget to lock your vehicles when you leave, you will be a step ahead in guarding your safety. Public transportation is free of petty criminals, providing reasons for the safety of your cash and wallet. There is nothing to worry about walking or biking in this neighborhood; female residents share about the safety even at late hours alone.

8. West Ashley


There are an estimated 83,996 people in this neighborhood subjected to strings of car break-ins, burglaries, and double homicides. Though violent crime is almost non-existent, it still does have a generally high property crime rate, but certainly one of the fewest records of incidents.

According to 2022 Charleston Police Department data, violent crime in West Ashley, which includes homicide, aggravated assault, robbery and sex offenses dipped by 12.2% in 2022, while nonviolent crimes, including motor vehicle theft and burglary, dipped by 18%. The only increase in 2022 crime includes drug violations and weapons law violations at 38% increase.

Locals share that exploring the neighborhood is safe, with the majority recommending bike riding. Nighttime is also safe and can be explored by solo traveling women who have little fear of safety. The public transportation axis has no recent record of pickpockets or panhandlers, so your cash and wallet are safe on. Some of the safe areas in West Ashley are Northbridge, The Crescent, Avondale, South Windermere, and the Settlement at Ashley Hall.

9. James Island


This island boasts a plethora of beautiful trees that tourists and traveling visitors are amazed by. The population of 12,157 sees crime rates 60% lower than the South Carolina average. When the past 10 years of data on homicides and aggravated assaults with firearms was analyzed, it was found to be a small number of people disproportionately carrying guns and shooting up the community.

According to the Charleston Police Department (CPD), there are usually multiple property crimes and outbursts of violence like fatal shootings or homicides in this neighbourhood. With this, the city always attempts to provide more hours for the additional patrols.

In 2022, FBI data recorded the total crime rate to be 1,121 for every 100,000 people, with property crime at 925 and violent crime at 197. Violent crimes, however, are 47% lower than the U.S. average, and over the years, crime has decreased by 14%.

You do not have to worry about being accosted or mugged of cash when moving about. Public commute routes and stations have safety records, too. It is safe to explore even at night and alone if female. In James Island, the chance of becoming a crime victim is 1 in 90.

10. North Charleston


This neighborhood of 113,880 people has continuous reports on both violent and property crimes. It used to be the tenth most treacherous city in the U.S., then it graduated to the fourth, and now it is amongst the top fifty most dangerous places in South Carolina. There are frequent incidents of murders, shootings, and aggravated assaults. This place has a terrible influx of drug stabbings, offenders, and rapes as common crimes, making this one of the areas to avoid in Charleston, SC.

Statistics for 2023 released by the North Charleston Police Department shows a downward trend in crime when comparing January-October of 2023 to 2022. For violent crime, murders, rapes, and robberies dipped by 17%, 6% and 28%, respectively. When looking at gun violence, assaults with firearms dipped by 14%, the number of victims shot dipped by 17%, and violent crimes with firearms dipped by 28%.

Violent crime arrests and gun arrests are up 12% and 13%, respectively, according to the department data. The deployment of more police officers in this neighborhood seemed to have more effect than anyone could have imagined. And the team are obviously committed to continuing this downward trend to make North Charleston a safer place.

The areas of North Charleston to avoid are the south of Dorchester Rd and the southern part of the town. This neighborhood is barely a place for safe biking or walking, and night times come with pockets of crime in various alleyways. Not only independent women travelers but also residents avoid moving around at night, especially alone.

The Safest Places in Charleston, SC

Is Charleston SC safe? Certainly, there are some neighborhoods where there is drug trafficking, violence, and the settling of scores between rival gangs. But the neighborhoods commonly visited by tourists are far from these. The city knows how important tourism is and goes to great lengths to ensure it continues. Some of the safe neighborhoods are Fort Mill, Edgefield, Tega Cay, Bluffton, Isle of Palms, Walhalla, and Central. The safety of the town is one of the most important factors for the security team.


Charleston, SC has some dangerous neighborhoods; however, unless you are looking for trouble or drugs, many areas are safe. This city is one of the most beautiful cities in South Carolina and has a culturally rich heritage with many epic experiences. Hence, it would be rather sad if tourists fail to visit because Charleston’s tourist sites do not represent any danger.