Is New Bern Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 18, 2024
New Bern, United States
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
100
* Rated 100 / 100 based on 5 user reviews.

If New Bern, North Carolina, seems like it’s right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, there’s good reason – the famed writer calls it home.

New Bern is rich with as much fact as fiction, from Civil War stories to the heart-breaking novels of Sparks.

It’s a town where life slows down a bit, and the only thing sweeter than the Pepsi that was founded here is the tea.

Wrapped around the Neuse River, New Bern offers plenty of land and water activities, with wonderful weather most of the year.

Hotels include national chains, but I’d encourage you to explore the options of inns and historic homes here.

It just adds to the charm.

You’ll be amazed at how much history and modern amenities one small town can hold while still feeling authentic.

You might also be surprised at all the bear sculptures around town.

It’s a nod to Bern, Switzerland, for which New Bern is named.

Warnings & Dangers in New Bern

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk here, but a few important things to know. The safe spaces for activities far outweigh any risks in New Bern.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

There is limited public transportation in this rural area, so you'll need to rely on rideshares or taxis if you don't get a rental car. However, we highly recommend having your own vehicle.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

New Bern has seen an average of seven pickpockets or purse snatchings a year for the past five years. It's a low risk, but I was surprised to see that many in this small town.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

This region can get hit hard by hurricanes, tropical storms, severe thunderstorms, and winter weather. While winters aren't robust, an ice storm that makes travel treacherous isn't out of the question.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

This is a low risk, with the robbery rate 15% lower than the national average. While you should never let a low risk cause you to let your guard down, it's still wise to avoid walking around at night alone or in unlit, secure areas.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

There's a low risk in this rural area. However, you should always stay apprised of the latest Homeland Security Terrorism Advisory Bulletin for an overview nationwide and regionally.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Most scams here are targeted at residents, so there's a low risk. Keep it low by reviewing police and city social media sites for new scams. You should also only use a verified rental company to find a place to stay if you aren't choosing a hotel.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

I saw a post on the police department's Facebook page where a woman had a man come from behind a bush and made her feel uncomfortable. That prompted police to add extra patrols and ask for any witnesses. It's that kind of small-town safety that makes it a low risk, but still worth recognizing that creepy situations can exist anywhere.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

It would take a lot for a U.S. city to get anything but a low risk, thanks to strict water quality standards and required annual published reports. The same low risk is here but look for challenges that could arise from flooding or a cold snap.

Safest Places to Visit in New Bern

VisitNewBern.com is the official tourism website for the town.

You can quickly download a digital visitor guide without giving personal information.

If you prefer videos, check out their YouTube page @newbernnorthcarolinaoffici637.

Begin your journey in the heart of New Bern by strolling through the historic district of Tryon Palace.

This meticulously restored 18th-century governor’s palace offers a glimpse into North Carolina’s colonial past.

You can wander through beautifully landscaped gardens and tour the elegant interior to immerse yourself in the rich history of the region.

Head downtown for all the charm you can handle in a Southern coastal community.

While you’re there shopping among unique stores, check out the Pepsi Store.

That’s where Pepsi was originally invented in 1898.

It was first called “Brad’s Drink.”

Thank you, Brad!

I’m drinking a Diet Pepsi right now as I write this.

For a dose of maritime history, visit the North Carolina History Center, adjacent to Tryon Palace.

This museum offers engaging exhibits on the state’s maritime heritage, including ship models, interactive displays, and artifacts that tell the story of New Bern’s connection to the sea.’

History comes alive once again at the Attmore-Oliver House, a well-preserved historic home that offers guided tours.

The knowledgeable guides will transport you back in time as they share stories of the house’s occupants and the era in which they lived.

Take a leisurely walk to the New Bern Firemen’s Museum, where you can explore the history of firefighting in the city.

The museum showcases vintage firefighting equipment, including antique fire engines, and provides insight into the brave men and women who have served as firefighters in New Bern.

