According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida's total crime rate has gone down by more than 60% since 1998.
- Bottom line: It has never been safer to live in Florida than it is right now.
Each year around October, the FBI releases crime data for the previous year for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA's) in the United States, including the 22 MSA's in Florida.
I thought it would be interesting to crunch their numbers and see which places in Florida may actually be the safest to live and retire in. The numbers below are from 2020 data, which was released in late September 2021.
The FBI data is broken down into 9 different categories:
- Violent crime
- Murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Aggravated assault
- Property Crime
- Motor vehicle theft
The data is most easily digested when distilled into a “Rate per 100,000 inhabitants”.
So, to find the safest places to live and retire in Florida, we simply have to look at the areas with the lowest number of crime incidents (rate) per 100,000 inhabitants.
Before we get to the numbers though, keep in mind that a seemingly high crime rate for one M.S.A. does not mean the entire area is unsafe.
I've lived in areas #11 and #16 almost my entire life, and taken as a whole, I would certainly not consider them unsafe.
Crime tends to occur most frequently in the more densely populated areas, and most of the communities you'll be looking at for retirement are outside of those areas.
I think what you’ll find that most 55+ communities are just as safe (or even safer due to lower populations) than even the “safest” M.S.A.’s as a whole.
For a number of reasons, the FBI cautions against using their data to compile rankings, so try not to consider what follows as “rankings” per se.
Try to look at it as “I've just put them in order for you to make them easier to read”. 😉
|Metropolitan Statistical Area||Crimes Per 100,000 Inhabitants||Y-O-Y Change|
|1.||The Villages, FL M.S.A.||1,817||-272|
|2.||Punta Gorda, FL M.S.A.||2,025||-628|
|3.||Naples-Marco Island, FL M.S.A.||2,392||-323|
|4.||Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL M.S.A.||2,590||-491|
|5.||Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL M.S.A.||2,596||-235|
|6.||Port St. Lucie, FL M.S.A.||2,675||-346|
|7.||Homosassa Springs, FL M.S.A.||3,106||-181|
|8.||Crestview-Fort Walton-Beach-Destin, FL M.S.A.||3,245||-721|
|9.||Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL M.S.A.||3,285||-560|
|10.||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL M.S.A.||3,356||-600|
|11.||Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL M.S.A.||3,580||-669|
|12.||North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL M.S.A.||3,686||-319|
|13.||Sebring-Avon Park, FL M.S.A.||4,092||-875|
|14.||Ocala, FL M.S.A.||4,107||-544|
|15.||Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL M.S.A.||4,267||-568|
|16.||Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL M.S.A.||4,577||-1083|
|17.||Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL M.S.A.||4,742||-433|
|18.||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL M.S.A.||5,218||-998|
|19.||Jacksonville, FL M.S.A.||5,305||-655|
|20.||Tallahassee, FL M.S.A.||5,564||-1,352|
|21.||Gainesville, FL M.S.A.||6,001||-291|
|22.||Panama City, FL M.S.A.||6,260||-762|
Year over year, the crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants went down in every M.S.A. You can probably chalk much of that up to the fact that most of us were locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic for a big chunk of 2020.
“Florida's Friendliest Hometown” is Also the Safest
The Villages calls itself “Florida's Friendliest Hometown” and I'm not surprised at all to see that The Villages, FL M.S.A came out on top.
While The Villages M.S.A. does include some areas that are not within The Villages retirement community, most of it is comprised of 55+ residents peacefully enjoying the good life.
While there have been some high profile crimes in The Villages over the last decade, most of the crimes that take place there involve DUI's, domestic disturbances, and theft.
Latitude Margaritaville is probably the second most popular retirement community this year, and the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL M.S.A., where it is located had a healthy drop of 669 crimes vs 2019.
Thoughts or Comments?
Leave a reply in the comment section down below.
Thank you for the information 😊
What about Cities in Palm Beach County, like Boynton Beach, Delray, Boca Raton, etc.?
Ryan Erisman says
These roll up into the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area (M.S.A.).
But, you can also look at what’s called the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL Metropolitan District (M.D.) and the rate there per 100k inhabitants is 4,457 which, when compared to the M.S.A.’s on this list, would put it between the 15th and 16th spots.
Ronald Martin says
How about Zero crime? Sick of all the crime everywhere.
Jack S. says
I think Arlington Ridge Retirement Community in Leesburg is one of the safest in Florida.
Thx for taking the time to document this for us! 👍
Great info, thank you!
Great information! Safety is always a top factor when moving. Thanks!
James parke says
Thanks for your efforts and report 😉
suzanne jahng says
Safety is the first concern in deciding retirement place
Good to know. It is one of the important thing to be considered by anyone that is looking to relocate. Thanks!!!
Nancy Bitter says
Great info….. moving to one of these areas
thought clearwater was one of the safest
Paul Bozentka says
Clearwater is #9 – they are part of Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater, MSA
Love that area.
Janet Piner says
What about 55+ communities in Ocala, Fl, like On Top of the World?
Ryan Erisman says
I think you’ll find that most 55+ communities like OTOTW are as safe (or even safer due to lower populations) than even the “safest” M.S.A.’s as a whole. Again, as mentioned in the article, they tend to be located in areas where less crime occurs.
Thomas Fox says
Great news. We’re looking to move to the areas of Port Orange to Ormond Beach. Glad to see the improvement.