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8 Most Dangerous Cities In Florida (2024 Update)

Florida City

Florida is a beautiful state with diverse wildlife, Disney World, and beaches galore. It’s one of the premiere vacation destinations for visitors from around the world. However, most people are unaware that Florida is the third most dangerous state in the U.S., according to violent crime statistics. Like any state, some areas suffer from more crime than others.

divider 1 The 8 Most Dangerous Cities In Florida

1. Florida City

Florida City
Image Credit: Pixabay
Population 12,180
Murder Rate: 32.8 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $35,253
Poverty Rate: 4,750 (40%)
Violent Crimes: 2,619 per 100k people

Leading our list is Florida City. It’s a small suburb of Miami with the Everglades at its backdoor. Calling itself the “Gateway to the Florida Keys,” you’d think Florida City would be an idyllic paradise.

With a poverty rate four times the national average and a murder rate over six times the average, Florida City isn’t the best spot for a vacation. As of 2020, only two cities in Alabama have a higher violent crime rate in all of the U.S.

If you must visit for any reason, it’s best to stick to the northwest parts of town, which are considered the safest. By contrast, the southwest area is where you’re most likely to be the victim of a violent crime. Property crime like theft is far more common than violent crime, however.

Unemployment in Florida City has maintained a steady rate of 14% over the past 5 years, which is over double the national average. Simply put, there are few opportunities for residents living there, which tends to increase crime rates.

2. Marianna

Marianna, Florida

Population 6,920
Murder Rate: 41.37 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $38,242
Poverty Rate: 2,410 (37.8%)
Violent Crimes: 3,554 per 100k people

Marianna is a bit of an oddity on this list in that it has such a small population. Nestled alongside I-10 west of Tallahassee, Marianna calls itself the “City of Southern Charm” and has a mix of rural and suburban sensibilities.

For such a charming city, it has a high poverty rate of nearly four times the national average and a murder rate of over six times the average. In general, your chances of being a victim of crime in Marianna are 1 in 24. Of course, this varies based on where you go.

The crowded central neighborhoods of Marianna are the most dangerous, and the northeast areas of town are the safest. Those estimates are based on averages of where crimes were committed in the city.

3. Lake City

Lake City
Image Credit: Pixabay
Population 12,329
Murder Rate: 16.5 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $38,000
Poverty Rate: 2,484 (22.2%)
Violent Crimes: 1,326 per 100k people

Lake City has the distinct honor of being the site of Florida’s largest Civil War battle and was originally named Alligator. Located right between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Lake City seems like a good suburban area to escape the hustle and bustle.

Unfortunately, it has a violent crime rate three times the national average and is third in the state for violent crimes overall. Its murder rate is relatively low, but you still risk a 1 in 15 chance of being robbed. Generally speaking, most violent crime occurs in the town’s eastern parts.

Burglary and theft are several times the national average, too, so your belongings aren’t any safer than you are in Lake City.

4. Opa-Locka

Opa-Locka, Florida

Population 16,463
Murder Rate: 66.7 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $21,523
Poverty Rate: 8,358 (50.7%)
Violent Crimes: 2,807 per 100k people

Moving back to the Miami area, we have the unique architecture of Opa-Locka. One of the city’s claims to fame is that it has one of the largest collections of Moorish Revival buildings in the U.S. You may have seen some of them in 2 Fast 2 Furious or Bad Boys II.

For all its architectural allure, in 2004, Opa-Locka had the highest violent crime rate in the entire country. It’s improved since then, but you still have a 1 in 48 chance of being a victim of violent crime. Unfortunately, property crime is high, too, at three times the national average and the sixth highest nationwide.

5. Lake Park

Lake Park, Florida

Population 8,670
Murder Rate: 23.1 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $61,705
Poverty Rate: 1,320 (15.0%)
Violent Crimes: 991 per 100k people

Lake Park was Florida’s first zoned municipality and is just a short drive from West Palm Beach. Although the proximity to the beach is attractive, Lake Park has more property crime per capita than any other city in the U.S.

