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If you’ve chosen Florida as your state of residence, good news: both property and violent crime are in decline here—despite increasing rates of violent crime nationwide. Better yet, early data for 2017 indicates that the overall crime in Florida is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years.
However, Florida still boasts higher-than-average property and violent crime rates, when compared to the rest of the country (don’t miss our coverage of the safest cities in America).
Much of Florida’s crime rates may be due simply to its popularity and quality of life. The state is home to a large number of major cities. Bigger cities and warm weather both tend to see higher crime rates.
If you’re looking to move to Florida for retirement or a new home, you want to find a safe place to live. Living in a safe city gives you the opportunity to enjoy all the Sunshine State has to offer, from the warm beaches to the bustling nightlife.
When you live somewhere safe, you don’t have to worry about the stress of finding a job or school in a safe neighborhood. Life is easier, as you have one less (major) thing to worry about. Usually, an easier life is a better life, and it’s certainly one with easier sleep. With less stress, comes better sleep.
At Tuck, we’re all about helping people sleep better. That’s why we decided to find the safest cities in Florida.
According to our research, here are the top and bottom five safest cities in Florida.
|Safest Cities in Florida||Least Safe Cities in Florida|
To learn more about how we selected our cities, and what makes them safe (or unsafe), read on.
To get our official list of cities, we used the United States Census Bureau data. The last Census was taken in 2010, but the Bureau provides population estimates on a yearly basis. Based on their 2017 Population Estimation for Florida’s cities, we narrowed our list to only those cities with a population of 20,000 or more.
Next, we reviewed the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data for 2016. While there is some data available for 2017, it only covers the first half of the year. The 2016 UCR is the FBI’s most recent report with confirmed data for an entire year.
The UCR is compiled based on cities voluntarily submitting their information to the FBI, either directly or through a state UCR program. If a Florida city did not submit their information to the FBI UCR, we eliminated them from our list.
The remaining cities, 43 in total, were then ranked according to their crime rate.
Using the FBI’s report, we looked at three types of crime for each city in Florida:
The FBI actually categorizes burglary as a sub-type of property crime, where it represents nearly one-fifth of all property crimes in the U.S. We chose to include it as its own distinct category because of how it affects your sense of safety and security in your own home.
We calculated the rate for each type of crime based on the number of incidences per 10K residents. These crime rates allowed us to rank our list of Florida cities based on the most and least safe.
Overall, Florida’s violent crime went down 3.5% from 2015 to 2016, despite rising 3.4% nationally. However, the violent crime rate in Florida is still significantly higher than the national average, at 43.92 vs. 38.63 violent crimes per 10K residents.
The murder rate in Florida did increase significantly from 2015 to 2016. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, this is in part due to the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed.
Florida’s property crime decreased 4.5% from 2015 to 2016. That’s a marked improvement over the nationwide decrease of 2%. However, the property crime rate in Florida is 274.22 property crimes per 10K residents, which is still above the national average of 245.1 property crimes per 10K residents.
Below we reveal the top five safest cities in Florida, according to our research. These five cities boast the lowest violent crime, property crime, and burglary rates in Florida. They range in population from about 20,000 to nearly 200,000.
If you live in one of these Florida cities, you’re going to enjoy a sense of safety and security that will help you sleep easy at night. Keep reading to discover how these cities were chosen as the safest places to live in Florida.
The safest city in Florida is Marco Island. This beautiful beach town boasts an incredibly low violent crime rate, at only 1.11 per 10K residents, and a just as astonishing low burglary rate, at 1.67 per 10K residents. Also, the property crime rate here is more than 5 times below the state average. Across the board, Marco Island has the lowest crime rates among urban areas in Florida.
The resort town has a suburban feel, with a friendly community made up mainly of retirees. As a barrier island, city residents have access to lots of natural parkland and recreation areas that are safe and relaxing to explore.
The Marco Island Police Department prides itself on “protecting paradise.” They’ve dedicated law enforcement resources to area schools and provide crime prevention tips to the public.
