Is Walterboro Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 9, 2024
Walterboro, United States
Safety Index:
68
* Based on Research & Crime Data

Walterboro, South Carolina, is in a region known as the Lowcountry and calls itself the Front Porch of the Lowcountry.

The Walter brothers settled the community in 1783, hence the name.

The Walters started agricultural industries here, including rice and cotton.

As highways and interstates were built, the convenience of I-95 between New York and Florida made Walterboro a perfect place to stop for the night.

Once you’re off the interstate and in the city, you’ll find a charming downtown area lined with beautifully preserved antebellum homes and historical landmarks.

Just a few miles away, the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary feels like a world away.

It is surrounded by 600 acres of swamp with convenient boardwalks to explore.

The city recently got a lot of unwanted attention due to the high-profile double murder case involving Alex Murdaugh, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and son.

Despite the nature of the case, it has brought a surge of tourism to the community.

However, there is so much more to the quaint nature of Walterboro, and hopefully, the imprint of that tourist footprint will fade away.

However, if you’re here because you want to visit the true crime location, the courthouse is open for tours.

(No, you cannot tour the Murdaugh home and land – it has been sold to a new owner and it’s private property.)

Either way, this is one small town that leaves a big impression.

Warnings & Dangers in Walterboro

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

Walterboro's risk is somewhere between low and medium. The crime statistics might scare you away (but shouldn't), but it's not a place I'd want to be walking around at night. We'll dive into that a little later, but those visiting during the day will find Southern charm in abundance.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

You can review the Walterboro Works route through the Palmetto Breeze bus system, but this city is very walkable, and you'll need a car to get here anyway. Either option is a low risk.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

The risk is low, with no pickpockets or purse snatchings reported in the past five years. However, shoplifting is a big problem. Use your big city safety steps when protecting your belongings.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

This is a medium risk due to half the year being hurricane season and severe weather/tornado season taking up another quarter of the year. Plus, with all that water around, flooding can be an issue.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The risk is low, with five robberies reported in 2022. That number is also the average going back to 2018. Only four over the past five years have been highway robberies.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

This is a low risk in a more remote, marshy area. The bigger concerns here are the weather and local crime.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

You can learn the most common scams through the police department's social media pages, but there's a low risk of being scammed while you're here if you have common sense.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women will love this community with its charm and daytime options. While basic personal safety steps are always prudent, there's no reason to worry about a greater risk here if you stick to the historic districts, downtown, and the sanctuary.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality gives a clean bill of health to the water provided through the City of Walterboro Utilities. If you have questions, call 843-549-2545.

Safest Places to Visit in Walterboro

The Visitors section is on the city’s website, which is a nice change of pace since everything you need is in that one spot!

Check out the South Carolina Lowcountry website for a broader view of things to do in the region.

Southern charm shines through in Walterboro’s historic downtown district, lined with charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants housed in beautifully restored buildings.

As a bonus, parking is free.

Just be careful on Washington Street, one of the few one-way streets in town—you don’t want to enter from the wrong direction.

Antique shoppers should know that there are enough stores here to spend at least half a day, if not the full day.

Those who love crafts should add the South Carolina Artisans Center to their itinerary.

You’ll find unique items from woodwork to jewelry to pottery.

Stop by the Walterboro Wildlife Center downtown to pick up a map of the two historic districts.

Then, take a self-guided tour and see the stately homes and other historical markers in this charming community.

The Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society also has some places to tour in Walterboro.

The Wildlife Center is kind of the city’s visitor center, and the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary is two miles down the road.

The sanctuary protects 600 acres of estuarine preserve and a braided creek swamp.

Boardwalks and paddle trails help you get around, and you’ll also see the remains of an old stagecoach route.

Back in town, the Colleton Museum is also connected to the Farmer’s Market, making it a great stop for all ages and interests.

The museum includes a children’s play area.

Most of the major hotels are along I-95, about three miles from Walterboro.

However, for a more unique experience, check out the historic bed and breakfast inns around town.

Places to Avoid in Walterboro

While no section of town is too dangerous to visit, you really only have about 3-5 main roads as options.

The rest are side streets and neighborhoods, which are always good to avoid unless you have a reason to be there.

Walterboro is also about as “deep” as the Deep South gets, which means an immersive culture of Southern food, accents, and activities.

You’ll want a good grasp of Southern etiquette in Walterboro.

That includes things like never wearing a hat inside, holding the door open for people behind you (and thanking someone who does it for you), and waving back if someone waves at you (even if you have no idea who they are – people just like to be friendly here).

