Is Rock Hill Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 7, 2024
Rock Hill, United States
Safety Index:
63
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Rock Hill, South Carolina, is in the Midlands Region despite being one of the largest suburbs of Charlotte in North Carolina.

That gives you two states, tons of character, and an expanse of history to explore if you don’t get pulled away by all the outdoor and sports activities.

Known as “Football City,” South Carolina churns out more NFL players from its schools per capita than any other city in America.

You’ll find the standard and several unique venues to explore your athletic side while visiting, or just kick back for a lazy float down the Catawba River.

Rock Hill is also part of the Olde English District of South Carolina, a region known for holding onto its English roots from settlement in the 1770s.

Charlotte is 30 minutes away, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the growing entertainment culture in Rock Hill.

The city has grown 14% since 2010 and shows no sign of slowing down, thanks to some of the most affordable housing at a time when it’s hard to come by in America.

Rock Hill brings Southern charm and an outdoor spirit mixed with history among tree-lined streets.

It’s an exquisite experience for those who want to experience the modern-day South.

Warnings & Dangers in Rock Hill

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

The risk is medium statistically, as Rock Hill has some of the highest crime rates in the state. However, those are very isolated, and we're going to go through ways to keep the risk low.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

My Ride Rock Hill is a free public transportation system that runs from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday. This is an excellent way to get around without having to find parking. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find as well. Rental cars offer more flexibility. You have a low risk with any option.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

Despite theft rates being 56% higher than the national average, pickpockets and purse snatchings aren't one of the concerns. The city averages two of them a year, looking back at five years of crime data.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

This is a medium risk. South Carolina can get the worst of weather, from storms capable of producing tornadoes moving in from the west to hurricanes sweeping in from the east. Snow is a rare thing, but a big snowstorm can shut down the city for days. All threats come with plenty of notice, and I'm going to tell you how to stay informed a little later on in this article.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Robbery rates are 61% lower than the national average, and about one in three of those are highway robberies. The risk is low, but don't let that cause you to let your guard down.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

The Rock Hill Police Department has the terrorism level posted on its website, which leads to a more detailed view of the terrorism landscape through Homeland Security. The risk is low here, but it's important to stay informed and be vigilant anywhere in the U.S.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Scams mostly target the people who live here, and the city does a great job of posting common scams on websites and social media pages. The risk is low, but keep it that way to know what's trending before your visit.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

The risk is the same for women as for anyone else and provided you stay out of the more dangerous neighborhoods, you should be able to have an enjoyable experience without worrying about the high crime rate.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

This is another low risk, with no violations and full compliance detailed in the 2022 Water Quality Report. I would like to suggest you review the "Factors that May Affect Water Quality in Your Home" in the report because it talks about discolored or foul-smelling water and what might cause that.

Safest Places to Visit in Rock Hill

VisitRockHillsc.com is the city’s tourism website, but I encourage you to look under the Visitor Info tab and go down to Partners.

There, you’ll get a drop-down list of more websites to view.

That includes the Old English District, York County, and Old Town.

Speaking of Old Town, that’s the downtown area of Rock Hill.

You’ll find a mix of shopping, dining, art walks, and exceptional Southern hospitality here.

The annual Come-See-Me festival is held here every spring, and that same spirit runs throughout the year.

They really love their frogs in Rock Hill, so don’t be surprised when you go on a frog-finding scavenger hunt.

South Carolina has one federally recognized tribe – the Catawba Indian Nation.

You can learn about the history of the tribe and the unique aspects of their lives at the Catawba Indian National Cultural Center.

Handmade native crafts are also available for sale.

The local amusement park is technically in Fort Mill, but Carowinds is just a 20-minute drive from Rock Hill.

The park spans nearly 400 acres.

The season runs from March through September, with early and late seasons being just weekends.

Once the warm weather of summer settles in, you can explore the amusement park rides and a waterpark throughout the week.

Download the Carowinds app to learn more about activities.

Back in Rock Hill, the White Home is one of the first residences ever built here, dating back to 1839.

More history awaits at the Culture & Heritage Museums.

That’s a grouping of museums from the history of York County to a children’s museum.

Put your mobile phone away and take a step back in time at the Comporium Telephone Museum.

You’ll learn how phones were first introduced to the South and how they advanced to having the fancy devices we all carry around now.

If nothing else, this is a free museum to help save money.

Rock Hill’s athletic options cover all the basics and then some surprises.

Interesting points include the Rock Hill BMX Supercross Track, the Rock Hill Velodrome for cycling, and the South Town Wake Park.

Golf, tennis, and disc golf courses are also available.

Get out to nature by visiting Ebenezer Park on the banks of Lake Wylie, paddling the Catawba River, or walking through the Glencairn Garden.

Places to Avoid in Rock Hill

Rock Hill is growing so fast that new crime hot spots or safest places could change by the time you read this.

At the same time, the south side is historically known as having a higher crime rate while also being a disenfranchised community.

That part of town is being developed, which could make it safer in the future.

As a good baseline, stick to entertainment districts and tourist attractions.

Don’t drive around unknown neighborhoods, and stay away from the south side unless you have a reason to be there.

With all the new developments and entertainment areas, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting bored or ending up in a place too dangerous to visit.

Even the most dangerous parts of town aren’t unsafe unless you go there looking for trouble (or drugs).

