North Carolina : Safety by City
- Chapel Hill
- Elizabeth City
- High Point
- Hope Mills
- Kill Devil Hills
- Kitty Hawk
- Morehead City
- New Bern
- Rocky Mount
Goldsboro, North Carolina, is in the eastern part of the state and the epitome of Southern charm.
However, we do have some safety concerns to address.
Steeped in history, this vibrant community has evolved from its humble beginnings into a thriving hub of culture and commerce.
Goldsboro’s roots date back to the early 19th century when it was established as a trading post along the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.
The city’s strategic location made it a hotspot during the Civil War, hosting several key battles and witnessing the famed “Goldsboro Expedition.”
Today, Goldsboro stands as a testament to resilience and progress.
Its downtown area has undergone a renaissance, blending historic architecture with modern amenities.
The community takes pride in its diverse culture, evident in its vibrant festivals and events celebrating music, food, and arts from around the world.
You simply must try the famous East Carolina BBQ while you’re here.
Did I mention it’s just two hours to the famous beaches of North Carolina while being equidistant to the cities of Raleigh-Durham?
Yes, Goldsboro is ideal in many ways.
But is it safe to visit?
Let’s dive in.
Warnings & Dangers in Goldsboro
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Goldsboro has a medium risk due to crime rates that are double and nearly triple state and national averages. It's especially eye-opening for crime rates to be this high in a small town.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Goldsboro-Wayne County Transportation Authority provides public transportation here. Rental cars, taxis and rideshares can also be easily found. I'd recommend having your own vehicle to keep the risk low.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
I was floored to see that no pickpockets or purse snatchings have been reported in the past five years, especially when the theft rate is much higher than the national average. Statistically, it's a low risk. However, there's a lot of theft around you here, so treat it as a medium risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
You can get storms from east and west here, whether they move along the jet stream or are part of a hurricane/tropical storm that moves on shore. Due to that reason alone, it's a medium risk. Hurricane season runs from June through November. There's also the risk of flash flooding, dangerous lightning, and damaging winds from storms here. The Wayne County Emergency Management website has all the safety tips and planning information you could want.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
I'd treat this as a medium risk as well. Robbery rates are 63% higher than the national average, and about 25-30% of those have been highway robberies over the past five years.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
With Seymour Air Force Base in Goldsboro, there will always be a heightened threat that comes with extra security. It's a bit of a double-sided coin with risk vs. security, but you can rest assured the safety measures are stronger than the risks.
SCAMS RISK: LOW
Most scams here will target residents, but I'd be aware of potential swindles or panhandling in Goldsboro due to the high poverty rate. Keep the risk low by being aware of common tactics and researching the most recent scams on the police department's website.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM
I wouldn't recommend solo female travelers walk around alone, especially at night. The same medium risk applies, but just know this charming town does have a dangerous underbelly.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report is an honest look at the outdated infrastructure of the water system. At 70 years old, there's a strong need to replace it. The report showed just one violation in one month for arsenic; that's one of the more common violations. It would also take extended exposure to arsenic or a high dose to cause health issues. The violation was rectified the following month.
Safest Places to Visit in Goldsboro
VisitGoldsboroNC.com is the official tourism site for the city.
You can download a free digital tourist guide or have one mailed to you.
I prefer to recommend digital guides that don’t require you to give a name, address, or phone number.
It’s also worth noting that the guide includes things to do in Wayne County.
I’ll cover the main attractions countywide since this is a more rural area and won’t overlap with other articles on our site.
The tourism site looks really cool – when you can get it to load.
However, some of the topics might be a little confusing, like “Totally Fly Trails.”
That’s essentially a list of the types of trails you can take – from food to flying.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Totally Fly Tours
- Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
- Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield Tour
- Goldsboro Ghost Tour
- Totally Fly Trails
- Fly & Fresh Agriventure Trail: This includes a series of farms, parks, and wineries that summarize living off the land and enjoying nature.
- Brews & ‘Cues Trail: This trail is where you eat and drink your way through local breweries and the best BBQ joints in the county.
You can also enjoy the water with the series of Wayne County Paddle Trails.
More than 70 miles of waterways are included and feed off the Neuse River.
For nature enthusiasts, Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is a must-visit.
This scenic park features hiking trails, a tranquil lake for swimming and fishing, and breathtaking views of the Neuse River’s limestone cliffs.
Explore the Goldsboro Historic District, where you can admire well-preserved historic homes and buildings that reflect the city’s past.
It’s a picturesque area for a stroll and a glimpse into Goldsboro’s architectural heritage.
For a dose of culture, check out the Paramount Theater.
This historic venue hosts live performances, concerts, and events, providing entertainment options for visitors of all tastes.
Places to Avoid in Goldsboro
This is a city that has crime in almost every neighborhood, but the south, west, and northwest parts of town have the highest crime rates.