After Marco Island, Punta Gorda comes in second on all types of crime. The violent crime rate here is 6.5 per 10K residents, which is nearly 7 times below the Florida average. The city’s property and burglary crime rates are the second lowest in all of Florida, at 114.81 and 13 per 10K residents, respectively.
Punta Gorda is another seaside city, with a population of 19,761. The boating and fishing community has a close knit, small town vibe, while residents can access adjacent Port Charlotte for a slightly more urban feel with expanded shopping and entertainment.
Retirees and snow birds make up a decent part of the population, with over half of the population being 65 and older. As retirees, residents are engaged in seeking a quiet life by the waterfront, helping contribute to Punta Gorda’s low crime rates.
With a population of 189,344, Port St. Lucie is the largest of our safest cities in Florida, but it still has well-below-average crime rates. The city has a violent crime rate of 14.81 per 10K residents, which is nearly 3 times below the state average.
Property crimes are low here, too. Port St. Lucie has the third lowest property crime rate in the state, at 132.65 per 10K residents, and the fourth lowest burglary rate, at 21.93 per 10K residents.
These low crime rates have benefitted the town, as Port St. Lucie has sustained steady population growth in recent years. Streets are lined with lamps, giving the city a charming atmosphere while keeping it safe at night. Also, the city police department recently invested in an upgraded communications network to improve its response rate to emergencies and disaster relief.
Geographically nestled between Venice and Punta Gorda, North Port comes in fourth on our list of the safest cities in Florida. It’s part of the Sarasota metropolitan area, so residents have access to all a big city has to offer. However, North Port itself is separate enough to enjoy significantly lower crime rates.
The resort town’s population of 66,300 enjoys the fourth lowest property crime rate in the state, at 135.83 per 10K residents. Burglaries are low here, too, at 26.19 per 10K residents. Finally, violent crime is nearly three times below the Florida average, at 14.04 per 10K residents.
Lest you think this is a sleepy community, the North Port police has actually won awards for its innovation in leveraging social media to solve crime.
As the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” Venice may have an aggressive nickname, but this quaint beachside town has some of the lowest crime rates in the state. Venice is a Gulf Coast city with 14 miles of sandy beaches, a coral reef, and plenty of green space and parks.
Venice has the fourth lowest violent crime rate in Florida, at 10.66 per 10K residents, which is four times below the state average. It also holds the third lowest burglary rate, at 22.87 per 10K residents, and fifth lowest property crime rate, at 166.12 per 10K residents.
Venice’s population of 23,020 includes a large amount of retirees, with nearly 60% of the population aged 65 and older. Some of the city’s public safety resources cater specifically to this older population, with guidance for avoiding telemarketing fraud and making the home safe for visiting grandchildren.
According to our research, the five cities below are the least safe in Florida. These cities represent some of the highest violent and property crime rates in Florida, and they’re well above national averages for these types of crimes, too.
Keep reading to see individual crime rates for each city, along with details about what makes them so unsafe.
With a population of 92,307, Miami Beach is one of Florida’s largest cities, and unfortunately, also its least safe. It has the third highest violent crime rate in Florida, at 100.9 per 10K residents. That’s more than twice the state average.
As a popular tourist destination, pickpocketing is a common crime in “America’s Riviera.” Unsurprisingly, it has the highest property crime rate of all the Florida cities on our list, at 903.67 per 10K residents. For comparison, that’s over three times the state average. Burglaries are common in Miami Beach, too, at 64.72 per 10K residents.
Like many large cities, Miami Beach is safer in certain areas versus others. Miami Beach has undergone recent economic growth that’s helped make it safer. Also, local police has been working with federal resources to reduce robbery and similar violent crime, particularly those committed against tourists, to improve crime rates and arrests.
However, the city still has outsized crime rates for both the state of Florida and the country. It’s possible the high influx of tourists contributes to the high crime rate, as crimes are included in the FBI count regardless of whether they happen to permanent residents or those passing through.
In 2015, Daytona Beach was the most dangerous city in Florida, according to the FBI’s crime data. Today, it still holds the highest rate of violent crime in Florida, at 124.28 per 10K residents, nearly 3 times the state average. The city has the second highest property crime rate in Florida, at 640.81 per 10K residents, and the sixth highest burglary rate, at 87.33 per 10K residents.
