In the year 2000, Duval County held the title of "The Murder Capital of Florida"—with Jacksonville at its center—and did so for 11 years. Since then, crime has subsided making Jacksonville surrender this infamous title. That said—it's still not a very safe place to visit. With a rate of 44 crimes per 1,000 residents, the state's largest city still has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to communities of all sizes. In fact, your chance of falling victim to either a violent crime or a property crime in Jacksonville is one in 23. So if you're traveling to Florida, you may want to steer clear of this city and opt to visit the other 82 percent of Florida communities that are safer.
Crime Rate in Jacksonville
When you compare Jacksonville to other major U.S. cities of the same size, the crime rate actually normalizes and hovers near average. (This is the good news.) However, Jacksonville still ranks above average for its crime rate both nationwide and in Florida, itself. And, the risk of violent crime and property crime actually ranks higher in Jacksonville than the national average.
In Jacksonville, the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. Tracked violent offenses included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon. According to NeighborhoodScout's analysis of FBI-reported crime data, the chance of becoming a victim of one of these crimes in Jacksonville is one in 152.
Property crimes range from burglary, larceny over 50 dollars, motor vehicle theft, and arson. And your chance of becoming a victim is one in 27, which comes in at a rate of 37 per one thousand people. The chance of having your car stolen in Jacksonville—either the one you own or a rental—is relatively high, also, at a rate of one in 367.
While Jacksonville was actually considered "The Murder Capital of Florida" at one time, this was due to its sheer size. Larger cities tend to be more crime-ridden than smaller cities, and Jacksonville—being the largest in Florida, both in population and land area—took the cake.
Other Dangerous Cities in Florida
According to FBI data, today, the most dangerous city in Florida is Florida City, which is just south of Homestead in Southern Florida. It is the last city you pass through before entering the Florida Keys. Residents in Florida City have a one in 11 chance of succumbing to theft or vandalism. The risk of violent crime is only slightly better at one in 31. Odds are, if you have not had your life threatened in this city, then your neighbor probably has.
Other Florida cities that make the "most dangerous" list include (in order from most to least dangerous): Cocoa, Lake City, Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, Opa-Locka, Panama City Beach, Lake Park, Lake Worth, and Orlando.
But should you cancel your travel plans to the Magic City (Miami) or skip the Daytona 500 because of this? Probably not. Just use common sense when traveling to any metropolitan city, and that should be all you need to stay safe.