Welcome to Cary, The Safest Town in America


Cary, NC — Based on recently released FBI Crime Data, Cary has the lowest crime rate in America for municipalities between 100,000 and 500,000.

The Safest Town in America

From Town of Cary:

Based upon data recently published in the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and reviewed by the Town of Cary’s Crime Analysis Unit, Cary, North Carolina has the lowest total crime rate in America among municipalities with populations of 100,000-500,000. The ranking is compiled using the FBI’s data for Total Crime Rate per 1,000 People.

Data from the report is generated from over 18,000 law enforcement agencies that submitted their information through a state UCR Program or directly to the FBI’s UCR Program. The FBI has collected, published and archived these statistics since 1930.

Cary consistently ranks as one of the safest municipalities regionally and nationally. For 13 consecutive years, the Town was the highest-ranked municipality in North Carolina and in the southeast based on reports by CQ Press and its annual publication, “City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America.”

Its most recent publication, dated 2011, listed Cary as the third safest among municipalities with populations of 100,000-499,999. In last year’s 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report, Cary had the ninth lowest total crime rate among municipalities with populations of 100,000-500,000.

Additional information about the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report is available at

Why So Low?

Cary is not crime-free. Citizens are reminded to keep garage doors closed, front doors locked and remove valuables from your car.

That’s one of the reasons Cary is a safe place. We communicate about these issues.

Cary Police do a great job preventing crime, responding to incidents, apprehending suspects and keeping the town safe. But they do an even better job reaching out to the community with initiatives like geo-policing, Project Phoenix and National Night Out.

Even though Cary was incorporated more than a century ago, we are, in some ways, just starting our journey. But for today, let’s bask in the glow of an admirable safety record and the title of Safest Town in America.


Photo by Hal Goodtree.

28 replies
  1. Dave
    Dave says:

    It’s probably hard for people like Anderson Long to have a clue what draws many of us to Cary. Okay yes its a sleepy town with not much to do. I’ll take that over having more friends murdered, and having it go unsolved. Maybe if you want intrigue, move to California. I’ve noticed how many left coasters come here so we can own homes, and not risk getting shanked but some psycho crankhead because I honked at him for cutting me off.
    Go to school with guys that bring machine guns and samurai swords, then your perspective will change.
    I was 8 years old making nunchucks in my garage, so I could protect myself

    Good job CPD keep the scum out, forever.

    As for the Cooper case, that looked pretty bad convicting a guy without hard evidence…I have to wonder a bit about this lowest-crime statistic if it results in this type of situation as some are indicating. This state has a bad record of putting the wrong people behind bars.

  2. Adam
    Adam says:

    Cary did not just accidentally become safe, the police department has been calculated steps into keeping it that way. Along with that Cary has is part of the well educated Raleigh Area that really helps keeping crime down. Add in the huge effort made by volunteer organizations, and the general interest the town has kept in making sure not to grow in the wrong direction while keeping up the fast growth that this region has been accustomed to.

    Keep up the good work everybody!

  3. john
    john says:

    that isn’t correct though. using the crime data is only using the people who have been caught. For all we know the criminals are just outsmarting the cops and not getting caught with anything i know for a fact my high school had drugs out the wazoo.

  4. Anderson Long
    Anderson Long says:

    Anything utterly devoid of life, curiosity, diversity,challenge, intrigue, or passion is safe. In cemeteries, the locals aren’t going to mug you, ask challenging questions regarding your limited perceptions, compose a symphony, have passionate love making, write books that you don’t understand, dance in way that perplexes you, or offer the tender heart of simple human kindness. Cary personifies the pain of isolation and embodies ‘ to seem, rather than to be’. Of course it’s “safe”. Yet safety from what? Unless Cary has changed greatly in the 10 years since I left the Piedmont, I think the town banner should read: ” Lifelessness: It’s a safe way to be!”

