When you think of Florida, you probably think of beautiful beaches and family attractions, but just like every other place, the Sunshine State has its fair share of crime. We looked at NeighborhoodScout’s 2016 list of the
100 most dangerous cities in the U.S., and Florida had 12 cities make the list. (That’s a lot.)
To make the list, researchers dug through data reported to the FBI from more than 18,000 relevant reporting agencies on cities in the U.S. with at least 25,000 people. Keep in mind that they did not just compare the number of crimes. They factored in the size of the city as well, to give potential visitors an idea of the actual likelihood of becoming a victim of a violent crime.
For the third year in a row, Homestead was named Florida's most dangerous city. The fact that it's a mid-sized city was probably a factor in its placement on the list. Your chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Homestead is 1 in 76. Even though visitors should be cautious, there are still plenty of reasons to visit this unique city, including its historic buildings and prime location near two of Florida's best parks: Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.
2. Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, home of the Daytona 500 and the Daytona Beach Pier, has long been a popular tourist spot in Florida, so it is somewhat disturbing how high it ranks on the list. The rate of violent crimes per 1,000 residents is more than twice as high as the rest of Florida and three times that of the national average.
3. Riveria Beach
Riviera Beach has fewer than 34,000 people, which may explain why it's so high in the rankings. Visitors have a 1 in 84 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
4. Lake Worth
Lake Worth is the annual host of the largest street painting festival in the country, which is a must-see for art lovers. Unfortunately, according to NeighborhoodScout's crime index, which takes into account violent and property crimes, 97% of U.S. cities are safer than Lake Worth.
5. Fort Myers
Fort Myers had 776 reported violent crimes last year, giving it a crime rate twice as high as the rest of Florida.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of good reasons to visit this city, including the winter estates of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
6. Fort Pierce
The Sunrise City is the county seat of St. Lucie County. There is a 1 in 93 chance that a visitor will become a victim of a violent crime in Fort Pierce.
Miami has long been beloved by the rich and famous. Like any big city, it has plenty of crime, too. 96% of cities in the U.S. are safer than Miami. These statistics are good to know, but don't let them deter you from visiting. Take extra precautions, and you can still enjoy all of the history, art, cuisine, and culture Miami has to offer.
8. Miami Beach
Miami Beach had a startling 897 violent crimes last year, and you would be hard pressed to find a less safe city in the U.S. It's really a shame, because this city is home to the stunning Art Deco Historic District, which is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world. You can still visit, of course, but stay vigilant.
It seems kind of depressing that our state's capital would make this list, but Tallahasee had an alarming 1,790 violent crimes (1,255 were aggravated assault) last year. Hopefully our capital and home to one of our top universities will see a drop in crime soon.
10. North Miami
This city's size of around 61,000 probably explains its ranking, because the number of violent crimes here was 580 last year. 95% of other cities in the country are safer than North Miami. North Miami is home to an impressive Museum of Contemporary Art and Oleta River State Park.
11. Panama City
Panama City is one of only a few Florida cities on this list that were not on the list last year. Though property crime is much worse than violent crime in this city, its relatively small size probably explains its spot on the list. Visitors to Panama City have a 1 in 110 chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime.
This city, known as the home of our theme parks and family destinations, actually has pretty upsetting crime rates. There were 2,374 violent crimes in Orlando last year, and 98% of other cities in the U.S. are safer than Orlando. This isn't going to stop us from visiting the most magical place on Earth, but it's good to be aware of your surroundings.