Visiting the Sunshine State soon and wondering – is Florida Safe?
Whether or not Florida is a safe place for travelers has been a hot topic of debate. With its sunny beaches, vibrant cities, and world-famous attractions, it’s no surprise that the Sunshine State remains a popular destination.
But with crime rates on the rise in some areas along with frequent bad publicity in the news, many visitors might be concerned about their safety while traveling here.
We asked our fellow travel-obsessed friend, Marissa, from Sunset Chasing Blonde to give us the local scoop.
This article will cover an overview of the current crime rates in a few of the most popular cities as well as other dangers to look out for (like hurricanes). It’ll also highlight some of the safest places to live or visit in the state.
Is Florida Safe to Visit?
Florida is generally considered a safe place to visit. However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and read about the cities or neighborhoods you visit.
Here are some frequently visited Florida cities and a safety overview for each to help plan your trip.
FOR CONTEXT: In these next few sections, violent crime includes crimes like robbery, assault, and murder. Property crime includes the likes of theft, burglary, or motor vehicle theft.
Is Orlando safe?
One of the most popular destinations in Florida, Orlando is best known for its iconic theme parks such as Disney World and Universal. It’s even known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World.”
But is Orlando safe?
According to Neighborhood Scout, Orlando is safer than 4% of US cities, with a 1 in 121 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. If you compare this to Florida’s average crime rate of about 1 in 255, you can see it’s about double the odds of the rest of Florida.
Orlando’s property crime rate hangs at a 1 in 28 chance of becoming a victim. Florida’s property crime rate is 1 in 57, so again, you can see that Orlando is almost double the crime rate of Florida on average.
All of that to say, the city of Orlando is a generally safe place to visit, but it does depend on where you go. A good practice is to try and stick to the more touristy and well-populated areas and avoid walking alone at night.
➡️ Population: Around 309,154
➡️ Violent Crime Rate: 1 in 121 (8.26 per 1,000 residents)
➡️ Property Crime Rate: 1 in 28 (35.39 per 1,000 residents)
Is Kissimmee safe?
Kissimmee, Florida isn’t a city you hear about as often as the likes of Orlando or Miami, but this town sits about 20 miles south of Orlando in Central Florida.
Kissimmee is located on the shore of Lake Toho and offers a host of popular water activities. It also holds the Monument of States, a monument built as a symbol of American unity after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
But what you really want to know right now is this: is Kissimmee safe? Overall, the answer here is yes but, as with any city, crime still exists and you have to exercise caution.
Neighborhood Scout says that Kissimmee is safer than 15% of US Cities. The violent crime rate is a 1 in 241 chance, which is about level with the state of Florida’s average, at 1 in 255. For comparison, the US property crime rate is around 1 in 273, so Kissimmee is sitting just slightly under that.
The property crime in Kissimmee is at a 1 in 48 chance, which is again around the Florida average of 1 in 57. The US average property crime rate is around 1 in 52, which leads to Kissimmee being slightly below the average crime rate in the country.
So overall, Kissimmee is a relatively safe spot with average crime levels. As always, be alert and cautious where necessary, but it is considered a safe place to visit.
➡️ Population: 79,436
➡️ Violent Crime Rate: 1 in 241 (4.14 per 1,000 residents)
➡️ Property Crime Rate: 1 in 48 (20.66 per 1,000 residents)
Is Miami Beach safe?
One of the most popular cities in Florida is Miami Beach, which boasts scenic resorts, vibrant nightlife, ritzy shopping, palm-lined streets, and even celebrity sightings. South Beach is one of the most popular neighborhoods and its home to some of the best beaches in all of Florida.
So with all of that fun and excitement, you might be wondering, is Miami Beach safe to visit?
The short answer is yes, but it’s also an “it depends” kind of yes. Generally, the area is safe to visit and walk around (just don’t walk on the beaches at night). However, there are definitely areas to avoid as well as some things to know before visiting. Miami Beach is known for its crime and generally makes the list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the US.
So what do the numbers look like? For violent crimes, Miami Beach sits around 1 in 127, while the Florida average is 1 in 255. Property crime is also high in Miami Beach with a rate of 1 in 17 which is almost three times higher than both the Florida average of 1 in 57 and the US national average of 1 in 52.
Should you stay away from Miami Beach with all of these statistics pointing to how dangerous the city can be? No, of course not! Miami Beach is a popular place and will likely continue to be long into the future. Just do your research and avoid walking alone at night and in unfamiliar areas to protect yourself.
➡️ Population: 80,671
➡️ Violent Crime Rate: 1 in 127 (7.88 per 1,000 residents)
➡️ Property Crime Rate: 1 in 17 (59.41 per 1,000 residents)
Is Florida Safe To Live In?
