Is Spartanburg Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 29, 2024
Spartanburg, United States
Safety Index:
48
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Spartanburg, South Carolina, is also known as Hub City and Sparkle City.

In fact, Spartanburg is likely the least-used name when people refer to this Upstate community of 38,000.

The city is often referred to as part of a pair, with Greenville-Spartanburg written in more formal settings for statistics and such.

The Hub City part isn’t hard to figure out when you look at the map, as it’s on the road between Charlotte and Atlanta, leaning in the direction of Charlotte.

In the early 19th century, Spartanburg flourished as a hub for cotton production and textile manufacturing, fueled by the invention of the cotton gin.

During the Civil War, Spartanburg became a strategic location for both the Confederate and Union armies.

The city was occupied by Union troops multiple times, and its railroad network played a crucial role in transporting troops and supplies.

Throughout the 20th century, Spartanburg evolved into a modern city, diversifying its economy beyond textiles and embracing sectors such as healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

It’s still a work in progress recovering from the decline of textiles, but you can bet your Moons Over My Hammy that businesses like Denny’s won’t headquarter in a place that isn’t worth the investment.

Today, the city boasts a vibrant art and history scene mixed with nightlife and outdoor activities that can easily fill a travel itinerary.

There’s just one problem – crime rates – and that’s a work in progress.

Warnings & Dangers in Spartanburg

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM

There's a medium risk in Spartanburg due to current and historically high crime rates, but you'll also be pleasantly surprised at the number of safe places to enjoy your trip.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

Spartanburg Area Regional Transit Agency (SPARTA) is the public transportation system in the city. Download the Transloc app to see the routes. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find here, and it's especially important to use those if you've been drinking downtown. A rental car offers the most flexibility. No matter which option you choose, treat it with a medium risk and use a big-city safety mindset.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

With a high theft rate, I would've expected more than three pickpockets or purse snatchings a year, looking back at five years of crime data. Statistically, the risk is low, but there's a lot of stealing happening in Spartanburg, especially car break-ins and shoplifting. I'd treat it as a medium risk.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

This is another medium risk, especially if you like outdoor activities. Severe weather or tropical storms that move inland can cause major problems. Tornadoes, dangerous lightning, and high winds can happen any time of the year, with a bump in spring. You will get advance notice of approaching storms or weather risks if you know where to look, and I've got that information for you a little later on.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Robbery is 36% higher than the national average, with 35% being highway robbery. That still waters down to about one mugging a month. While it's a low risk, there are certain parts of town where the risk would be higher, and I'll address that in this article.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

It's a low risk for international terrorism here, but the high crime rates and number of gun crimes should be paid attention to and prompt a vigilant visit. Always report suspicious activity.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Scams are quickly reported to the police here, and they do a great job of posting trending scams on social media. You can also visit the county's website to see scams across the region. The poverty rate here is 25%, and desperate people can resort to scamming or manipulation, so know the common signs of a scammer and don't let your guard down.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: MEDIUM

Women have the same medium risk as anyone else and should use extra caution when enjoying the nightlife downtown. Don't walk around alone or leave a friend alone at a bar. Never take a drink you didn't see poured by the bartender and don't go to private parties after the bars close.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act. The risk is low.

Safest Places to Visit in Spartanburg

Visit Spartanburg is the name of the tourism website for the city.

I love that they offer a free tourism guide, but also maps and guides for things like biking, theater, and historic districts.

Bonus points for these being offered without having to provide any personal information on your end.

Downtown Spartanburg is the hub of activity during the day and night.

It includes a cultural district, too, as designated by the state Arts Commission.

The website Spartanburg Downtown can help you find dining, shopping, art, and cultural options.

To find upcoming events, follow them on Facebook @downtownspartanburgsc.

BMW has a huge presence in Spartanburg, with options to do things like race on the track at the performance center, visit the historical museum at the center, or take a tour of the factory.

You can learn about more history in Upstate South Carolina at the Hub City Railroad Museum or the Spartanburg Regional History Museum.

Check out the Spartanburg County Historical Association to find historic sites open for tours.

Some of the buildings date back to the 1750s.

Agritourism is a big deal here, with about 20 farms to explore in the county.

You can find fresh produce, you-pick-em farms, and farm-stocked grocery stores.

Enjoy the great weather of South Carolina at one of the many parks and outdoor recreation areas, including a botanical garden, nature preserve, at least a dozen lakes, and several golf courses.

A popular paddling spot is Pacolet and Lawson’s Fork Blueway, while Croft State Park covers 7,000 acres with hiking trails and an equestrian center on site.

Places to Avoid in Spartanburg

The police department offers crime statistics presented in a report, which is helpful to an extent.

They don’t detail exact crimes, like how many homicides or thefts, but they do offer heat maps showing the highest number of criminal reports in an area.

The Westgate Mall area has the highest property crime rate, with shoplifting being one of the driving forces – which makes total sense since there are a lot of stores in that region, even outside the mall.

The Walmart shopping center was noted as having one of the highest densities of shoplifting, car break-ins, and burglaries.

The highest violent crime areas are in the geographic northwest and southwest sections of the city.

Police noted that Wofford Street and Baltimore Street (Northside) and Crescent Avenue and Pineneedle Drive (Park Hills/Woodland Heights) were high-density areas for violent crime.

If you’re looking to compare Greenville to Spartanburg for your trip, they share commonalities but differ in some key areas.

Both cities are facing violent crime issues and higher-than-average theft rates.