    By the way— I’m a seventh generation North Carolinian and Cary was founded by my great- great- grandfather on my mothers side: Allison Francis ( Frank) Page. And I was named after his father– Anderson Page.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Thanks for commenting, Anderson! Always good to hear from a member of the Page family.

      I like where this discussion is going – the philosophical gestalt of safety. It’s a question that continues to be asked in Cary, both formally (Town of Cary’s “Imagine” project) and informally (the rise of a creative/technologist class in town). In fact, the dichotomy you point out is the very question that animates discussion about our future.

      One legacy of Frank Page that continues – Cary is still an ambitious town, a town that dreams big. And even some of the Yankee transplants take the state motto to heart – Esse quam videri.

    • CaryFan2
      CaryFan2 says:

      Regardless to whom your father or his father’s father was your comment was insulting dribble wrapped in poetic prose. The article isn’t discussing a lack of diversity in thought but rather not having a pistol stuck in your back while you’re eating at McDonalds.

      • Brent
        Brent says:

        Although thanks to the state legislature, guns now are allowed at all restaurants, including those that serve alcohol, unless the restaurant posts a “no guns” sign at its entrance.

  5. Bob C
    Bob C says:

    Thanks, interesting map. But what does it really tell us? Is it a crime to speed through residential neighborhoods? What about loud vehicles?
    Illegal parking? Unregistered vehicles in yards? Bikes violating rules of the road. Uninsured and unlicensed operators. There’s more to public safety than violent crime.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      You bring up a good point, Bob. We should revise the Heat Map to make it sortable by type of crime. Thanks for taking a look.

  6. Bob C
    Bob C says:

    How you you ever be able to know the crime rate? The local paper doesn’t publish it. It isn’t on the Town web site. It seems it would be helpful to our citizens if we could know a little more about what and where. I really don’t think our crime is in the “downtown area”, but how can I know?

  7. CaryFan2
    CaryFan2 says:

    I’m from another state and have been in Cary for 2 years and am very impressed with this community. Not only is the city clean and safe but it has a well designed infrastructure which makes getting around the community is a breeze. Maybe in need of minor tweaks but overall very impressive.

    As a matter a policy I am very much in favor of limited government & very much against over regulation and interference in matters that would be better served through free enterprise. Having said this, there are situations where the community is served through smart government involvement.

    As low as the crime statistics are I would venture to guess that the majority of these incidents are centered in or around the Cary downtown area. I’m making this comment simply as an encouragement to our city officials that your concentration on the downtown area is not an imbalance of priorities and that the improvement to the downtown area will benefit the city as a whole. When I moved to the triangle area my Realtor expressed to me in no uncertain terms that I should not purchase a home in Durham. Not because there weren’t safe areas, but that in resale I would be dealing with a negative stigma (whether fair to Durham or not). Point being if the city allows the downtown area to disintegrate the entire City of Cary will be adversely affected.

  8. Shell Johnson
    Shell Johnson says:

    Cary is crime-free because it’s a rich suburb… The only crime even available to fight is speeding, which the cops always crack down on zealously. And they don’t do a good job “reaching out to the community with initiatives like geo-policing, Project Phoenix and National Night Out” because I’ve never heard of any of those.

  9. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I grew up in Cary and still live here. No town is perfect, but I love Cary. I love the people in particular. Even the neighboring cities are awesome. My husband and I are so blessed to live here and we take for granted how much we have. The citizens are not scared, they are respectful (well, most are). I can go out of town and see the difference in appearances and am grateful for how well-kept Cary is…it’s a sign of respect for what we have been given.
    I also appreciate the fact that this article said crime might be lower, but that doesn’t mean it’s not here. We know it’s here like anywhere else. The police, fireman, and other groups work so hard to keep it safe. There is definitely a population of lower-income families and I am also grateful that this community is about helping one another. I know that my church in particular gives time, money, and so much more to the neighboring communities. We also have many homeless families whom we serve too. To say that only the middle-class is taken care of is pretty ignorant. Especially if you don’t live here.
    And p.s. we have a skateboarding park in Cary off Maynard Road. So technically it is permitted ;)

    • Brent
      Brent says:

      As Hal said earlier, CaryCitizen tries to deal in facts, so here are some:

      Although Cary has expanded, it hasn’t “taken over” any other towns.

