In this article, we will be taking a look at the 15 most dangerous cities in Florida. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 most dangerous cities in Florida.
The U.S. has a problem and that problem is violence. An outlier among developed countries, lax gun controls due to second amendment supporters has resulted in ever-increasing crimes and violence, with mass shootings being a particularly concerning aspect, thanks to the easy availability of assault and semi-assault rifles. One study showed that US has over 70% of mass shootings in the developed world, an astounding statistic. Even more stunning is the fact that there have been more mass shootings (at least four people killed or injured) than days in 2023 in the U.S., and an average of one mass killing (at least four people killed) a week, which if it continues, will set a new record by some distance.
According to BMJ, there's a higher rate of mass shootings in states which have more relaxed gun laws, and the gap is continuing to widen. Florida, one of the biggest states in the country (if all U.S. states were countries, Florida would be the 18th largest economy in the world), has seen the 4th highest number of mass shootings in the country. According to data by Gun Violence Archive, Florida contributed almost 7% of the total mass shootings in the country, killing over 25 people.
In addition to increasing risks regarding one's safety, these crimes are unsurprisingly terrible for business, which isn't good news for the biggest companies in Florida, including AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN), Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (NYSE:FNF) and Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI). There have been numerous studies which have suggested that the fear of becoming victims results in consumers, entrepreneurs and workers changing their ways of working, and a study conducted in 2019 showed that in areas with higher levels of crime, business relocation and business failure followed. According to a study in the Journal of Urban Economics, "In addition, the main results suggest that the crime effect on consumer visits is large and significant for incidents that occur in public spaces, whereas crimes that occur within residences do not have a statistically significant effect. This provides additional evidence that unobserved factors are not driving the association between crime and consumers visits found by us. By exploring variation in crime effects we find that crime has a negative effect on consumers in the extensive margin (number of visits and number of customers), but we do not find sizable effects in the intensive margin (venue dwell time). Our results also provide evidence that night visits are more sensitive to changes in crime than day time visits. Furthermore, we find that consumers respond to salient crimes in low crime neighborhoods and severe crimes in high crime neighborhoods. While in areas where criminal activity is uptrending consumers react to crimes committed outdoor, in neighborhoods facing crime decline consumers are only sensitive to crimes happening at establishments."
Even though Florida is one of the most-preferred destination for retirees, and some of the best places to live in Florida are also among the most dangerous cities in Florida, which could have severe repercussions on the state's income which is derived from retirees moving to spend their wealth after retirement. This is a major concern for the state as retirees who consider moving to the state generally have money to spend in spades and boost what is already a huge economy. If crime continues to remain rampant in the state, these retirees may think of moving elsewhere and take their fortunes with them, which can be beneficial for other states but have an adverse impact on Florida, including some of Florida's most dangerous cities. In response, many startups are popping up in the state, with their mission being an improvement in public safety. Recently, a Fort Myers company called Axon demonstrated its latest technology that would help the city's police department fight crime. Some of the tech that the company provides includes license plate readers and body cameras, while also showing virtual reality scenarios that would help police tackle mental health crises, by roleplaying possible scenarios and methods to tackle them. Other public safety moves include a ban on drones from a foreign country of concern, after an alarm raised by public safety companies in the state.
To determine the most dangerous cities in Florida, we obtained statistics from the FBI's official website, considering only violent crimes as they are a better indicator of danger in a city. We checked both the total crimes in a city and per 100,000 people, assigning 70% weightage to the latter and 30% to the former. So let's now take a look at the cities where crime needs to be brought under control imminently, starting with:
Total violent crimes in 2019: 497
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 817
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. 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.
14. Boynton Beach
Total violent crimes in 2019: 566
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 713
While not a violent crime, an illegal gambling den was recently busted by the Florida Gaming Control Commission in a bid to reduce crime in the city. Meanwhile, a rolling shootout between two drivers resulted in a man being caught in the crossfire and getting killed.
Total violent crimes in 2019: 579
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 692
ESPN Southwest Florida recently counted Melbourne among the most dangerous cities in Florida, while the downtown area of the city recently saw a shooting that left two people in critical condition and an additional person injured.
12. Daytona Beach
Total violent crimes in 2019: 794
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 1,137
With one of the highest crime rates in America, Daytona Beach is easily among the most dangerous cities in Florida.
11. West Palm Beach
Total violent crimes in 2019: 859
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 762
Gang operations have led to a higher level of crimes in West Palm Beach, but a recent major organized crime bust has recently resulted in 29 arrests, and hopefully, a major reduction in crime.
10. Miami Beach
Total violent crimes in 2019: 852
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 924
One of the reasons Miami Beach has seen higher crime is because of crowds attracted in spring break, which is why the city's mayor is considering a spring break ban in a bid to reduce Miami Beach's tag of being one of the most dangerous cities in Florida.
Total violent crimes in 2019: 928
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 687
In a bid to combat crime in the city, Gainesville's police chief requires his officers to enforce even small traffic violations in order to combat crime, while its city commission recently approved the purchase of technology which will allow it to investigate gun crimes further.
8. Pompano Beach
Total violent crimes in 2019: 900
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 793
Pompano Beach is home to some of the clearest and warmest waters in the entire world, and also some of the highest crime in the state of Florida. Recently, the city's community held a meeting in a bid to end gun violence after 2 people were murdered in a store shooting.
7. Fort Lauderdale
Total violent crimes in 2019: 1,098
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 594
A recent fatal shooting in Fort Lauderdale resulted in the family and Crime Stoppers offering a $50,000 reward for any information. According to Forbes, while Fort Lauderdale may be a very popular tourist destination, it is also one of the most dangerous cities not just in Florida, but the entire country.
Total violent crimes in 2019: 1,622
Violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2019: 405
Being one of the most dangerous cities in Florida has resulted in business owners saying that high levels of crime in the city could result in them changing their plans. Based on crime levels, which has actually fallen in recent years, even though new businesses are establishing themselves in areas such as west Main Street, other businesses are not sure if crime in the area is worth working there. One person who works there said about shootings that took place over the weekend "Police actually had to unscrew the panels to get the bullets and the casings out. It’s scary because my desk is about five feet from this, and that could have easily been in the path walking by casually and been there.”
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Disclosure: None. 15 most dangerous cities in Florida is originally published at Insider Monkey.