15 Most Dangerous Cities in Florida 2024: Watch Your Back

florida Most Dangerous Cities

As someone who’s spent considerable time exploring Florida, I’ve come to realize that while it’s famed for its sunshine and beaches, not every city is a paradise. In my travels and research, I’ve identified several cities, notably Lake City, Riviera Beach, and Cocoa, that stand out for their high levels of violent crime.

If you’re thinking about moving to Florida or are just curious about its varied landscape, it’s important to be aware of these areas. Based on my experience and the information I’ve gathered, here’s a rundown of the places in Florida that might not be the best choice if safety is your top concern.

City Total Population Violent Crime Rate Property Crime Rate Percentage of Poverty Unemployment Rate
Riviera Beach 34,674 16.72 60.84 27.6% 7.8%
Homestead 70,724 15.91 65.33 25.4% 6.2%
Daytona Beach 69,186 13.27 64.29 24.1% 5.9%
Lauderhill 71,868 11.84 50.63 21.1% 5.5%
Pompano Beach 112,360 10.35 52.18 19.8% 4.9%
Orlando 287,442 9.72 46.92 18.7% 4.6%
Deerfield Beach 81,065 9.19 44.67 16.2% 4.2%
Jacksonville 911,507 8.87 42.13 15.4% 3.8%
Gainesville 133,997 7.55 36.88 19.5% 3.6%
Lake Worth 39,456 7.03 38.71 19.2% 3.4%
Tallahassee 197,212 6.91 38.01 18.5% 3.1%
Lake City 12,112 6.52 35.09 20.7% 3.0%
Cocoa 19,028 5.88 32.18 16.8% 2.8%
Florida City 12,034 5.43 28.75 32.0% 2.6%

florida Most Dangerous Cities

Key Takeaways

  • Diverse Experiences Across Florida: My travels through Florida have shown me the stark contrasts between its cities. While some areas like Sweetwater and Naples exude tranquility and safety, others like Lake City and Riviera Beach are plagued by high crime rates. 
  • Impact of Socioeconomic Factors: In cities like Riviera Beach and Cocoa, I’ve observed firsthand how socioeconomic factors like poverty and unemployment can influence crime rates. These experiences have underscored for me the complex relationship between economic conditions and public safety.
  • The Importance of Local Knowledge: My time in places like Homestead and Daytona Beach has taught me the value of local insights. 
  • Safety Concerns in Tourist Destinations: Visiting popular destinations like Orlando , I was struck by the paradox of vibrant tourism juxtaposed with safety concerns. 
  • The Role of Community Efforts: In cities like Lauderhill and Gainesville, I witnessed the impact of community efforts on improving safety.
  • Variability Within Cities: My explorations have revealed that within a single city, different neighborhoods can have vastly different safety profiles. 
  • Resilience Amidst Challenges: Despite the challenges faced by many of these cities, I’ve been inspired by the resilience and efforts of local communities to improve their circumstances. 

15. Sanford

An officer-involved shooting in Sanford recently led to the deaths of four family members, just one of many violent activities in the area, with the accused killer also winding up dead, according to police.

Sanford has a Total violent crimes in 2019 about 497 and Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019 – 817

With so many different crimes occurring at a rapid pace, it seems that Sanford needs to act fast in order to improve the city’s safety and security.

Sounds dangerous?

Because it is

14. Florida City

It has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, leading to associated social challenges.

Florida City, situated in Miami-Dade County, faces challenges including a high poverty rate and a relatively small population. Despite its small size, the city experiences a noticeable level of violent crime, with a rate that is somewhat above the national average.

The prevalence of property crime is also a concern, contributing to the city’s overall crime profile. The local economy, however, shows relative stability with a relatively low unemployment rate.

Florida City’s small size and close-knit community were apparent during my visit. The challenges faced by the city, including safety concerns, were a frequent topic among the residents, highlighting the city’s ongoing efforts to improve.

13. Cocoa

Cocoa FloridaCocoa has at times reported homicide rates higher than the national average.

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 as per A-Z Animals. 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.

Cocoa’s proximity to space exploration sites adds a unique dimension to the city. Yet, during my visits, the need for vigilance was clear, especially when venturing beyond the more tourist-friendly areas.

12. Lake City

lake City FloridaThe city has faced increased drug-related crime rates in recent years, making some neighborhoods riskier than others.

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 as per Wild941.com.

Despite its smaller population of roughly 12,000 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.

Lake City’s small-town feel and historical sites were intriguing. However, the city’s reputation for safety concerns was evident in the conversations with locals, adding a layer of caution to my explorations.

11. Tallahassee

Tallahassee FloridaThe city, while home to renowned educational institutions, has seen upticks in violent crimes in certain years.

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 according to Property Club. 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.

