Is Gaffney Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 15, 2024
Gaffney, United States
Safety Index:
68
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Gaffney, South Carolina, a town with a rich history dating back to the early 1800s, is perhaps best known for its iconic Peachoid water tower.

The 135-foot-tall Peachoid is a symbol of Gaffney’s status as a prominent peach-producing region.

Built in 1981, it’s not only a functional water tower but also a beloved landmark and popular photo spot for tourists.

If that sounds a little familiar to you, then you must be a House of Cards fan.

In Season 1, then-Democrat Majority Whip Frank Underwood Gaffney represented his hometown of Gaffney, and the Peachoid was blamed for causing an accident on the interstate.

Beyond the Peachoid, Gaffney has historic sites like the Michael Gaffney House, built in 1826, which showcases the town’s architectural heritage.

The visitor’s center downtown can help you find other historical markers in the community.

Nature enthusiasts can explore the nearby Cowpens National Battlefield, a pivotal site in 1781 during the American Revolution.

Additionally, the town hosts events like the South Carolina Peach Festival every July.

It’s one of the biggest events statewide, and Gaffney was once the largest producer of peaches.

Don’t be surprised if you see Andie MacDowell randomly in Gaffney.

This is her hometown and her second marriage was to a man she went to high school with.

So that’s where she gets her Southern accent from!

Warnings & Dangers in Gaffney

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Gaffney has a low overall risk, but it has been one of the more dangerous cities as recently as five years ago. It's a good stop on a road trip but not enough to fill a weekend or full week's vacation unless you have family or friends there.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

It looks like a public transportation plan was being considered in 2022, but as of this publication, no developments have been announced on that front. You'll need a car to get to this rather remote area that's a pit stop between bigger cities.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

About five pickpockets or purse snatchings happen each year, looking back at five years of crime data. At least two-thirds of those were purse snatchings. It's still a low risk, but I can tell you that it is one of the highest pickpocket numbers I've seen in South Carolina cities of similar size.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

You need to treat this as a medium risk because this region can get gnarly storms. Severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash flooding, and dangerous lightning are possible throughout the year, with a peak season in spring.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

This is a low risk, with just a handful of robberies over the past few years. 2022 had three robberies, and just one was a highway robbery.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is another low risk. It's a small town in a rural area, so that's not going to draw much attention. You can always check the latest regional terrorism concerns through the Homeland Security Department's Terrorism Advisory Bulletin.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Since this is a highly residential area, you won't have to worry about tourist scams. Residents face run-of-the-mill scams that are common throughout the country.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women shouldn't feel at a higher risk in Gaffney and using basic personal safety steps will go a long way here.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

Looking at the 2022 Water Quality Report for Cherokee County, I see all passing scores and no violations. That's a low risk.

Safest Places to Visit in Gaffney

No official tourism site is available for Gaffney, but you can use the Cherokee County and Gaffney city website to review some places to visit.

It does appear there was or will be a “Get In To Gaffney” website, but as of this publication, it’s showing a server error code. 

The Peachoid is the signature stop on Gaffney.

The 135-foot water tower is shaped like a peach.

House of Cards fans will remember a certain episode where the Peachoid was said to look like something else, and it led to chaos in the White House.

Speaking of the “late” President Underwood, the town of Gaffney went all-in on the connection between the hit show and the town.

If you head to 5050 Union Street, you’ll be alongside a cemetery.

Underneath the patch of trees is the “grave” of President Underwood.

The Cherokee County Museum in Gaffney showcases the past throughout the county.

It covers various wars, agriculture, industrial progress, and unique artifacts.

A new sports zone and kids zone will be added soon or might be there when you visit.

The Gaffney Residential Historic District on the southwest side of town is filled with homes from the late 180s to 1930s.

It’s a mix of Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Neo-Classical, Victorian and bungalow styles.

Gaffney Outlet Marketplace is your typical outlet mall with name brands at discount prices.

There’s a movie theater there as well.

If you’ve never been to a Cracker Barrel, it’s a Southern tradition.

They serve three meals a day, and the rocking chairs out front are fan favorites.

Just four miles outside of town, you can visit Lake Whelcel with nearly seven miles of trails surrounding the perimeter.

It is part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail under the National Park Service, which runs 330 miles from Virginia to South Carolina.

Cowpens National Battlefield dates back to 1781 during the American Revolution.

If not for this victorious battle in a field for cattle, the British might have taken control of the South. Reenactments are held throughout the year.

This is a free attraction from the National Park Service.

Another great side trip from Gaffney is 24 miles away at Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park.

Enjoy scenic hikes, camping, and a living history museum of a 19th-Century farm.

Places to Avoid in Gaffney

The biggest challenge with Gaffney is trying to find something to do, and that’s not easy once you’ve seen the few hallmark attractions.

The city has a 23% poverty rate and an average income of $38,000.

This isn’t a place where you will drive around the neighborhoods looking for beautiful Southern homes (outside the historic district).

