What are the most dangerous cities in Florida?
Isn’t this a question that all travelers, visitors, and future residents want to know? Florida Travel Blog decided to research the safest place in Florida. This much-debated question and two other often-asked questions were researched to find the answers.
We hear a lot about Florida on the national news front. We decided that many people would want to know Is Florida Safe?
Of course, if we are going to determine where is the safest place in Florida, we should also find out Where is the most dangerous city in Florida?
These three questions were our quest to get the most reliable answers. Sounds easy. Just a few hours digging into the latest statistics we could find, right? That’s where the problem started.
When we looked at dozens of websites and government statistics, we discovered that there were many subjective answers that were unreliable at best, and downright misleading in others. Our biggest focus was on violent crime.
Here are some of the variables we discovered when trying to get accurate information.
- Many websites used overall crime rates. We felt violent crimes were more important than pickpockets at Disney World. Murders, rapes, and armed robberies were our focus.
- Some statistics used their own algorithms that had social factors like inclusion, offensive legislation (in their opinion!) and poverty levels. None of which a person cares about when facing the decision to take their family on a vacation or deciding where to live. People want to know about crime!
- Some websites only dealt with the major cities, despite overwhelming evidence that some small towns had higher crime rates.
Facing these variables, we tried to use a commonsense approach that factored in these parameters –
- What are the violent crime rates?
- Use numbers for the top 100 cities in Florida where possible.
- Make adjustment comments when necessary.
We start with answering the question is Florida a safe state? This query had some of the same obstacles as the questions about the safest place in Florida. Our findings are as follows;
As a general statement, the research showed the lower the population of the state, the lower the number of crimes per 100,000 residents in the state. Places like New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine did extremely well and are very safe.
Florida has the third largest population. You would expect Florida to be high on the list of dangerous states. Not so, according to Wikipedia statistics. Florida was number 26 of the 50 states.
Other websites were not so flattering. We continued our data collection.
As you can see there is no easy answer, but we know this – every state is ranked by all studies as crimes per 100,000 residents. Can you foresee a problem with that basis for rating crimes in Florida?
Florida has 137 million people visiting each year. Theoretically, there are over 10 million extra people in Florida each month. Are there any adjustments when crime rates are tallied? The answer is a resounding NO! So, is Florida safe?
Using the ratings from various statistics, plus a little common sense, Florida is a very safe state, particularly if you consider the millions of visitors in the state at any given time.
That doesn’t mean Florida doesn’t have crime, it just means, comparatively, there is less crime than many other states. Florida, like all other states, has pockets of high criminal activity.
What is the safest place in Florida?
To answer this question, we went back to the statistics for answers. Again, we got varying answers. Four of the websites and government data we looked at are below.
As you can see there are some disagreements due to various methods of calculation. However, we can use a consensus of the following cities that are deemed to be the safest cities in Florida based on the statistics above concerning violent crime.
All of the above places appear in one or more lists. For a more complete list of the safest places in Florida here is a list of the top 50 safest places in Florida.
*Both Naples and The Villages appear on most lists. The Villages is a Census Designated Place and is very low (if not the lowest) on lists that include CDPs. Naples only appears on one list, but the data shows violent crime rates are lower than many other places listed.
What is the most dangerous city in Florida?
We again went back to statistics we found on the internet and government data. In some cases, we used the same sources. There are similar problems with the calculations, but here is what we found.
One of the issues you encounter when reviewing websites for accurate information is the consistency on their variables. Are they reporting violent crimes? Homicides? Combinations of some type? Same time frames?
These issues take some close review and some judgment calls. One other issue seems to be the site’s motive. Are they selling real estate? Promoting a product? Selling information? Again, some caution and judgment must be made.
Once again, when determining the most dangerous cities in Florida, we had to do a little investigation and come up with a consensus list of the most dangerous cities.
- Florida City
- Daytona Beach
- Riviera Beach
- Miami Beach
- Lake Worth
- Lake City
Our list of the most dangerous cities in Florida needs some explanation.
First, Orlando appears on many lists, but this is unrealistic. They have an extra million people per month as visitors, but that is not taken into consideration. When calculating crime rates per 100,000 residents, no adjustments are made for cities with huge visitor populations.
In fact, Orlando does have a huge number of non-violent crime. Petty thefts, car thefts and fraud headline the overall crime stats.
Secondly, we were considering violent crimes more important than property crimes. While non-violent crimes cannot be ignored, we placed a lower value on them in our assessments.
If you want to see more results, visit this site for the top fifty dangerous cities in Florida.
Crime and the News Media
Unfortunately, the media is not always forthright about violent crimes. If you go back to the data, we were surprised at the list of cities with the highest murder rates per 100,000 people. Those cities are:
- St. Louis, MO (69.4)
- Baltimore, MD (51.1)
- New Orleans, LA (40.6)
- Detroit, MI (39.7)
- Cleveland, OH (33.7)
- Las Vegas, NV (31.4)
- Kansas City, MO (31.2)
- Memphis, TN (27.1)
- Newark, NJ (25.6)
- Chicago, IL (24)
- Cincinnati, OH (23.8)
- Philadelphia, PA (20.2)
- Milwaukee, WI (20.0)
- Tulsa, OK (18.6)
- Pittsburgh, PA (18.4)
- Indianapolis, IN (17.7)
- Louisville, KY (17.5)
- Oakland, CA (17.1)
- Washington D.C. (17.0)
- Atlanta, GA (16.7)
Florida cities do not appear on this list, nor any of the most reliable websites dealing with crimes in the country’s major cities.
In fairness, not all sites agree. Many use limited time frames that influence the data. We do know that Florida cities do not appear on the lists with year-over-year comparisons of violent crimes that continue to increase.
In fact, the data shows that people are fleeing the states with high homicide rates. Here is another list of 24 major cities from the Center for Public Safety Initiatives with crime comparisons from 2021 to 2022. No Florida cities appear on that list.
Despite the evidence to the contrary, the media in our opinion seems to ignore the problems in some of the major metropolitan areas. Florida seems to get an undue amount of negative publicity, again in our opinion.
Keep in mind our original theories – Florida has millions of visitors that are NOT counted in any statistics based on crimes per resident.
A Note About The Word “Safe”
We found it interesting that some website data considers Florida hurricanes a factor in determining safety. We also noted that those same sites failed to recognize natural disasters in other states.
Most compilations of safe places don’t take into account the following;
- In many years more people die from tornadoes than hurricanes in Florida.
- Half of the state of Florida never sees a hurricane.
- Natural disasters occur nationwide such as winter storms, extreme heat, floods and wildfires. None of these are considered for any state other than Florida’s hurricane history.
We don’t want to sound “put-off” about the lack of accurate comparisons, but all those factors are rarely considered for any other state.
The Safest Place in Florida Conclusions
Florida is a safe state by literally any way you measure the data. Overall, the cities in Florida are safe if you compare them to other cities of the same size. Do places like Jacksonville, Miami and, to some degree Orlando, have their problems? Yes, but certainly not to the extent of cities in the country with similar populations.
We still may not have identified the safest place in Florida. That could be one of the hundreds of small towns within our borders. Florida is a vast state and Florida Travel Blog will continue to discover more great safe places in Florida to visit.