      Flag poles are not prohibited in Cary.

      Skateboarding is allowed in Cary. In fact, Cary has SK8 Cary, a skateboard park. There are some places where skateboarding would be unsafe or inappropriate, and (usually private) owners don’t allow it.

      I also disagree with your overall general characterization. Cary is fortunate to have enlightened elected officials, a great town staff, a fantastic police force and engaged citizens. Having a safe town is liberating, not confining.

  10. Allison
    Allison says:

    Locking doors, closing garage doors and removing possessions from one’s car is sort of a common sense thing. I would hope that anyone would do that. I don’t think that that is the reason Cary is so crime free. Although I’ve heard nothing bad of the cops in Cary I know that it has expanded a significant amount since I was very young and has taken over a lot of smaller towns in Wake County. Cary also has some outstanding fees and taxes that make it very hard for anyone to step outside of the line. I remember hearing about how Talbot’s red door was a problem for the town of Cary and Gypsy’s Shiny Diner was a bit of a controversy. Grass can’t be a certain height or the homeowner will have to pay a fine and flag poles are prohibited. Honestly I think the citizens are just too scared to do anything or they will have to pay some ridiculous fine. And that , in itself, is fine. :)There also aren’t many bad areas in Cary. I haven’t seen one section 8 or public housing area in Cary. Most of the residential neighborhoods cater toward the middle to upper-class families.
    And you’re also not allowed to skateboard in Cary…though that shouldn’t be a crime.

  11. Robert
    Robert says:

    And to make sure they retain their motto as “The Safest City”, (and the tax revenue it generates) – the CPD will ALWAYS solve the crime – whether they arrest the real criminal or not, it doesn’t really matter – just make an arrest and put the residents at ease. Bazemores standard response to a crime – “This wasn’t random” which gives CPD free rein to make the most “logical” arrest even if they have to force fit square pegs (created evidence) into round holes (their theories). What a joke this PD and city is.

  12. Pam
    Pam says:

    Well, if a crime occurs, the CPD will certainly make an arrest quickly. Gotta keep up the image.

  13. Peggy Conner
    Peggy Conner says:

    Of course it’s the safest town. Because the Cary Police have NO issue with railroading an innocent man and having him sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. They’ll even go so far as to tamper with evidence and lie under oath to maintain that ‘safe’ classification.

    • Hal Goodtree
      Hal Goodtree says:

      Peggy – We try to keep it factual here. Do you have any facts to back up your allegations?

      • Peggy Conner
        Peggy Conner says:

        Yes Hal, I sure do. Are you familiar with Brad Cooper? The Canadian citizen that lived in Cary? Jason Young COMPLETELY wiped Nancy Cooper’s TWO cell phones AND the SIM card–COMPLETELY!!!!!!!!!! And didn’t bother to notify the Defense team until well after any records could be retrieved. You don’t ACCIDENTALLY wipe a SIM card–it is a deliberate act!!!

        And if you bothered to watch any of the trial footage, you would know that the CPD officers who testified UNDER OATH, were lying! I guess it’s just easier trust and believe that Cary is this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    • learmond walker
      learmond walker says:

      well everywhere you go you will find bad cop but i live in cary and it really is a nice city to live in its rare to even hear cops responding to anything

  14. Robert Campbell
    Robert Campbell says:

    Communication is the key — I encourage every person to join or start a site. In our community of more than 600 homes, we’ve successfully stopped the casual car break-ins by seeing the pattern, alerting Cary PD to the pattern and catching the perpetrators. Beyond, NextDoor facilitates communication in your neighborhood, if nothing else, you would be able to call that neighbor by their first name should you run into them :-) We’ve seen great benefit from this kind of social engagement, I encourage others to take the plunge!

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