Is Summerville Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 12, 2024
Summerville, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Summerville, South Carolina, known as the “Birthplace of Sweet Tea,” is a charming town with a rich history and unique cultural heritage.

The sweet tea connection runs deep here, as their now legendary drink was first brewed in Summerville in the 19th century.

Visiting Summerville offers a chance to explore its quaint downtown area, filled with historic buildings, shops, and restaurants.

The town’s laid-back atmosphere and friendly locals make it a welcoming destination for travelers seeking a taste of authentic Southern charm.

History buffs will appreciate Summerville’s role as a summer retreat for wealthy Charleston residents in the 19th century.

The town’s Victorian-era homes and tree-lined streets were carefully preserved even as it transitioned to a more residential than resort community.

Nature lovers will also find plenty to enjoy in Summerville, with parks, gardens, and outdoor recreation opportunities abound.

Azalea Park, with its colorful blooms and winding pathways, is a favorite spot for picnics and strolls.

The only downside to staying in Summerville is that the growth of the city has led to congestion on the streets.

Traffic can be backed up at all hours of the day, and what should be a half-hour drive to Charleston can take up to an hour.

Warnings & Dangers in Summerville

Overall Risk


There's a low risk in Summerville, but also not a bunch of things to do. If you're looking at this as an option to be near Charleston but at a less-expensive hotel, you can find that - just beware that traffic into Charleston and to the beaches can make the savings moot in gas prices and frustration.

Transport & Taxis Risk


The Carta public transportation for Charleston doesn't go as far as Summerville, but you can pick it up in North Charleston (not advised due to crime rates there). Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. Your best investment is a rental car.

Pickpockets Risk


Over the past 10 years, about 2-3 pickpockets or purse snatchings were reported each year. In 2022, there was just one pickpocket. This is a low risk.

Natural Disasters Risk


Don't let the fact that Summerville is an hour inland make you assume that hurricanes won't come this far. The remnants of hurricanes can spawn severe storms and tornadoes, not to mention dump copious amounts of rain. Severe storms can also come from the west, especially in the spring. Flooding is always possible during heavy rain along the Ashley River. This is a medium risk. Please keep up-to-date on the weather while you're here.

Mugging Risk


Most robberies happen in private homes, and just 8% of all robberies going back to 2018 were highway robberies. The risk is low, but still use extra caution after dark.

Terrorism Risk


This is a low risk as the town is primarily residential. There would be more of a concern about domestic terrorism or mass shootings, but that could happen in any U.S. city. You can't really avoid or be prepared for that, but you can report anything suspicious to the local police.

Scams Risk


As a highly residential area, most scams target residents. You can always check with the state Consumer Affairs department for the most common scams before your trip.

Women Travelers Risk


Given how few violent crimes happen against strangers, women have the same low risk as anyone else. There is a small nightlife scene here, so use the same safety precautions as you would in any city if you're enjoying a night on the town.

Tap Water Risk


The 2022 Water Quality Report details the testing from the previous year. You'll see there were no violations, and all water met or exceeded the requirements of the Safe Water Drinking Act.

Safest Places to Visit in Summerville

“Visit Summerville” is the name of the city’s tourism website.

You can request a free visitor’s guide, but you’ll have to provide personal information to get it.

The tourism website has a video tour of the city.

The historic downtown district has more than a dozen homes and buildings to explore, including the Summerville Museum & Research Center.

Be sure to snap a photo in front of the historic Summerville Arch in Hutchinson Square.

You’ll also find the World’s Largest Sweet Tea in that district.

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site sits on the Ashley River, offering a glimpse into South Carolina’s colonial past and scenic views of nature.

This archaeological treasure, once a bustling colonial town and trading hub, is now down to the ruins of several buildings, including the fort.

This area dates back to the 17th and early 18th centuries, and reenactments are held throughout the year.

You can also see more of the river at Summerville Ashley River Preserve.

That is part of a 22-mile stretch along a section designated as a State Scenic River.

Spring visitors shouldn’t miss Azalea Park, where the blooms burst between March and May.

Sculptures line the walkways, some of which are somber reminders of the hurricane damage this city has seen.

Explore wetlands across 12 acres at Oakbrooke Nature Trail.

The path is paved or on wooden boardwalks throughout.

While you can find any basic needs here, plus big box stores like Walmart, you won’t find many tourist attractions outside of those mentioned above in Summerville.

Plenty more options are available in Charleston and Mount Pleasant.

Places to Avoid in Summerville

Summerville is a city exploding with growth and development, which means the hot spots for crime, as I write this, could change by the time you get there.

For the most part, the older, more rundown parts of town are going to have more crime due to systemic issues.

At the same time, there are plenty of upper-middle-class neighborhoods.

About 99% of the hotels are right off the interstate anyway, providing a safe place to stop.

You won’t have to worry about getting a hotel in bad neighborhoods.

You also want to avoid trying to rush to get to places in Summerville, Charleston and the beaches.

Traffic is notoriously awful here with the growth that the area has seen.