Lake Park is one of the more well-to-do cities on this list, with a higher average household income and a lower poverty rate. If you didn’t know any better, you could look at the town and think it was a respectable place to settle down and raise a family.

Keep an eye on your wallet because you have a staggering 1 in 12 chance of being robbed in Lake Park, which has the highest property crime rate in all of Florida.

The city doesn’t slouch in violent crime, with a murder rate in the top 10 nationwide. The state park and the city’s western sections are noted to be some of the hotspots for property crime, so beware if you stop by.

6. Panama City Beach

Panama City Beach
Image Credit: Pixabay
Population 12,751
Murder Rate: 15.1 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $63,912
Poverty Rate: 595 (4.7%)
Violent Crimes: 1002.6 per 100k people

Panama City Beach is by far the most picturesque entry on this list, with glittering white beaches and top-tier shopping. When many people think of spring break, they think of this tourist town and college kids flocking to the beaches.

Unfortunately, Panama City Beach has the highest incidence of rapes in the state and the fifth-highest property crime rate. It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that most of this crime occurs during the spring and summer when tourism is at its peak.

If you want to visit (and we wouldn’t blame you, it’s nice), consider booking your vacation during the off-season when temperatures and hotel prices are mild.

7. Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach
Image Credit: Pixabay
Population 67,604
Murder Rate: 18.6 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $35,893
Poverty Rate: 15,700 (24.3%)
Violent Crimes: 1,137 per 100k people

As another tourist hotspot, Daytona Beach is the famous home of the Daytona International Speedway, aka NASCAR Mecca. Racecars, beaches, and water parks, what more could you want? Well, a little less violent crime would be nice.

Daytona has the fourth-highest violent crime rate in Florida. On average, two aggravated assaults happen daily, and up have a 1 in 88 chance of being attacked. The silver lining is that Daytona has a relatively low property crime rate.

8. Cocoa

Cocoa, Florida

Population 18,285
Murder Rate: 10.6 per 100k people
Average Household Income: $38,892
Poverty Rate: 3,660 (20%)
Violent Crimes: 802.9 per 100k people

Cocoa is located in Brevard County, which is only minutes away from the famed Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, not to mention proximity to Cocoa Beach. No, Cocoa is not the same as the beach town. Unfortunately, it has much higher crime rates.

Cocoa has a violent crime rate over double the national average, and you have a 1 in 19 chance of being targeted for property crime too. Burglaries and larceny are the two major types of property crime in Cocoa, and property crime is over 100% higher than the average.


Has Crime Gotten Better Or Worse In Florida?

Although there are always hotspots, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claims crime has steadily declined over the past 50 years. However, this doesn’t include specific types of crime; violent crime slightly increased by 2.3% from 2020 to 2021, whereas property crime declined by over 14%.

The shocking crime statistics are partially due to Florida’s “Sunshine Laws.” Public records of crimes are available to all citizens. Other states, by contrast, usually protect legal proceedings from public records to some degree.

So it’s not that more crime is happening, but we have greater access to information about it.

How To Stay Safe In Florida

Florida has numerous tourist destinations, and not all of them are safe, as this list indicates. When traveling in an unfamiliar area, you should take common-sense precautions to keep yourself as safe as possible.

Some tips to stay safe in Florida include:

  • Always travel with at least one other person. Traveling alone is one of the best ways to make yourself a target for criminals.
  • If you’re enjoying the nightlife in one of Florida’s neon-drenched cities, like Ybor City or Miami, try to stick to well-lit areas inside and outside.
  • Always park your car in a well-lit area. When coming back to it, check inside before getting in.
  • Keep your car locked at all times, whether you’re in it or leaving it parked.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers or roll down your windows for anyone waving you down.
  • Don’t tell anyone where you’re staying.
  • If anyone asks if you’re alone, always say you’re waiting for a friend or family member.

divider 1 Conclusion

Florida is a great place to live and visit but has bad areas like any other state. We discussed the most dangerous cities, but the state has several cities that are safer and experience fewer crimes. As long as you take proper precautions and avoid crime hotspots, you can have a great time and avoid becoming a victim of criminals.

Looking for more statistics on cities across the US? Check out:

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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