15 Most Improved Cities in South Carolina

November 7, 2014

6. North Charleston, SC

While it shares nearly the same namesake, North Charleston is the third-largest city in South Carolina and is not simply just another part of Charleston. North Charleston is home to some big time commercial aircraft manufacturing and assembly, as well as some great banking industry in the form of Global Financial Services. You can’t miss the Riverfront Park if you’re in town either, or take in the vibrant local art scene. The North Charleston Police Department regularly gives crime prevention presentations and coordinators neighborhood watch programs, as well as utilizing their drug tip line to help lower the crime rate.

2007 Crime Rate: 94.19
2012 Crime Rate: 64.50
31.51% Decrease In Crime

7. Mauldin, SC

Re-incorporated as a town after World War II in 1960, Mauldin has grown at a steady pace, but unlike some other cities on this list it has seemingly always had a lower crime rate than most. With multiple parks for the public to use and an excellent Senior Center, Maudlin is on the rise and their crime is on the decline. Part of this is because of the initiatives of the Mauldin police department and their use of data driven programs to help prevent crime. The department also issues monthly press releases and announcements to better empower their citizens and make sure they’re more aware of what’s going on in the city and how to report and prevent crime.

2007 Crime Rate: 31.08
2012 Crime Rate: 21.54
30.70% Decrease In Crime

8. Hartsville, SC

Located in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region in the northeastern corner of the state, Hartsville comes just inside the Top 10 for our list of most improved cities in the state. Hartsville is right between Myrtle Beach and Charlotte, which makes it a great stopping point for those on road trips up the east coast. Calling itself a “small town with a big heart,” Hartsville has plenty of great restaurants to stop at near downtown. Violent crime has taken a drastic decrease over the past five years according to FBI data, in part because of the C.A.T. (Community Action Team) that the Hartsville Police employs. The team responds to neighborhood crime trends in the hopes of furthering to make Hartsville a safe community.

2007 Crime Rate: 188.74
2012 Crime Rate: 133.02
29.52% Decrease In Crime

9. Mount Pleasant, SC

Mount Pleasant is already one of the best and safest cities in South Carolina, but even a great place like Mount Pleasant can get better and strive for perfection. Located just outside of Charleston, the Mount Pleasant Police Department is a recipient of the CALEA Flagship award, which recognizes exemplary law enforcement agencies across the country. Officers often work together with citizens to identify underlying causes of problems within the community and quickly develop solutions to rectify them. It is easy to see why Mount Pleasant’s crime rate was already so low and why it continues to decrease.

2007 Crime Rate: 26.73
2012 Crime Rate: 19.75
26.11% Decrease In Crime

10. Spartanburg, SC

Located in the Northwest of South Carolina, Spartanburg has seen a steep decrease in crime over the past five years according to data provided by the FBI, most notably the amount of violent crimes committed. Spartanburg has a Gang Resistance Education and Training program (G.R.E.A.T.) that is a school-based program to help educate children in public schools on the dangers of becoming gang members that seems to be ultra effective, and teaching them to solve problems without violence.  The Spartanburg community has also taken matters into their own hands, with over 25 different neighborhood watch programs in operation.

2007 Crime Rate: 115.64
2012 Crime Rate: 85.73
25.86% Decrease In Crime

11. Darlington, SC

Not everything goes 100 miles an hour in Darlington like they do at the Darlington Raceway, but their crime rate over the past five years has come close. The city located in the Northeast of South Carolina has seen its crime rate drop nearly 25 percent since 2007, most notably their violent crime. The Darlington Police Department has joined those departments who have found success using social media to catch criminals and prevent crime, utilizing Facebook to publicize mug shots of wanted criminals, or potential risk areas during events like Halloween, festivals and much more.

2007 Crime Rate: 122.45
2012 Crime Rate: 92.03
24.84% Decrease In Crime

12. Rock Hill, SC

A two-time winner of the “All-American City” and four-time winner of “100 Best Communities for Young People”, Rock Hill is becoming one of the best cities in the state to take up residence. Coming in at No. 12 for our Top 15 Most Improved Cities, to add just another feather in their cap, Rock Hill is located in the northern portion of South Carolina. They’ve seen violent crime rates virtually cut in half from 2007 to 2012, according to FBI data. Like other progressive police departments, Rock Hill are using social media to help their community, but they also have their very own RHPD Citizen App that helps keep residents informed and safe throughout the day.

2007 Crime Rate: 58.67
2012 Crime Rate: 44.40
24.32% Decrease In Crime

13. Sumter, SC

Located in the heart of South Carolina, Sumter is the unofficial home of the Shaw Air Force base. With a crime rate that once ranked Sumter as one of the most dangerous cities in the state, local law enforcement took on the challenge to change the face of crime in the city and spin it to a positive. Through programs and improvement of the community the Sumter Police Department has seen the crime rate drop over 20 percent since 2007, including a drop in the violent crime rate. The town has an “I’m OK” check-in program for the elderly and those with medical or special needs, which helps ensure their well being. Sumter also has active neighborhood watch and business watch programs.

2007 Crime Rate: 79.55
2012 Crime Rate: 62.33
21.65% Decrease In Crime

14. Lake City, SC

Home of Ronald McNair, one of the astronauts tragically lost in the Challenger mission, Lake City comes in just inside the Top 15 Most Improved Cities in South Carolina. The quaint former rail town, which was once the central point of commerce between the north and the south, is becoming one of the safer cities in the state thanks to a marvelous job by law enforcement. Located east of Sumter, in the middle of the state, the police department has done an excellent job enacting crime prevention programs to realize a good drop off in overall crime over the five year period. According to stats from the FBI, there’s been a steady decline in both violent and property crime. Making use of neighborhood watch programs has been a boon for the Lake City Police.

2007 Crime Rate: 114.30
2012 Crime Rate: 89.56
21.65% Decrease In Crime

15. Greenville, SC

The biggest city in the northern portion of South Carolina, Greenville rounds out the Top 15 Most Improved Cities in the state. With beautiful natural trails near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, providing safety for these natural attractions is priority for the community. Utilizing crime prevention programs like neighborhood, apartment and business watch, the Greenville PD has done an amazing job dropping crime over 20 percent in the last five years. They’ve also utilized a Crime Free Multi-Housing Program, which after going through a certification process, provides safe and drug-free areas for families to live.

2007 Crime Rate: 77.59
2012 Crime Rate: 61.23
21.09% Decrease In Crime

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15 Most Improved Cities in South Carolina

Disclaimer: To improve the accuracy and usefulness of our list, we chose to exclude small communities with populations below 5,000 in our rankings.
Our rankings are determined by national crime statistics published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our rankings are only as accurate as the local population and crime statistics officially released by the FBI.

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