With a population of 68,055, Daytona Beach sees high crime rates for a city of its size. It has a similar population to North Port, our fifth safest city, yet it’s on the other side of the safety spectrum.
This is partly due to the fact that Daytona Beach is a more popular tourist destination than North Port, which is a common theme among the cities on our unsafe list. Crime against tourists is enough of a problem here for tourism boards to include crime prevention tips on their websites.
It may also have something to due with the poor economy. Nearly a third of Daytona Beach residents live below the poverty line. As we’ve seen with other unsafe cities in America, poorer cities tend to have higher crime rates. Unfortunately, CDC research shows that poverty also tends to lead to poorer sleep.
The state capital comes in third of our list of the least safest cities in Florida. With a population of 191,049, Tallahassee has a violent crime rate that’s double the state average.
The city also has the second highest burglary rate, at 111 per 10K residents, and the fourth highest overall property crime rate, at 578.03 per 10K residents—which is more than double the national average.
Tallahassee’s high crime rates have consistently put it on lists of the most dangerous cities in Florida. More recently, the city government has started working to fix these crimes, with increased attention to hot spots in the city where large amounts of crime typically occur.
Dubbed the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale is yet another Florida tourist destination to make our list of the least safe cities in the Sunshine State. Located just north of Miami, the city is home to a population of 180,072 and a high violent crime rate that’s 43% above the state average.
Property crime is high here as well. Fort Lauderdale has the third highest property crime rate in Florida, at 568.59 per 10K residents, which is more than double the state average. Burglaries are just as common. Fort Lauderdale has the third highest burglary rate, at 102 per 10K residents.
The good news is that early data for 2017 indicates the Fort Lauderdale crime is on the decline. The Fort Lauderdale Police Chief attributes that to a better relationship with the community.
As the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is a tourist destination on a global scale. The city of 280,257 is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and dozens other big and small theme parks and tourist-ready attractions. With nearly 70 million tourists visiting each year, it’s no surprise the city has high crime rates.
At 522 property crimes per 10K residents, the Orlando property crime rates is nearly twice the state average, and well over twice the national average. Pickpocketing can be an issue here. Orlando also has the highest burglary rate of any of the Florida cities on our list, at 131 per 10K residents.
The Pulse nightclub shooting also raised the violent crime rate for Orlando in 2016, accounting for the state’s increased murder rate over 2015. In light of this year’s school shooting in Parkland, state and local officials rolled out increased security to schools. The Reedy Creek district, which includes Disney properties, also recently doubled its law enforcement spending.
You now know the top five safest cities in Florida, as well as the least safe. Where does your city fit in? To see how safe your city is, take a look at our full list of city rankings below.
To compare your city’s crime rates to the state and national averages, remember:
If you live somewhere that wasn’t large enough to be included in our list, you can look up your city’s crime rates using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report here.
|Rank||City||Population 2017||Violent Crime per 10K||Property Crime per 10K||Burglaries per 10K|
|3||Port St. Lucie||189,344||14.81||132.65||21.93|
|12||Fort Walton Beach||21,895||30.03||273.82||32.27|
|36||West Palm Beach||110,222||88.27||518.07||87.53|
At the state level, Florida is, on average, less safe than the rest of the country. However, there are a number of cities, including Punta Gorda, Port St. Lucie, and North Port, which offer peaceful, cohesive communities with very low crime rates.
As for the most dangerous cities in Florida, many of them are major tourist destinations, such as Orlando, Miami Beach, and Tallahassee. Local officials attribute at least part of the crime to the high influx of tourists in these areas, as unfortunately tourists pose an easy target for many evildoers.
Fortunately, local police in both the safest and least safe cities on our list are making strides to reduce crime rates in their towns. Hopefully, Florida will stay in line with the national trend of declining property rates, and we’ll begin to see decreases in violent crime, too.
You can always check the latest crime rates on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, or come back to Tuck for next year’s rankings.
Speaking of rankings, if you’re interested in seeing how these Florida cities stack up when it comes to sleep, take a look at our list of the best and worst cities for sleep in America.