If you prioritize safety, it’s best to steer clear of Lake City, Riviera Beach, and Cocoa when relocating to Florida. These cities have been identified as the most dangerous in the state, with high rates of violent crime. To ensure your peace of mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the worst places to live in Florida if safety is a top priority. Keep reading to find out which cities to avoid.
Top 9 Most Dangerous Cities in Florida (2023)
- Lake City
- Riviera Beach
- Florida City
- Lake Worth
- Daytona Beach
1. Lake City
Lake City holds the unfortunate title of being the most dangerous city in Florida. With a violent crime rate of 1,547 per 100,000 residents, it is not only the highest in the state but also ranks among the worst in the entire country.
With a population of around 12,500, Lake City may seem like an affordable choice in Florida. However, the reality is that the city has startlingly high rates of poverty and crime. In fact, the chances of experiencing violent crime in Lake City are nearly four times higher than the state average, making it one of the most dangerous cities in Florida in terms of safety.
2. Riviera Beach
Riviera Beach, with a population of 35,000, is considered one of the most perilous cities in Florida due to its remarkably high violent crime rate. The city has the highest murder rate in the state, which is seven times greater than the national average.
Located on the outskirts of the Miami metropolitan area, Riviera Beach is considered one of the worst areas in Florida due to safety concerns. However, Singer Island, within the city, is the least dangerous area. It’s worth noting that Riviera Beach is just a short 10-minute drive from North Palm Beach, one of the safest cities in Florida.
Cocoa, a town in Florida, is considered perilous due to its high rate of violent crime. Despite having a small population of just 19,000, the violent crime rate in Cocoa is alarmingly high at 1,108 per 100,000 residents, which is 2.8 times higher than the national average and 3 times higher than the state average. Burglaries and assaults are the most commonly reported violent crimes in Cocoa.
If you’re searching for a tranquil and secure place to reside in the Sunshine State, it’s best to steer clear of Cocoa. It’s situated on the Space Coast, close to Cape Canaveral.
4. Florida City
Located in South Florida, close to the Everglades and the Florida Keys, Florida City is amongst the most unsafe cities in the sunshine state. With a population of around 12,000, it is considered one of the carjacking hotspots in the United States. Apart from carjacking, the city also records high rates of other violent crimes. Shockingly, residents here have a 1 in 38 chance of being a victim of violent crime.
In the past decade, crime rates in Florida City have been on the rise unlike other cities on this list that have been gradually addressing their crime issues.
5. Lake Worth
Lake Worth, situated a brief drive south of Riviera Beach, is among Florida’s most perilous cities, particularly for violent crime. Its violent crime rate stands at 996 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is over 2.5 times greater than both the state and national averages. Nonetheless, there is some good news as crime rates in Lake Worth have been decreasing in recent years.
It’s advisable to steer clear of the northern neighborhoods in Lake Worth as they tend to be more hazardous than other parts of the city.
6. Daytona Beach
Each year, Daytona Beach pulls in numerous tourists for its famous race track and lively spring break parties. Despite its popularity, however, it is considered one of the most hazardous places to reside in Florida.
In Daytona Beach, the rate of violent crime stands at 1,006 per 100,000 residents, which is nearly three times higher than the state average. This means that the likelihood of residents falling victim to violent crime is significantly higher in Daytona Beach. Additionally, property crime rates in the city are also alarmingly high, at almost 2.5 times the state average.
Lauderhill, Florida, is known for its high crime rates, making it one of the most dangerous cities in the state. Unfortunately, crime rates have been on the rise in Lauderhill in recent years. Shockingly, there were 632 violent crimes reported in 2022 in a city with a population of only 72,000 people. This is a significant increase of over 20% from 2018. The violent crime rate in Lauderhill is alarmingly high at 878 per 100,000 people. This means that residents of Lauderhill are 2.3 times more likely to become victims of violent crimes compared to the state average in Florida.
Orlando stands out as the most violent major city in Florida, with a violent crime rate that exceeds the state average by 2.2 times.
Orlando had witnessed a steady decline in crime rates for decades, plummeting notably since 2002. However, there has been a slight surge in crime since 2020. Despite this, the city has taken noteworthy measures to combat violent crimes and ensure the safety of its residents.
Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, is known for its strict laws against criminal activities. However, it has also gained notoriety for being one of the most unsafe areas in the state, particularly when it comes to violent crimes. Shockingly, in 2021 alone, Tallahassee recorded a staggering 1,516 violent crimes, which translates to 774 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. This alarming statistic makes Tallahassee more than twice as perilous as the state and national average.
The rate of property crimes in Tallahassee is significantly high, with a 1 in 30 chance of falling victim to such crimes.
Most Dangerous Cities in Florida Methodology
We analyzed crime and violent crime rates across Florida to identify the most perilous cities. Our research was based on data from the FBI crime data explorer for crime rates in both 2020 and 2021, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement annual report from 2022.
The crime rates in the most violent cities in Florida are significantly higher, approximately 2.6 times more than the national average.
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