The most violent cities in Florida include Lake City, Riviera Beach, and Cocoa. If you’re considering a relocation to the sunshine state, it’s advisable to steer clear of these locations and other Florida cities notorious for violent crime. Here’s our comprehensive list of the least safe places to reside in Florida if security is a priority.
Top 10 (2023)
- Lake City
- Riviera Beach
- Florida City
- Lake Worth
- Daytona Beach
1. Lake City
- Total Population: 12,329
- Rate of Violent Crime: 15.74 per 1,000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 54.42 per 1,000 residents
- Percentage of Poverty: 22.2%
- Rate of Unemployment: 7.7%
Lake City holds the dubious distinction of being Florida’s most dangerous city. With a violent crime rate of 1,547 per 100,000 inhabitants, it not only tops the state but also ranks amongst the worst in the nation.
Despite its smaller population of roughly 12,500 and a cost of living lower than many other Florida locations, Lake City suffers from extremely high poverty and crime rates. The likelihood of becoming a victim of violent crime in Lake City is nearly 4 times higher than the statewide average, earning it a spot among Florida’s least safe cities.
2. Riviera Beach
- Total Population: 37,604
- Violent Crime Frequency: 11.41 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Incidence of Property Crime: 31.30 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Percentage of Poverty: 20.04%
- Joblessness Index: 6.6%
This small community of 35,000 residents has an alarmingly high violent crime rate, with a murder rate seven times the national average, making it the worst city in Florida for this particular crime.
Riviera Beach, situated on the outskirts of the Miami metropolitan area, has parts that should be bypassed if safety is a concern. The safest area in Riviera Beach is Singer Island, but the remaining city areas contribute to its ranking among the worst areas in Florida. Notably, Riviera Beach is a short 10-minute drive from North Palm Beach, one of Florida’s safest cities.
- Total Population: 19,041
- Rate of Violent Crime: 11.24 per 1,000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 57.82 per 1,000 residents
- Percentage of Poverty: 13.0%
- Jobless Rate: 4.5%
Another hazardous town in Florida, known for its significantly high violent crime rate. Despite its population of just 19,000, the violent crime rate in Cocoa is 1,108 per 100,000 residents, which is 2.8 times the national average and triple the state average. Burglaries and assaults are the most prevalent types of violent crime in Cocoa.
Cocoa is nestled on the Space Coast, near Cape Canaveral, and should be avoided if you’re seeking a safe and tranquil place to settle in the Sunshine State.
4. Lake Worth
- Total Population: 42,219
- Rate of Violent Crime: 9.26 per 1,000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 44.32 per 1,000 residents
- Percentage of Poverty: 21.6%
- Jobless Rate: 2.30%
Just a brief drive south of Riviera Beach, is another of Florida’s cities with a high violent crime rate. In Lake Worth, the violent crime rate is 996 per 100,000 residents, which is over 2.5 times the state and national average. However, Lake Worth’s crime rates have been on the decline in recent years.
The northern districts in Lake Worth are more perilous than the rest of the city, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
5. Panama City
- Total Population: 32,939
- Rate of Violent Crime: 9.26 per 1000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 44.32 per 1000 residents
- Percentage of Poverty: 21.6%
- Unemployment Rate: 2.30%
Located in Bay County, Panama City is recognized as one of Florida’s most violent cities, despite its popularity as a beach destination. The city is known for its stunning landscapes, pristine waters, and diverse wildlife. It offers various outdoor activities such as fishing, scuba diving, and cruising, and is home to numerous shopping venues and eateries. Housing in Panama City is relatively affordable, making it an attractive option for families.
However, high crime rates, including murders, armed robberies, and kidnappings, particularly in areas like Curundú, El Chorrillo, and San Miguelito, have marred its reputation.