Downtown Goldsboro has undergone a renovation, so if you see outdated photos that show dilapidated buildings, it’s much better now.
I’d definitely stay focused on Center Street and not wander too much into the surrounding neighborhoods, which can have higher crime rates.
Stay out of local neighborhoods aside from the historic district.
Outside those stately homes, you’ll find rundown neighborhoods or places where strangers aren’t necessarily welcome.
Also, don’t try to visit the Air Force Base without a tour schedule.
Be prepared to have a background check performed before you can go on the tour.
International travelers should check with the base to see if non-citizens are allowed on the tours.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Goldsboro
- Goldsboro does have its own police department. You can follow them on Facebook @GoldsboroPoliceDepartment. For specific safety questions about crime trends closer to your visit, call (919) 705-6572.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through Wayne County and the city of Goldsboro. It’s important to stay aware of incoming weather and other safety hazards, like active crime scenes or road closures.
- Goldsboro does offer a crime mapping website, where you can set search parameters and timelines to see what crimes have happened recently. For example, you might want to know where the most car break-ins have happened in the past month.
- From June through November, keep a close eye on the tropics through the National Weather Service in Raleigh and the National Hurricane Center. You can look up the impacts that Tropical Storm Idalia had on Goldsboro in 2023.
- Avoid renting a home or getting a hotel in a low-lying area. There are some parts here that are more prone to flooding than others. It’s definitely a question to ask when booking.
- Before you use the paddling water trails, you should know the rules about life jackets for adults and children. You are required to keep a lifejacket in the kayak, but those of a certain age are required to wear them. I’ve been paddling for decades, and I still wouldn’t go on any waterway without wearing mine.
- Anglers need a fishing license, and you can purchase that through the Go Outdoors North Carolina website. There’s a separate license for inland vs. coastal waters. Confirm you are getting the right one before making the purchase.
- You can download the City of Goldsboro 311 app to get in touch with any city department, file a complaint, or report a safety hazard. It’s a great tool to have, and it’s free. You can also see other safety complaints made.
- Goldsboro Police offers plenty of options to interact with officers, from coffee with a cop to ice cream socials. If you see one of these happening during your visit, it’s a great way to get safety information.
- I’ve had a lot of trouble getting through to websites throughout Goldsboro, which could mean websites have changed, businesses have closed, or sites were shut down. One of those is the downtown Goldsboro website. However, to cyber search safety, use their Facebook page @downtowngoldsboro to get information.
So... How Safe Is Goldsboro Really?
My answer here would be much different if this were about moving to Goldsboro and not just visiting.
The crime rates here are more than double the national and state averages.
Nearly one in four people here live in poverty, and the median income of $39,000 is a little too close for comfort to that mark.
On the flip side, just 12% of violent crimes over the past five years involved strangers.
More than half were in private homes.
So, the violent crime that is happening here is largely between people who know each other.
It’s not enough of a relief that you should let your guard down.
Incidents like a man waving a gun in a Walmart can make even the most charming town feel unsafe.
Theft is skyrocketing here, too, with a rate 144% higher than the national average.
About 30% of those are car break-ins or car accessory thefts.
After crunching the crime data, it’s clear that if someone wants your valuables, they’ll resort to force instead of manipulation.
It’s important to use big-city safety tactics in this small town.
While there’s a certain sense of “Don’t go looking for trouble, and you won’t find it” that holds true, you also can’t assume that not looking for trouble means it won’t find you.
Enjoy the tourist attractions here, but don’t go off the main roads or walk around haphazardly at night.
How Does Goldsboro Compare?
|New York City||67|
|Phnom Penh (Cambodia)||61|
|Niagara Falls (Canada)||87|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||60|
International visitors will need a visa or visa waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol at the airport. You should also have a passport that isn't within six months of expiring.
The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here. I'd recommend not using cash unless you have to. Some restaurants might be cash-only, but the popular Wilbur's BBQ does take credit cards. You just don't want to carry a large amount of cash when you're in Goldsboro.
You'll get mild to warm weather throughout the year, but a cold spell in winter isn't unheard of. Check the forecast closely as you're packing. Be sure to bring bug spray because the critters are thick here from summer to fall. Sunscreen is important, too. You'll want comfortable walking shoes and casual clothing. This isn't a fancy town by any means, and you don't want to stand out.
The closest commercial airport to Goldsboro, North Carolina, is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). RDU is located approximately 63 miles northwest of Goldsboro and is the largest airport in the region.
For vacations to places prone to weather-related travel issues, travel insurance is always a smart choice. Don't forget about medical coverage as well if your health plan is limited to the US. It's also wise to verify rental car insurance will protect you fully in case of any accidents.
Goldsboro Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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North Carolina - Safety by City
|Kill Devil Hills||77|