Avoid any area that isn’t mentioned in a tourist publication.

The city does have gangs and drug problems, but that’s common for most cities in America these days.

Just avoid any place that you don’t have a reason to be or weren’t invited to in the first place.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Gaffney

  1. You can follow the Gaffney Police Department on Facebook @GaffneyPolice. For specific safety questions, call (864) 489-8115 or email blanton@gaffneypd.org.
  2. Gaffney and Cherokee County use the CodeRED emergency notification system for alerts about weather and public safety hazards. This is also what the state uses, making it a seamless experience if you’re driving across South Carolina.
  3. I-85 in Gaffney is prone to backups in both directions and has a lot of construction in the warmer months to fix everything from potholes to bridges. You can use the South Carolina 511 website to track real-time traffic and construction zones.
  4. If you notice a road issue in Gaffney, there’s a work request form on the Public Works section of the city’s website. South Carolina is known for having torn-up roads, and every little bit of information helps.
  5. Gaffney has a lot of railroad crossings in the community. Don’t ever try to “beat the train” or go around the crossing arms. Trains are traveling faster than they appear and cannot stop in time if there’s a car on the tracks.
  6. Anglers need a fishing license from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. In this part of the state, you’ll want a freshwater license.
  7. If you are visiting one of the nearby parks, please remember that ticks are present in the area anytime the temperature is above freezing. They wait at the end of leaves to attach to an animal or person. Be sure to remove all ticks before they become deeply embedded.
  8. South Carolina has six varieties of venomous snakes, and that’s mixed in with at least 30 others. You can review the DNR website to learn about the spots and markings of venomous snakes, but better yet, just leave all snakes alone, stick to the trail, and report any snakes you see to park rangers.
  9. For those planning to shop at the outlets, here’s a tip. Instead of buying things and loading up the car where thieves can see you stashing the goods, leave heavy items at the store to pick up when you’ve finished shopping.
  10. In Southern towns like Gaffney, your iced tea will always be served as sweet tea unless you request unsweetened tea. If you do want tea without sugar, you’ll get odd looks in these parts. A server once scolded me for asking for “regular” tea instead of sweet tea.

So... How Safe Is Gaffney Really?

Just a few years ago, Gaffney was among the most dangerous cities in South Carolina.

The violent crime rate was cut by 60% during the pandemic and still keeps holding steady.

As of 2022, the violent crime rate was 26% lower than the state average and 13% lower than the national average.

Half of those crimes happened in residences and just 7% were against strangers over the past five years.

One thing that did stand out was the car theft rate.

In a town of fewer than 13,000 people, about one car is stolen each week.

Overall theft rates are 97% higher than the national average, fueled by the “other” category, which means a theft that doesn’t fall into a designated larceny type (shoplifting, pickpockets, etc.)

Even with the shockingly high rate, it’s still down 42% since 2019.

Shoplifting makes up another 35% of that theft rate.

The issues in Gaffney for a tourist are less about the crime risks and more about a lack of things to do.

The city can’t catch a break either – just a few months after a new industrial park broke ground in 2023, the BIC manufacturing facility announced it was moving overseas.

Gaffney has a few “stop and take a picture” spots, but isn’t the most charming or endearing city in South Carolina.

How Does Gaffney Compare?

CitySafety Index
Gaffney68
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Dallas64
Memphis54
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors need a visa or must qualify for a visa waiver. You will pair that with a valid passport not within six months of expiring. You need these to get through Customs and Border Patrol, but check the list of things you can't bring into the U.S. A visa and passport do not GUARANTEE entry.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here, and it's wise to take care of any currency exchange at your home bank. You'll get the lowest fees. Most ATMs will be able to dispense the right currency if your bank allows it.

Weather

Weather

Aside from a few nights in the winter that get below freezing, you'll get mild weather most of the year with hot and humid summers. You definitely want bug spray and sunscreen, and try to find waterproof varieties because you'll sweat a lot here.

Airports

Airports

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is less than an hour east. Plus, you'll also have currency exchange options there. As a major hub in America, there isn't a better option nearby.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

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Gaffney Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 4° C
Feb 6° C
Mar 10° C
Apr 14° C
May 19° C
Jun 23° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 9° C
Dec 5° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
101317222629313027221712
Low
°C
-3-226111618181571-2
High
°F
505563727984888681726354
Low
°F
272836435261646459453428

South Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Aiken57
Beaufort67
Charleston70
Clemson76
Columbia68
Folly Beach68
Fort Mill78
Gaffney68
Greenville81
Hilton Head Island79
Isle of Palms81
Manning47
Mauldin77
Mount Pleasant78
Myrtle Beach65
North Augusta70
Orangeburg62
Pawleys Island82
Rock Hill63
Spartanburg48
St. Helena Island78
Sullivan’s Island80
Summerville78
Travelers Rest77
Walterboro68
West Columbia65

Where to Next?

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