- Total Population: 74,482
- Rate of Violent Crime: 8.56 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Incidence of Property Crime: 24.56 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Percentage of Poverty: 24.64%
- Joblessness Index: 8.1%
Lauderhill, a Florida city, has seen an increase in crime rates over the past few years. In 2022, this city of 72,000 residents recorded 632 violent crimes, a rise of more than 20% from 2018. The overall violent crime rate in Lauderhill is 878 per 100,000 people, which means residents of Lauderhill are 2.3 times more likely to be victims of violent crime compared to the average Floridian.
- Total Residents: 80,737
- Incidence of Violent Crime: 7.57 per 1,000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 21.20 per 1,000 residents
- Poverty Level: 27.1%
- Jobless Rate: 8.7%
the cost of living in Homestead is relatively high. The city is notable for its diversity and balanced mix of younger and older demographics.
Despite these positive attributes, Homestead ranks among Florida’s most dangerous cities due to elevated rates of property and violent crimes.
For those considering a move to Homestead, the northwest region of the city is often recommended as a safer choice by local inhabitants..
8. Daytona Beach
- Total Population: 72,647
- Rate of Violent Crime: 9.99 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Incidence of Property Crime: 29.73 per 1,000 inhabitants
- Percentage of Poverty: 20.54%
- Joblessness Index: 7.1%
Daytona Beach, famous for its race track and spring break celebrations, draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Regrettably, it’s one of Florida’s most hazardous places to live.
The violent crime rate in Daytona Beach is 1,006 per 100,000 residents, meaning that residents are almost three times more likely to be a victim of violent crime compared to the state average. Property crime rates in Daytona Beach are also alarming, almost 2.5 times the state average.
- Total Population: 197,000
- Rate of Violent Crime: 7.52 per 1,000 residents
- Incidence of Property Crime: 30.97 per 1,000 residents
- Percentage of Poverty: 27.1%
- Jobless Rate: 5.1%
Despite Florida’s hard-line approach to criminal activity, its capital, Tallahassee, ranks as one of the state’s worst areas in terms of violent crime. In 2021, Tallahassee reported 1,516 violent crimes, which translates to 774 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. This makes Tallahassee more than twice as dangerous as both the state and national average.
The rate of property crime in Tallahassee is also considerably high, with the chances of being a victim of property crime being approximately 1 in 30.
- Total Population: 307,573
- Rate of Violent Crime: 8.28 for every 1,000 individuals
- Incidence of Property Crime: 36.80 for every 1,000 individuals
- Percentage of Poverty: 19.1%
- Unemployment Percentage: 2.80%
Orlando, the most populous city in Florida, has a violent crime rate that is 2.2 times higher than the state average.
Although crime in Orlando had been decreasing for decades, dropping significantly since 2002, there has been a slight increase since 2020. Nevertheless, the city has made commendable efforts to reduce violent crime and make Orlando safer for its residents.
Counterpart: Most Secure Cities in Florida
While some cities in Florida have a higher crime rate, there are also quite safe locales in the state. Below is a rundown of the top 5 safest cities in Florida.
- Leading the pack is Sweetwater, Florida, boasting a safety score of 1.21 and hence, taking the top spot as the safest city in Florida. Situated near Miami, Sweetwater illustrates that proximity to Miami doesn’t necessarily equate to high crime rates. Finding a secure neighborhood could be vital.
- Next up is Naples, Florida, with a safety rating of 1.12. This town is positioned on Florida’s gulf coast. With a population of around 21,000, it’s a relatively small city that benefits from a low unemployment rate and proximity to stunning beaches. The city’s modest population likely factors into its reduced violent and property crime rates.
- Key Biscayne, Florida, comes in with a safety rating of 1.06. As one of the Florida Keys, this island off the coast of Florida offers a gorgeous living environment with a relatively small population.
- Coral Gables, Florida, is another secure city, with a safety score of 1. Similar to Sweetwater, it’s relatively close to Miami, suggesting that beautiful beaches and a vibrant city center are just a short drive away.
- Lastly, Satellite Beach, Florida, has a safety rating of 0.83. Positioned about halfway between Miami and Jacksonville, it’s also in close proximity to Daytona Beach.