An African-American Heritage Tour is available, or you can explore on your own with the African-American Heritage Trail Guide.

I’m a huge Nicholas Sparks fan, so I can’t let him down by not writing about the local places mentioned or seen in some of his classics, like The Notebook and Bend in the Road.

  • Union Point Park (more below): A Bend in the Road
  • Docks Behind DoubleTree: A Bend in the Road
  • Cedar Grove Cemetery: A Bend in the Road
  • Alfred Cunningham Bridge: The Notebook
  • Masonic Theatre: The Notebook
  • Centenary Methodist Church: The Notebook

Now, let’s head to the waterfront.

Dive into aquatic adventures at Union Point Park, where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the serene waters of the Trent and Neuse Rivers.

The park also hosts outdoor concerts and events, making it a great spot to soak up the local atmosphere.

The tourism website has a section devoted to local and regional events to help with your New Bern itinerary.

To end your day on a high note, take a scenic cruise along the rivers aboard the New Bern Grand Marina Yacht Club.

Whether you opt for a romantic sunset cruise or a daytime adventure, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the water and the city’s historic skyline.

If you’re a history enthusiast, don’t miss the New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park.

This hallowed ground offers a chance to reflect on the Civil War’s impact on the area.

You can take a self-guided tour and see preserved earthworks and interpretive signs that bring this pivotal period to life.

Places to Avoid in New Bern

The best advice for New Bern is to stay in the tourist areas and places where you have friends or family.

There aren’t dangerous neighborhoods or anything like that, but with so many crimes happening between people who know each other, you just don’t want to end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

You don’t want to risk a trip here if there’s a hurricane approaching.

I’ve been through several hurricanes, and at least 3–5 days ahead of time, all the businesses close down and board up.

Evacuation traffic is a nightmare, and post-storm, even if it wasn’t a powerful storm, can still lead to power outages and closures while emergency crews clear the roads.

Safety Tips for Traveling to New Bern

  1. New Bern has its own police department, and you can follow them on Facebook @NewBernPD. Have specific safety questions? Call (252) 672-4100 or email webadmin@newbernnc.gov.
  2. Sign up for CodeRED emergency alerts through the Craven County Emergency Management website. This will give you incoming weather information and other public safety issues that require immediate attention.
  3. New Bern Alerts is another option to sign up for, but you’ll go through CivicReady to get that service. New Bern no longer uses CodeRED. As inconvenient as it might be to sign up for two systems, it’s worth it for the safety aspect, and both are free.
  4. Before you book a hotel or a place to stay during hurricane season, check out the Evacuation Zones while you’re on that website. The closer you are to the water and the coast, the higher of risk you’ll be of evacuation if tropical weather comes in.
  5. Get a fishing license through the Go Outdoors North Carolina website. You’ll need either a coastal or inland license (or both). You’ll need to carry that license with you while fishing or while on a fishing charter.
  6. Parking options in New Bern range from on-street to public garages, but street parking will usually come with a two-hour limit. You can find a parking map on the city’s website under the “Visitor” section.
  7. The city also has a list of hiking and bicycle trails, which is helpful to use for planning your route before you go. A new pedestrian safety plan was implemented in 2022, and there’s a wealth of information on the city’s website.
  8. As close as New Bern looks to the Outer Banks, it’s still a four-hour drive to Hatteras. You can go through Morehead City and take ferries to the islands, but then you’ll have to rely on taxis or rideshares.
  9. You should know how to spot and remove a tick from yourself, your children, or your pets. Ticks can carry diseases and must be removed as soon as possible. You can buy tick removal kits online or just use a pair of tweezers and disinfectant. Be sure to get the entire head of the tick out.
  10. Do not feed birds in this community or any coastal area. The birds can get sick and become aggressive if they eat human food. Bring binoculars if you want to get a closer look.

So... How Safe Is New Bern Really?

New Bern has some crime concerns that are mostly localized.

