Is Clemson Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 30, 2024
Clemson, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Clemson is an Upstate South Carolina city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The name refers to both the town and the university.

This is the kind of town that comes to a halt during game day, and everyone cheers on the Tigers.

Everything is cloaked in purple and orange, and there’s a special place down under for those rooting for the South Carolina Gamecocks, an SEC arch-rival.

If none of that college sports mumbo jumbo means anything to you, don’t worry; there’s more than just a college town here.

You should know that people will refer to Death Valley, but that’s the nickname for the stadium, not the hottest place-on-earth desert in California.

Clemson’s population is just shy of 18,000, bringing a Southern charm and Appalachian culture with the entire western boundary taking you to the shore of several different lakes.

A visit to the Upstate is as much about your preferred city as it is about the amenities nearby, and Clemson is in pole position in the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Nantahala National Forest and some of the most incredible waterfalls in the country.

Warnings & Dangers in Clemson

Overall Risk


There's a low risk in Clemson, but you'll find more to do in the area surrounding the city than in it. Of course, unless you're a football fan and it's football season.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Public transportation in Clemson primarily consists of the Clemson Area Transit (CAT) system, offering bus services that connect key areas within the city and surrounding areas. Taxis and rideshares are available but will be useless during the traffic of game day. A rental car really makes the best choice because it opens up the foothills, mountains, and lakes to you.

Pickpockets Risk


Just seven pickpockets have been reported in the past five years. I can't believe the number isn't higher with the huge crowds, but you should err on the side of caution and be careful about what you bring with you. Keep purses small and concealed, and put wallets in front pants pockets, not back pockets.

Natural Disasters Risk


This is a medium risk because of the ongoing severe weather potential. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding, and flash flooding are possible.

Mugging Risk


Clemson hasn't seen more than five robberies in a year, going all the way back to 2016. No more than 10 in a year have been reported this century. That's a low risk, but don't let your guard down, especially on game days (and nights). While snow isn't that common in Clemson, the mountains nearby will have a growing risk the higher you go in elevation.

Terrorism Risk


This is another low-risk, and game day security will be tight to keep it that way. It is important to note that mass shootings and domestic terrorism can happen anywhere. It's important to pay attention to your surroundings and report anything suspicious.

Scams Risk


Most of the scams here target college students, with fake job or rental listings. You can always check the latest scams on the local website and social media pages.

Women Travelers Risk


There's a low risk here, but if you're coming to enjoy the nightlife, use the buddy system. Stay in public, well-lit areas and don't go to private house parties, especially if you don't know anyone there. For outdoor adventurers, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

Tap Water Risk


The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. The risk is low.

Safest Places to Visit in Clemson

The Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce has two websites for tourists and the university’s website has more information for visitors as well.

I would also recommend checking out to get more information about the lakes, rivers, and waterfalls of the region.

National Geographic called this area “One of the world’s last great places—a destination of a lifetime.”

Downtown Clemson is an idyllic Southern town with boutiques and restaurants, yet still trending enough to appeal to the college crowd.

Feel free to explore the college campus, and a special Instagram moment awaits at the Centennial Oak, 124 feet wide and 66 feet tall.

History enthusiasts won’t want to miss a visit to Fort Hill Plantation, the former home of political leader John C. Calhoun and later the residence of Thomas Green Clemson, the university’s founder.

Explore the beautifully preserved antebellum mansion and its surrounding gardens.

The Hanover House and Hopewell Plantation are two other historic sites open for tours.

Find more beautiful floral displays at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, spanning nearly 300 acres.

A geology museum and several historical sites are also on the property.

When you get hungry, the city’s website has a restaurant guide covering the best locations in town.

Be sure to try the famous Clemson blue cheese or pick up a wedge to take on a picnic.

It’s really hard to wrap your head around all the waterfalls in this region, and they only become more robust the deeper you get into the Blue Ridge and then the Great Smoky Mountains.

Issaqueena Falls is one of the most popular, just 40 minutes from Clemson.

You can also explore the hand-dug Stumphouse Tunnel.

You can also choose between four lakes.

  1. Lake Hartwell: One of the largest and most popular lakes in the region, Lake Hartwell spans across parts of South Carolina and Georgia. With its expansive waters, Lake Hartwell is perfect for boating, fishing, water-skiing, and swimming.
  2. Lake Keowee: Just northwest of Clemson, Lake Keowee boasts more than 300 miles of shoreline, with waterfront parks, picnic spots and swimming beaches.
  3. Lake Jocassee: A short drive from Clemson, Lake Jocassee is a picturesque mountain lake nestled within the Jocassee Gorges. Visitors can explore secluded coves, hike along scenic trails, and enjoy water activities.
  4. Lake Issaqueena: Situated near the town of Six Mile, Lake Issaqueena offers a serene escape into nature with the surrounding Issaqueena Dam and Recreation Area, providing hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic overlooks.

Places to Avoid in Clemson

Clemson is a pretty small town, so you don’t really have to avoid any part of the city.