The one place you DO want to avoid is North Charleston.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Summerville

  1. Summerville does have a police department. You can follow them on Facebook @officialsummervillepolice for updates on crime and safety. Email or call (843) 871-2463 to ask specific safety questions.
  2. Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications. This will cover severe weather watches, warnings, and evacuation orders, plus public safety threats and major road closures. To get city-specific alerts, sign up for Notify Me emails through the city website. You don’t need to sign up for all categories – just choose the ones that suit your needs.
  3. The police department offers the option to submit a crime tip on its website. You can remain anonymous. It’s also an option if you see suspicious activity but aren’t sure if a crime has been committed. These tips can help spot trends and help police patrol places where activity has been spotted.
  4. If you are involved in an accident while you’re in Summerville, you can get a copy of the official police report through the Crash Docs website. Your insurance company will need to see a copy of this, so don’t forget about it.
  5. Summerville uses the See Click Fix program to allow visitors and residents to report issues throughout the community. One important thing to note is that South Carolina communities have a lot of potholes. If you notice a new one, please report it using this program so that it can be fixed.
  6. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources issues hunting and fishing licenses. These activities require a permit, and different seasons and types of fishing water mean you have to sort through the different categories before making a purchase. You can do that before your trip.
  7. You should know your evacuation zone in case of a hurricane or flooding, and those are two separate zones. The city’s website details this information. You might also want to look at the flooding zones before you choose a hotel.
  8. Coyotes are known to be in this area. In fact, look up the 2021 incident where a coyote, now nicknamed “Wiley,” entered a Summerville school and hid in the bathroom. Coyotes generally avoid people, but it’s important to know that you might see them when you’re enjoying the outdoors. Do not bait or feed them.
  9. It’s worth mentioning that alligators can be found in this area, too. If you see freshwater rivers or lakes, you should assume there are alligators there. In 2021, a 13-foot, 604-pound one was found. However, the person who caught it was hunting alligators at the time. Chances are you’ll never see one, but always assume they are around.
  10. One of the most dangerous intersections in Summerville is Jedburg Road and Drop Off Drive. Keep that in mind when you’re driving around. This is a fast-growing area, and sometimes the roads don’t keep up with the amount of traffic.

So... How Safe Is Summerville Really?

The violent crime rate is 25% lower than the state average and 7% lower than the national average.

The bigger story is that violent crimes have increased 119% over the past decade at a steady rate.

Another decade like this, and we’re seeing a much different crime story.

One thing that stood out in this crime data is that one-third of all violent crimes over the past five years had victims between the ages of 10 and 19.

Another 20% involved people 20-29.

That means half of the violent crimes impact those under 30.

Only one in five violent crimes over the past five years involved a stranger, which is a little more reassuring.

Add to that the fact that 53% of violent crimes happen in private homes, and you’re in a much safer risk category.

Car thefts shot up 48% between 2021 and 2022, with an average of 13 cars stolen each month.

Larcenies (thefts) are 55% higher than the national average, with the main categories of theft being shoplifting (36%) and car break-ins (31%).

The easiest way to mitigate that risk is to lock your car when you park it, roll the windows up, and remove all personal items.

Summerville’s Town Square has faced issues in recent years, leading police to add surveillance cameras.

As one business owner told a local television station, “We have had some customers that were very uncomfortable with some of the things going on at the square.

Especially in the evenings around here.”

While there are some peripheral crime issues, it’s nothing that common sense, situation awareness, and standard security steps can’t prevent.

How Does Summerville Compare?

CitySafety Index
Washington DC56
New York City67
San Diego67
Buenos Aires (Argentina)60
Vancouver (Canada)82
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81

Useful Information



International travelers need to start with the U.S. State Department to determine the type of issue needed or if they qualify for a visa waiver. Be sure your passport isn't within six months of expiring.



Only the US Dollar can be used here. Be sure to exchange currency before you arrive. Most ATMs will be able to dispense cash from an international card, but you should know how steep those fees will be. If you let your home bank know about your trip, they can get the exact currency you want for the lowest fees.



You'll get mild winters, likely only needing a jacket instead of a winter coat. Spring and fall can fluctuate a lot, day to day or even day to night! Summers will be hot and muggy. You'll sweat a lot without even trying.



Charleston International Airport sits about 20 miles away from Summerville. That's the closest and largest airport nearby. If you're flying out of Charlotte (NC) International Airport, plan for a little less than three hours on the road.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

You definitely need to be protected against cancelations or delays related to hurricanes or tropical storms. That season runs from June through November. If your home health coverage doesn't extend to South Carolina or the U.S., it's smart to get a supplemental plan in case of emergencies.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Summerville Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 8° C
Feb 10° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 18° C
May 22° C
Jun 25° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 27° C
Sep 24° C
Oct 19° C
Nov 14° C
Dec 10° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

South Carolina - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Folly Beach68
Fort Mill78
Hilton Head Island79
Isle of Palms81
Mount Pleasant78
Myrtle Beach65
North Augusta70
Pawleys Island82
Rock Hill63
St. Helena Island78
Sullivan’s Island80
Travelers Rest77
West Columbia65

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