Each city has particular areas that account for a larger portion of the crimes – showing it’s not always a citywide problem.

Greenville particularly has one neighborhood that police say accounts for the bulk of crime.

However, Greenville’s violent crime rate is 20% above the state average, and Spartanburg is 102% higher.

Greenville is also twice as big (by population) and offers more things to do.

If I were choosing between the two, I’d pick Greenville.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Spartanburg

  1. The city of Spartanburg has its own police department, and you can follow them on Facebook @spartanburgpd. Call 864-596-2096 if you have specific safety questions. It also makes sense to follow Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook @spartanburgcountysheriff.
  2. Sign up for emergency notifications through the Everbridge website or app to get severe weather or public safety alerts. The program is free, and it’s the best way to find out about safety issues immediately.
  3. If you get information about a crime or notice suspicious activity, you can call the City Crime Tip Line at 864-573-0000 or email citycrime@cityofspartanburg.org. Your information can remain anonymous.
  4. Parking is free nights and weekends in Spartanburg, with paid parking during the day only amounting to $4 at most, or 50 cents per hour. Always try to park near a security camera or in a well-lit area.
  5. Police had to add more officers downtown on Thursday through Saturday nights due to increased crowds and safety concerns. I would suggest doing a Google News search for “Spartanburg downtown crime” before your visit to see if any new incidents have happened.
  6. Spartanburg, like much of South Carolina, has some rough roads. Potholes or pavement issues run rampant as the infrastructure becomes overwhelmed, and few projects are available to fill all the roads. You can report a new pothole on the city’s website, and there’s also a link to file a claim if your vehicle sustained damage because of it.
  7. You’ll notice the traffic lights in South Carolina might have an arrow instead of just red/yellow/green. While the arrows are pretty simple to understand, it’s important to note that a flashing yellow arrow means you can turn as long as you yield to oncoming traffic. An arrow that is fully yellow means the light is about to turn red.
  8. One in four people live in poverty in Spartanburg, and several homeless organizations recently closed down. This could mean more homeless people on the streets, which also includes numerous children. You might be panhandled because of this or notice homeless encampments set up. As hard as it is to see, just avoid these areas and don’t give money to anyone panhandling. Report any aggressive or threatening activity to the police.
  9. There are coyotes in this area, but that’s common across South Carolina. For the most part, they want nothing to do with you. I’ve seen at least a dozen coyotes in my lifetime, and one has never seen me (and my dogs) or shown any interest. Never feed or bait a coyote. It helps to know what a coyote looks like because a few times, I was convinced it was a stray dog until I got a better look.
  10. If you notice any kind of disturbance happening in Spartanburg, especially downtown or in the shopping areas, don’t try to intervene. That goes even for something as simple as a car break-in in progress. Call 911 immediately, and don’t risk your own life in this high-crime city.

So... How Safe Is Spartanburg Really?

If you read any internet articles about this online, you’ll repeatedly hear that it’s “getting better” in Spartanburg.

I’m here to tell you – that doesn’t mean it’s anywhere near “good.”

Violent crime is 102% higher than the state average and 140% higher than the national average.

In 2021, the homicide rate was three times the national average.

By 2022, it was back to average.

However, looking back at the past decade, that number jumps between two and eight year-to-year.

One in four violent crimes happened against a stranger over the past five years, down to one in 10 by 2022.

Over the past five years, 53% of violent crimes have happened in private homes.

While overall theft has been down 20% during the past decade, it’s still 117% higher than the national average.

The police chief explained why that percentage doesn’t tell the full story.

“When we look at the arrests we have made for larcenies, more than half of the percentage of people who are arrested for larcenies don’t live in our city,” Spartanburg Police Department Major Art Littlejohn said.

I get that logic, but I don’t think, as a visitor, you care who is breaking into your car – a local or out-of-town guest – you are still the victim of a crime.

In that spirit, you should know that 34% of all thefts were related to car break-ins or accessory thefts in 2022.

For 2023, the police report states that 20% of all thefts were thefts from cars.

The particularly concerning part about that is that 76 firearms were taken from unlocked cars in 2023.

In addition, as of 2022, 3–4 cars were stolen each week on average.

The police say that traffic accidents are the biggest calls for service, with 2023 showing an average of 11 accidents a day.

How Does Spartanburg Compare?

CitySafety Index
Spartanburg48
New York City67
Detroit56
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors need either a visa or a visa waiver, but only certain people from select countries are available for the waiver program. You can check yours using the Visa Wizard module on the U.S. State Department website.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. With high theft rates, limit cash-carrying and use a credit card as much as possible. The local airport doesn't have a currency exchange counter, but you can use an ATM - just be prepared to pay higher fees. Your home bank will offer the lowest fees.

Weather

Weather

The weather is mild to hot throughout the year, so you'll love the winters here, but it will likely be a sweating, uncomfortable mess in the summer if you don't plan your clothing carefully. Bring breathable fabrics that are lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitted.

Airports

Airports

The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is 20 miles away, and it's an easy trip down the interstate. Just be sure to check the traffic before you go, so you don't get delayed by a huge backup.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Comprehensive travel insurance offers the maximum coverage for every possible issue you could face while traveling. It's important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so that you can have the best time.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Spartanburg Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 6° C
Feb 9° 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
111418232730323128221712
Low
°C
1361115192120181163
High
°F
525764738186908882726354
Low
°F
343743525966706864524337

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?

Share Your Experience

Share
Facebook Pinterest