However, stay away from the various neighborhoods unless you are visiting someone you know.

It’s smarter to stick to main roads and highways even if you’re sitting in traffic.

Speaking of traffic, you should know that game days are going to bring crowds up to 150,000.

The entire city is shoulder-to-shoulder with people.

If you aren’t a sports fan, or you just want to explore the city instead of watching the game, you’re likely to get frustrated with all the traffic.

Football is a way of life here, and your frustration will only be greeted with fans’ frustration that you aren’t more excited about the game.

If you’re looking for another location close to the mountains and Greenville, consider Travelers Gap instead.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Clemson

  1. The city of Clemson has a police department, and you should follow them on Facebook @ClemsonCityPoliceDepartment to get updates. You can also call (864) 624-2000 if you have specific safety questions.
  2. Whether you’re a student or a parent, follow the university’s public safety Facebook page @ClemsonSafety. You can also look into the Rave Guardian App, which provides a safe network of contacts if a student feels threatened or scared at any point. You can also request a campus escort through the app. Be sure to sign up for campus emergency notifications online, too.
  3. Sign up for CodeRED notifications to get alerts about severe weather or public safety hazards. Severe weather can happen here at any time of the year, and you must be prepared and informed.
  4. South Carolina is known for having roads in poor condition, and potholes are especially a big problem. You can report a pothole to the Public Works Department at (864) 653-2053.
  5. Clemson has a mix of free parking, reserved parking, paid parking, and leased parking. Street parking is free but limited to two hours. Please confirm that you’re parking in a lot that isn’t by permit just to avoid getting a ticket. Also, don’t leave a car parked overnight in a parking garage.
  6. The police department has an interactive community crime map, but it’s not the easiest thing to find on their website. Use the website and then search for Clemson to get to the right spot. You can choose the types of crime you are concerned about, a timeframe for those crimes, and a location. For example, you might want to know how many car break-ins have happened within a half mile of your hotel in the past month.
  7. Anglers need a fishing license from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. In this part of the state, you want a freshwater license. Be sure you carry that with you anytime you are fishing.
  8. A mix of wildlife can be found in this region, from bears to coyotes. The more you explore the mountains, the more important it will be to stay bear-aware. You can use bear spray as a deterrent, but that is only used as a last resort when facing off against a Black Bear. The best tactic is to speak to it in a calm voice and back away slowly.
  9. If you spend time in the wilderness areas around the Upstate, please do a tick check after any hike. Pay special attention to skin folders and moist areas, like armpits. Ticks should be removed immediately and be sure to get the head out. You normally won’t need emergency care for that. Also, be prepared for a lot of mosquitoes and other biting bugs.
  10. Carry waterproof maps with you to remote areas of the lakes or mountains because mobile services will be limited. You should always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

So... How Safe Is Clemson Really?

Violent crime is 50% lower than the state average and 40% lower than the national average.

Two-thirds of violent crimes happen in private homes, not public spaces.

Over the past five years, just 25% of violent crimes happened against strangers.

The theft rate is about 20% higher than the national average, with half of those thefts being car break-ins.

I’ll bet you $100 that the rate is so high because of unlocked car doors!

Yep, several recent news reports show groups of teenagers and adults going through parking lots and neighborhoods looking for unlocked cars and then taking whatever they can get.

In fact, there were three times as many car break-ins compared to all the other theft categories combined!

Lock your car and remove personal items, and you’re suddenly three times safer.

As for the university, crime rates there are low as well, with fewer than 10 violent crimes each year going back a decade.

Thefts are mostly things taken from buildings.

The majority of criminal offenders and victims are 19 years or younger.

Even with the lower crime rates, game days are pure chaos if you’re not used to large, energetic crowds.

You still need to use common sense and basic personal safety steps.

How Does Clemson Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Orleans57
Washington DC56
New York City67
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81

Useful Information



International visitors need a visa or visa waiver to get into the United States. If you're coming here for college, you need a student visa, not a tourism visa. The U.S. State Department website can help you sort that out.



You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and try to avoid carrying around a lot of cash. Credit cards are widely accepted and offer the best fraud and identity theft protection. If you're a student, check out the international payment options through the Clemson University website.



You'll get mild weather here in the winter, with fall and spring being pleasant, but at both ends of summer and in the heart of it, it will be hot and humid. Bring bug spray and apply often. Wear comfortable walking shoes and try to pack as much Clemson Orange as possible.



Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is the closest major airport, about a 45-minute drive away. There is a local airport for private jets.

Travel Insurance

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Clemson Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 5° C
Feb 8° C
Mar 12° C
Apr 16° C
May 21° C
Jun 25° C
Jul 26° C
Aug 26° C
Sep 22° C
Oct 17° C
Nov 11° C
Dec 7° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

South Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Folly Beach68
Fort Mill78
Hilton Head Island79
Isle of Palms81
Mount Pleasant78
Myrtle Beach65
North Augusta70
Pawleys Island82
Rock Hill63
St. Helena Island78
Sullivan’s Island80
Travelers Rest77
West Columbia65

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