Yes! Florida is a great place to live, with world-class beaches, beautiful cities and plenty of sunshine. While there are some unique safety hazards in Florida to be aware of, it’s still a great place to call home.
Florida ranks high on the list of the safest states in the US. According to Real Estate US News, many cities in the state are listed in the top 25 safest places to live in 2021-2022. So if you’re looking for a safe place to live, Florida is a great option!
There are still some risks you should be aware of when thinking about moving to the Sunshine State. Hurricane season is a major concern, and living close to the coast means you’ll have to be prepared for extreme weather conditions as well as flooding.
Alligators and poisonous snakes are also common in pretty much every body of water here. If you’re swimming, fishing or bringing children or pets near the water, you’ll need to be extra cautious.
Florida is also the third-highest state for fatal car accidents, ranking behind only Texas and California. It’s also the number one state for pedestrian deaths, so use caution when walking or cycling on the roads.
Overall, Florida is a safe (and sunny) place to live, with plenty of incredible cities to choose from. Just make sure you factor in these safety hazards before choosing the Sunshine State as your home base!
Safest Places in Florida
The above sections outlined some of the more dangerous areas of Florida. Now it’s time to talk about a few of the safest places!
Here’s a short list of the current safest places in Florida, what makes them a great place to live or visit, and finally what you can do nearby.
Niceville, Florida is a charming city located on the Emerald Coast in Okaloosa County (in the Panhandle), just north of Destin’s beautiful beaches. It’s the best of both worlds since you get a small-town feel while being close to a top vacation spot in Florida.
Niceville is safer than 85% of U.S. cities, offering visitors and residents above-average safety. According to statistics, the chance of becoming a victim of either violent crime or property crime in Niceville is 1 in 1772 and 1 in 347, respectively.
This makes it the perfect place for both families and young professionals. Not only does Niceville offer safety, but also plenty to do! The nearby beautiful green waters are perfect for swimming, searching for dolphins, fishing, paddle boarding, boating, and much more.
Plus, with nearby Destin offering fantastic shopping, nightlife and fun attractions like Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park, it’s a great spot for all tastes.
Sanibel Island, located off the coast of Southwest Florida, is known for its picture perfect white-sand beaches, diverse wildlife, and world-famous shelling. With a 74 livability score and a lower-than-average crime rate, Sanibel is a great place to explore and enjoy.
Sanibel is also one of the safest cities to visit or live in Florida. In 2019, Sanibel had only a 1 in 3231 chance of becoming a victim to violent crime and a 1 in 175 chance of becoming a victim to property crime. These statistics make Sanibel safer than 70% of cities in the U.S.!
The island has a unique east-west orientation which lends itself to plenty of wide, sandy beaches with rare shells. It’s also a nature lover’s heaven (and a haven for wildlife) where you can observe wildlife in their natural habitat at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.
Located in southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast, Naples is a small city of around 20,000 people with an exceptional livability score of 79.
Home to high-end shopping, world-class arts and culture, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Naples has become one of the top destinations for tourists and residents alike.
But beyond its stunning beauty lies something even more important – safety. With violent crime rates at a 1 in 842 chance of becoming a victim along with property crime rates at a 1 in 72 chance, Naples is considered one of the safest cities in America.
So why else should you consider making this paradise home or the perfect vacation spot? There are so many things to do from the Naples Zoo to plenty of mangrove forests for kayaking and paddleboarding. Plus, you’re only a stone’s throw away from nearby Marco Island and Everglades National Park.
Is Florida Dangerous?
Florida makes its way into the news rather often these days. With natural disasters like hurricanes sweeping through to the infamous “Florida man” doing this or that. So, with all of that news coverage, is Florida dangerous? Let’s find out.
Hurricanes & Natural Disasters
Florida is no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms, having experienced more than 120 of the almost 300-something hurricanes that have hit the United States since 1851. Hurricane season is certainly a reality for many Floridians and runs from June 1 to November 30.
Storm surges and flooding usually follow bad storms. The floods can sometimes be more devastating than the storm itself! With much of Florida sitting at sea level, flooding is a major concern for many Floridians and can even cause property damage and loss.
FUN FACT: Florida is also known as the lightning capital of the U.S., with some cities having as many thunderstorms as 100 days per year!
The state also experiences tornadoes and waterspouts. Florida experiences an average of 66 tornadoes per year. And while waterspouts don’t typically cause as much destruction as their land counterparts, they can still be devastating to residents near the coastline.
All in all, Florida is no stranger to natural disasters and these should be taken seriously by both residents and visitors alike. Stay informed and heed all warnings issued by authorities.
Crime Rate & Gun Violence
Crime in Florida has been trending downwards within the past year, with the crime rate down 8.3% (2021 from 2020).
This decrease is reflected in both violent and property crimes, with violent crime reported at a rate of 3.92 per 1,000 residents (1 in 255) and property crime at a rate of 17.46 per 1,000 residents (1 in 57).