What factors contribute to Lake City’s high crime rate?
One significant issue is the high poverty rate, which stands at 22.2%. Economic instability often correlates with higher crime rates, as individuals may resort to criminal activities due to limited economic opportunities.
Another contributing factor is Lake City’s relatively high unemployment rate of 7.7%, which is above the national average. Joblessness can lead to increased crime rates as individuals struggle to meet their basic needs.
Why is Riviera Beach considered the worst city in Florida for murder?
Riviera Beach has earned the unfortunate title of being the worst city in Florida for murder because its murder rate is seven times the national average. This small community of 35,000 residents experiences a disproportionately high level of violent crime. Socioeconomic factors such as a high poverty rate (20.04%) and relatively high unemployment (6.6%) likely contribute to this elevated crime rate.
What areas in Cocoa are most prone to violent crime?
Cocoa’s high crime rate is spread across the city, but certain areas witness higher rates of violent crime than others. The city’s downtown and southern regions are known to have higher rates of crime. Remember, crime can occur anywhere, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings when in Cocoa or any other city with a high crime rate.
Which areas in Lake Worth should be avoided due to high crime rates?
In Lake Worth, the northern districts tend to have higher crime rates than the rest of the city. However, it’s important to note that crime can happen anywhere, and it’s always best to stay alert and aware of your surroundings, regardless of where you are in the city.
What makes Panama City a dangerous place despite its popularity as a beach destination?
Panama City’s high crime rates, including murders, armed robberies, and kidnappings, particularly in areas like Curundú, El Chorrillo, and San Miguelito, overshadow its reputation as a popular beach destination. The city’s high poverty rate (21.6%) and economic challenges could contribute to these high crime rates.
Why has there been an increase in crime rates in Lauderhill over the past few years?
Some of the Possible contributing factors include socioeconomic conditions, such as a high poverty rate (24.64%) and unemployment rate (8.1%). Additionally, there could be local factors at play, such as gang activity or drug trade, contributing to the spike in violent crime.
Despite the decrease in crime in Orlando, why has there been a slight increase since 2020?
While the reasons behind the slight increase in crime in Orlando since 2020 aren’t definitively known, it’s possible that economic and social stressors related to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to this uptick. However, the city has made commendable efforts to reduce violent crime and enhance safety for its residents.
What part of Orlando has the highest crime rate?
In Orlando, certain neighborhoods, such as Parramore, Mercy Drive, and parts of MetroWest, are known for higher crime rates. However, it’s important to note that crime rates can change and that the city is actively working to reduce crime and improve safety in all neighborhoods.
What are the most common types of violent crime in Cocoa?
Despite its small population, Cocoa has a high violent crime rate. The most common types of violent crime in Cocoa are burglaries and assaults.
Why does Riviera Beach, despite being close to one of Florida’s safest cities, have a high crime rate?
Riviera Beach’s high crime rate could be attributed to several factors. Socioeconomic conditions such as high poverty rates and unemployment can contribute to high crime rates. Moreover, certain areas of Riviera Beach may be more susceptible to crime than others. Despite its proximity to North Palm Beach, one of Florida’s safest cities, Riviera Beach struggles with crime in many of its other neighborhoods.
In conclusion, the safety of a city significantly influences its livability and attractiveness to both current residents and potential newcomers. Florida, a state rich in cultural diversity and natural beauty, presents a spectrum of safety profiles across its cities. Cities like Lake City, Riviera Beach, Cocoa, and others have unfortunately gained notoriety for their high crime rates. On the other hand, Sweetwater, Naples, Key Biscayne, and other cities have demonstrated that safety and tranquility are achievable even in the most populous state.
It’s crucial to remember that high crime rates are often symptomatic of broader socioeconomic issues, such as unemployment and poverty. As such, effective solutions to crime often involve addressing these root causes through education, job creation, and community support programs.