The City of Raleigh also publishes crime rates. http://www.raleighnc.gov/home/content/Police/Articles/OnlineCrimeMapping.html
Collin is accurate about the rentals being high down here and in most cases last year where I have helped buyers who were formally renting, their monthly mortgage payment, including escrows, was lower by as much as $200 per month than they were paying in rent. If I can provide you any personal service, please use the contact link under my picture. I also invite you to check out mt website below. My wife and I are also from New York originally ( Me: east end of Long Island Her: Red Hook in Dutchess County) We've been here since 1993 and love the area!!