Safety Tips for Traveling to Rock Hill

  1.  The Rock Hill Police Department serves Rock Hill. Follow them on Facebook @rhpdofficial or call (803) 329-7200 if you want to ask specific safety questions.
  2. Check the interactive crime map on the department’s website to see more real-time crime data than we have access to. This can help pinpoint crime trends or hot spots before your visit. You can also search for things like “Car break-ins near ((hotel address)) in the past month.” Sign up for crime alerts using your hotel address if you are interested.
  3. Rock Hill uses the CodeRED system to send out emergency notifications. Signing up is easy, with no cost and customizable options like getting phone calls or text messages. It’s important to be aware of severe weather or other public safety threats here.
  4. South Carolina is notorious for its potholes. That goes for local streets and state highways. The Department of Transportation even has a way to file a damage claim because of the potholes – I’ve never seen that before in my life. You can also report a pothole to 803-327-6186.
  5. For fishing and hunting licenses, check the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website. Separate licenses are available for freshwater or saltwater. If you plan to cross state lines, check the reciprocity agreements with North Carolina and Georgia to see where you can use a license to fish in out-of-state waters.
  6. When parking in Rock Hill, it’s important to note that Old Town has plenty of free parking, but University Center up the street charges to park in the garage or on the street. You’ll pay through an app called Premium Parking. Don’t try to skip out on the charges – your license plate will be recorded, and they’ll still send a bill for the payment, plus a fine.
  7. Rock Hill offers a lot of things to do outside, with a special interest in all kinds of sports. You’d be wise to pack some additional workout clothing, comfortable walking shoes and sporty shoes. You wouldn’t want to miss a chance to play a round of hoops or go for a long walk because of sore feet or poorly chosen shoes.
  8. It might seem like you’re safe from the impact of a hurricane in Rock Hill, but some of the worst damage from storms can happen after they come over land. As tropical systems break up, they can unleash tornadoes or excessive rainfall and cause flooding. It’s important to know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning or a flood advisory vs. a flash flood warning.
  9. Follow Rock Hill Utilities (@CityofRockHillUtilities) on Facebook to get updates on road construction, water main projects, or other kinds of weather-related issues that could impact power, water, or road access. For example, in January 2024, the utility explained why some tap water was discolored.
  10. A quick tip when you’re eating at a restaurant here – they will likely convince you to drink sweet tea. I made the mistake on my first trip to the South, saying I just wanted regular tea, and I got a cup of sugar with a little bit of tea flavoring. Be VERY clear if you want sweet tea or unsweetened tea, but unsweetened tea will get you some suspicious looks.

So... How Safe Is Rock Hill Really?

To start with, it’s important to know that South Carolina’s violent crime rate is 24% higher than the national average as of 2022.

That’s the most recent official data we can access.

When we look closer at Rock Hill, the violent crime rate is 8% higher than the state average and 34% above the national average.

At the same time, South Carolina is dealing with an increase in murders.

In the past 10 years, the homicide rate has increased 57%.

The state homicide rate is 11 per 100,000 people.

In 2022, Rock Hill saw eight. 2021 had 13 homicides, but six of those were part of a mass shooting at the hands of a former NFL football player.

Rock Hill’s robberies are down 78% since 2012, a welcome relief in a sea of not-so-good crime statistics.

About 34% of those were highway robberies.

On another positive note, just 11% of violent crimes happened against strangers with 54% of all violent crimes in private homes.

Much of the crime is centered around Rock Hill’s south side, an impoverished and underserved community facing gentrification.

In 2023, a spree of crimes around a neighborhood park caused residents great concern.

“When we bought this house in the ‘70s, this was a great neighborhood — church on the corner, church behind us, kids in the park.

But in the last 20 years, this place has gone to trash,” neighbor Robert Mothershed told a local television station in 2023.

About three cars are stolen a week in Rock Hill, with many focused around apartment complexes.

The theft rate is the biggest concern for a visitor, as it’s 56% higher than the national average and 36% higher than the state average.

It’s fueled by shoplifting, accounting for 36% of all thefts.

Car break-ins and accessory thefts are another 31%.

The crime data makes the city look more dangerous than it will feel when visiting, as many crimes happen in neighborhood pockets that wouldn’t be where a visitor would spend time.

How Does Rock Hill Compare?

CitySafety Index
Rock Hill63
New York City67
Detroit56
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87
Calgary (Canada)82
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

A visa or visa waiver is required for all international travelers. If you have been to the U.S. before, you might be able to get a visual scam instead of a fingerprint test. Use the U.S. State Department website and Charlotte Douglas International Airport website to learn more about both processes.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar will be accepted here, but you don't need to use cash. Credit cards are widely accepted. The Charlotte airport does have currency exchange on site before and after the security checkpoints.

Weather

Weather

Plan for the appropriate season, as South Carolina gets a nice mix of all four. The benefit is that winters aren't nearly as tough as in the northern part of the country. Even the coldest winter days still get into the 50s (on average). Summers will be hot, humid, and bug-filled. Bring bug spray.

Airports

Airports

Charlotte Douglas International Airport is about 30 miles away, and that drive can take 30 minutes or an hour, depending on the time of day.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a wise investment to protect your belongings and cover yourself in case of a car accident, health emergency, or severe weather incident.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Rock Hill Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 6° C
Feb 8° C
Mar 12° C
Apr 17° C
May 21° C
Jun 25° C
Jul 27° C
Aug 26° C
Sep 23° C
Oct 17° C
Nov 12° C
Dec 8° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
111418232731323128231813
Low
°C
1251015192121171152
High
°F
525764738188908882736455
Low
°F
343641505966707063524136

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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