In the 15 years we've lived within the Town of Banner Elk, there has never been a break-in or larceny in or around our neighborhood. It's been a safe, secure place in which to raise our son, and there are now lots of young children growing up around us.
I can't speak for what happens on Beech Mountain, but suffice to say I don't think they have a problem either. Why? Because there are far more churches than bars, and the Banner Elk PD is really on top of things. They patrol our neighborhood in the oft chance anything is happening, and so is hasn't and doesn't.
Sadly, we're leaving the area to be close to our extended family. As far as heating costs, we have two large wood burning fireplaces. The electric baseboard heaters can be a little expensive in the winter, but it's offset by the fact that you never need A/C at all in the summer, and there's practically no humidity.
Other residents' attitudes? There isn't, since a number of residents have come from elsewhere. There's a good mix of natives and others. The average age is skewed by college kids and older part-time residents that find the area and can afford to live there later in life.