While it’s an (extremely) hot-button issue of debate, general gun violence in Florida has statistically trended lower in many areas than the national averages. Regardless, this issue has remained a top concern for decades with many mass shootings and tragedies that have occured in the state.
In an average year, there are 2,849 deaths and 5,267 injuries due to firearms. The rate of gun deaths in Florida increased 15% from 2011 to 2020 compared to 33% nationwide. Furthermore, the rate of gun homicides is 40% higher than it was ten years ago compared to 70% nationally.
While these statistics might seem a little unnerving, most gun violence is centered in specific cities and areas. Some of the counties with the highest gun rates include Gilchrist County, Dixie County, and Taylor County.
Overall, most areas in Florida are generally safe to visit, but it’s important to do your research before visiting certain cities or neighborhoods.
Another hazard to address for Florida is the Zika Virus. While there is no current transmission of the virus in the U.S., it’s important to still be aware of the risks.
The Zika virus is an illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus. Having a tropical climate, Florida is home to many insects, including mosquitoes, that can quickly spread diseases like Zika.
THE BACK STORY: If you’re not familiar with Zika, here’s a quick recap. In 2016, the first reported Zika cases in the U.S. occurred in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. From there, it spread to other parts of the country, including Florida.
By the end of 2016, there were 1,456 reported cases of the Zika virus in Florida. Since then, the number of confirmed Zika cases steadily decreased, and as of 2017, there were no reported cases in the state.
Even though there is no current transmission of the virus in the U.S., it’s still a good practice to protect yourself from mosquito bites while in Florida. These bites can spread many other diseases. Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants and don’t forget bug repellent to reduce your risk.
Safety Tips When Traveling to Florida
With all of the different dangers and safety hazards in Florida, you might be a little overwhelmed right now. Here are some general safety tips when traveling to Florida that can put your mind at ease and help you stay safe.
✅ Don’t underestimate the intensity of the sun
Florida is known for its beautiful weather and beaches, but it’s important to remember that the sun can be incredibly strong year round.
Make sure to always wear sunscreen and protective clothing when spending time outdoors and stay well-hydrated!
✅ Don’t approach wild animals
It might seem obvious but it’s important to remember not to approach wild animals while in Florida. Poisonous snakes and wildlife exist throughout the state, and it’s often best to admire them from a distance.
✅ Remember that bodies of water are shared with alligators
Florida is home to a variety of wildlife, including alligators. Any time you’re near a body of water, it’s important to remember that alligators are most likely present.
It’s best that you don’t swim in the water here – leave that for the beaches. If you see an alligator, it’s best to stay back and give it plenty of space.
✅ Avoid walking alone at night
This is a general rule of thumb for anywhere you visit, but it’s especially important to be vigilant while walking around at night in Florida. Stick to well-lit areas and try not to walk alone if possible.
✅ Research the area and plan ahead
It’s always a good idea to research an area before you visit. That way, you can get a good sense of what areas should be avoided.
For example, some areas of Miami or Miami Beach are completely okay to visit, while there are often nearby areas known for their high crime rates.
Make sure you’re aware of these areas and include this in your research before booking where you stay.
✅ Know the deadly creatures that live in Florida
Florida is home to many poisonous or deadly creatures. It’s important to be aware of them and their habitats before you visit.
Examples include the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the Florida panther, and the coral snake. There’s also smaller poisonous creatures like the black or brown widow spider as well as stingrays found in the ocean.
✅ Be careful of rip currents in the ocean
Florida’s coastline can be incredibly dangerous, and it’s important to remember that rip currents are present near the shore.
Make sure you always swim in places where lifeguards are present, and be aware of the flags that indicate if the current is strong or not.
✅ Be alert for changes in weather
Florida weather can change pretty quickly. It’s important to pay attention to the forecast and be sure you’re prepared for any sudden changes.
If it’s thundering outside, find shelter indoors away from a window to avoid lightning strikes. If a hurricane is set to come through, try and reschedule your trip if possible.
The Wrap-Up: Is Florida Safe?
While Florida seems to find its way into the spotlight for a variety of reasons, both good and bad, it’s generally a very safe state to visit. While it’s an incredible place to visit and live, it’s also important to remember that there are some safety hazards you should be aware of.
To recap the general dangers of Florida- remember to research the area or city before visiting, avoid alligators and other dangerous wildlife, wear sunscreen and the right clothing, and be alert for sudden weather changes.
While there are areas and cities that are more dangerous than others, most areas in Florida are incredibly safe to visit or live!
So there you have it – is Florida Safe? Yes! Florida is generally safe and a great place to travel to and maybe even live. So what are you waiting for? Get packing because it’s time to explore one of America’s most beautiful states (safely, of course)!