Safety Tips for Traveling to Walterboro

  1. Luckily, the small town of Walterboro has its own police department. To stay up to date on safety and crime issues, follow them on Facebook @WalterboroPD. For more information on your specific questions, call the department at (843) 549-1811.
  2. Sign up for CodeRED emergency notifications. You need to stay on top of incoming severe weather, as it can come from all directions here, and tropical systems can cause major damage. The alerts will include road closures, shelter-in-place orders, and other public safety hazards.
  3. You can report crimes anonymously here by dialing 1-888-CRIMESC or texting “TIPCSL” TO 274637. Even if you just suspect criminal activity, every little bit helps.
  4. Anglers should visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) website or a local license retailer. Choose the appropriate license type based on residency and duration, then purchase online or in person, providing necessary personal information and payment. You must carry a license with you while fishing.
  5. Five venomous snakes are found in this part of South Carolina, and their population is growing. Learn about the copperhead, cottonmouth, rattlesnake, and water moccasin, and the coral snake. Any snake bite must be seen by emergency medical services ASAP.
  6. If a tropical storm or hurricane is approaching the coastline, consider leaving town. Even if the storm isn’t expected to be that bad, the traffic on I-95 will intensify. I’ve been through so many hurricanes and have seen people trapped on the side of a highway without gas or waiting until too late and not being able to find shelter.
  7. You need to have an excellent bug spray with you and various long layers to protect against bites in the wilderness or marsh areas. Bugs and ticks can carry diseases, not to mention make the next few days a blistering, painful experience.
  8. The region around Walterboro has a lot of agriculture. That means during spring planting and fall harvest, you’re going to share the road with farm equipment. Be patient and let them have the room they need. It’s perfectly legal for tractors to ride on the road. They won’t speed up or pull over to let you pass. You can pass when the road allows it but don’t risk an accident just to move a little faster.
  9. Any freshwater should be assumed to have an alligator in it. That rules out any night swimming in lakes, ponds, or rivers. Alligators will leave you alone unless you get too close, attempt to feed them or surprise them. Keep small pets away from the edge of the water, even in the daytime.
  10. Walterboro is famous for enforcing its speed limits. Stick to the limit, which is much lower than the interstate traffic and can feel painfully slow in the middle of town. Otherwise, you’ll likely get pulled over and issued a ticket.

So... How Safe Is Walterboro Really?

Walterboro is a tough nut to crack.

On the surface (statistically), it’s one of the most dangerous cities in the state, with a violent crime rate 91% higher than the state average and 99% higher than the national average.

At the same time, it’s a city of fewer than 6,000 people, so a few more or fewer crimes can statically impact the rate per 100,000 people.

For example, the robbery rate is 14% higher than the national average of 79 robberies per 100,000 people.

However, the raw number shows that there were five robberies in 2022.

That doesn’t feel very dangerous, does it?

The theft rate shows about one theft every day of the year.

The rate is 345% higher than the national average.

Do you see how those two don’t always match?

We do know that half of those thefts are shoplifting, which isn’t something to concern you other than knowing people capable of stealing are around you.

Just 15% of thefts are car break-ins or car accessory thefts, which averages around 30% in most American cities.

Back to violent crime, just 7% of victims were strangers over the past five years, and at least half of all those crimes happened in private residences.

Like many small towns in America, Walterboro has a drug problem, which can fuel crime.

If you go looking for trouble, you’re going to find it in Walterboro.

However, you can also (and more commonly) find a quaint Southern town.

How Does Walterboro Compare?

CitySafety Index
Walterboro68
Dallas64
Memphis54
Orlando64
Las Vegas62
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Vienna (Austria)88
Hong Kong (China)70
Manama (Bahrain)54
Tianjin (China)67
Brussels (Belgium)60
Shanghai (China)66

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors need a visa or visa waiver to get through Customs and Border Patrol at the airport or port of call. You can start that process on the Visa Wizard module of the U.S. State Department so you get the right type of visa. A valid passport that isn't within six months of expiring is also required.

Currency

Currency

You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, and I'd recommend using a credit card as much as possible. The best fraud protection and identity theft security comes with credit cards. In this part of the U.S., currency exchange will need to happen at an ATM unless you're a member of a local bank. You can also ask your home bank to get you the right currency before your trip. They will offer the lowest fees.

Weather

Weather

Walterboro gets mild winters, rarely below freezing at night. That mild climate turns hot and muggy as spring wears on into summer. Bring loose, light-colored clothing and be prepared to sweat a lot.

Airports

Airports

Savannah and Charleston are your two closest airports, each about an hour away. Neither is very large, but you can get to connecting cities like Charlotte or Atlanta.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

I don't know why anyone would want to travel to a hurricane-prone area without comprehensive travel insurance. The small fees add up to great savings when you need it.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Walterboro Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 9° C
Feb 10° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 18° C
May 22° C
Jun 26° C
Jul 27° 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
High
°C
151721262932333230252117
Low
°C
2371015192121181263
High
°F
596370798490919086777063
Low
°F
363745505966707064544337

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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