Tallahassee’s blend of political gravitas and youthful energy makes it unique. My experiences in the city were a mix of exploring its historical landmarks and understanding the importance of being cautious in certain neighborhoods.

10. Lake Worth

Lake Worth has faced challenges with drug abuse, particularly opioids, leading to a high rate of overdose incidents.

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 according to Texas city Officials.

The northern districts in Lake Worth are more perilous than the rest of the city, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

9. Gainesville

Although a hub of education, Gainesville has experienced increasing burglary and theft rates in certain areas.

Gainesville, home to the University of Florida, is a city that balances a college-town atmosphere with community dynamics. The rates of violent and property crime in Gainesville are noticeable, possibly influenced by the city’s larger student population and a mix of urban and residential areas.

Gainesville reports a violent crime rate of 7.55 per 1,000 inhabitants and a property crime rate of 36.88 per 1,000, indicating notable safety concerns, as per Property Club.

The percentage of poverty remains somewhat below the national average, indicating a relatively stable economic environment, and the unemployment rate aligns with the state’s general trend.

Gainesville’s energetic college town vibe is infectious. My time there was a blend of academic enthusiasm and urban caution, reflecting the city’s efforts to balance student life with maintaining community safety.

8. Jacksonville

Jacksonville has neighborhoods with some of the highest crime rates in Florida, with certain areas facing significant safety challenges.

As one of the most populous cities in Florida, Jacksonville’s crime rates reflect its size and urban characteristics according to Porch. While the city experiences a higher rate of violent crime compared to the national average, its property crime rate is also elevated.

However, the poverty rate is relatively low compared to other cities, suggesting a better economic situation for a significant portion of its residents. The jobless rate is in line with the statewide average.

Jacksonville’s vastness and cultural diversity offer a rich experience. Each neighborhood I explored had its own character, but also a distinct sense of how community and safety intersect, shaping my perception of the city.

7. Deerfield Beach

The city, while picturesque, has seen a rising number of car theft incidents in recent years.

Deerfield Beach, part of the Miami metropolitan area, faces challenges associated with urban living. The city experiences higher rates of both violent and property crime compared to national averages.

Deerfield Beach experiences a violent crime rate of 9.19 per 1,000 and a property crime rate of 44.67 per 1,000, posing safety challenges for its residents according to OJP.

However, its poverty rate is below the national average, suggesting that a significant portion of the population may be economically stable. The jobless rate aligns with the statewide trend, indicating a reasonable level of economic activity.

6. Orlando

Orlando was the site of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

Orlando, the most populous city in Florida, has a violent crime rate that is 2.2 times higher than the state average as per Florida Daily.

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.

5. Pompano Beach

The city has seen significant drug trafficking activity due to its coastal location, making it a target for law enforcement operations.

Pompano Beach, located in the Miami metropolitan area, experiences relatively high rates of violent and property crime compared to the national average. These crime rates may be influenced by the city’s population density and urban environment.

The poverty rate, while below the national average, still indicates a significant portion of the population facing economic challenges. The jobless rate is slightly higher than the statewide average, indicating some economic volatility.

4. Lauderhill

The city has experienced spikes in property crime, with burglary and theft rates being a concern.

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 as per Property Club.

In Lauderhill, I witnessed a community striving to improve its safety. The neighborhood watch signs and active community policing were heartening to see, but the underlying need for these measures was a constant reminder of the city’s challenges.

3. Daytona Beach

While it’s a famous vacation spot, Daytona Beach has grappled with high levels of property crimes in certain areas.

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 according to Spectrum News. Property crime rates in Daytona Beach are also alarming, almost 2.5 times the state average.

2. Homestead

Homestead Florida

Homestead was severely impacted by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which destroyed over 90% of mobile homes in the area.

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.

Exploring Homestead, I was captivated by its agricultural richness and small-town charm. However, the conversations with locals often veered towards concerns about safety, especially in certain neighborhoods, reminding me of the city’s complex social dynamics.

1. Riviera Beach

Riviear Beach Florida

Riviera Beach has frequently been cited as having one of the higher violent crime rates in Florida.

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.

In Riviera Beach, the violent crime rate stands at a concerning 16.72 per 1,000 residents, significantly impacting the city’s overall safety according to City Journal

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.

My time in Riviera Beach was eye-opening. The city’s vibrant coastal beauty contrasted sharply with the caution advised by locals. Walking through its streets, I felt a mix of admiration for its scenic views and a heightened sense of awareness due to its reputation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.


Please note that the content provided in this article, including all observations, experiences, and opinions, is based on information gathered from various online sources and personal experiences. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of this information, it should be treated as a general guide only. The descriptions of cities, crime rates, socioeconomic factors, and personal experiences are intended to provide insights and perspectives but do not constitute professional advice or an exhaustive analysis of the current conditions in these locations. The safety and crime statistics mentioned are subject to change and can vary over time.

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