In fact, over the past five years, only 0.01% of violent crimes have happened against strangers.

Theft is down 40% since 2011, but it’s still 107% higher than the national average.

Nearly 21% of those are car break-ins or accessory thefts.

That’s just another reminder to lock your car and leave your personal items safely in your hotel room.

Even a phone charging cord could be a lure to a thief casing a parking lot.

The police chief is teaming up with the FBI to address violent crime in the community but says it’s more for prevention than an imminent risk of violent crime getting out of control.

I think the most important thing for you to know is that this charming small town isn’t a crime-free or low-crime community, which might catch some off guard.

As a longtime New Bern fan, I was surprised to see the higher crime rates.

Violent crime was down 30% for the bulk of the past decade but spiked back up in 2020.

That was quite common in many communities during the pandemic.

Bottom line – use common sense and standard safety advice, and you’ll love everything New Bern has to offer.

How Does New Bern Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Bern77
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Baltimore56
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International guests will need a visa or visa waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol. You can determine if you qualify for a waiver through the U.S. State Department website. Be sure you start the process at least three months ahead of time.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and getting your currency exchange handled at home will offer the lowest fees and best rates. Using a credit card for as many purchases as possible includes the best fraud prevention you can get.

Weather

Weather

This is a casual, laid-back community with four seasons of weather. Summers will be humid and hot. Wear light, loose clothing and wear sunscreen with a layer of bug spray. Winters will require a warm jacket or a coat, depending on your comfort level, but you could also get lucky with mild conditions. Be sure to check the seven-day forecast as you're packing.

Airports

Airports

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport is the closest commercial option, a rather convenient three miles from New Bern. The larger airports in the region are Raleigh-Durham (a two-hour drive) or Norfolk, Virginia (a three-hour drive).

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

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.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

New Bern Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 7° C
Feb 8° C
Mar 12° C
Apr 17° C
May 21° C
Jun 25° C
Jul 27° C
Aug 26° C
Sep 24° C
Oct 18° C
Nov 13° C
Dec 9° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
131418232730323129241915
Low
°C
1261015202221181273
High
°F
555764738186908884756659
Low
°F
343643505968727064544537

North Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Apex84
Asheville57
Boone82
Cary83
Chapel Hill81
Charlotte56
Cornelius75
Corolla81
Davidson82
Duck79
Durham84
Elizabeth City79
Gastonia61
Goldsboro46
Greensboro77
Hatteras82
Hickory68
High Point62
Hope Mills53
Kannapolis82
Kill Devil Hills77
Kitty Hawk79
Manteo75
Mooresville77
Morehead City78
New Bern77
Raleigh74
Rocky Mount52
Rodanthe85
Statesville78
Wilmington84
Winston-Salem47

Where to Next?

5 Reviews on New Bern

  1. P
    Priscilla Edwards says:

    I’ve lived in New Bern for five years now and feel completely safe. Like any city, there are areas to avoid, but overall, it’s a welcoming and secure community.

  2. A
    Abigail McDaniel says:

    As a parent raising my family here, safety was a top concern. After researching crime rates and experiencing the neighborhood firsthand, I can confidently say New Bern is a great place to call home.

  3. K
    Kensley Padilla says:

    I recently visited New Bern for a weekend getaway and felt completely at ease exploring the downtown area. The streets were well-lit, and there was a visible police presence, which added to my sense of security.

  4. B
    Blake Ferguson says:

    While every city has its share of challenges, New Bern’s community spirit and proactive approach to safety make it a desirable place to live. I’ve never encountered any major issues and feel comfortable walking around, day or night.

  5. M
    Marcus Parker says:

    I moved to New Bern a year ago and was initially worried about safety, but after settling in, I’ve found it to be a friendly and secure environment. The locals are vigilant, and there’s a strong sense of unity in keeping the city safe.

New Bern Rated 5 / 5 based on 5 user reviews.

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