20 Best and Worst Places To Live in Florida

Florida was known for its high crime rates in the past decades, but like most places in the United States, the state is getting safer in recent years. Even though South Florida seems to have had less crime, Jacksonville and Tampa equally experienced a decline in the crime rates. As such, the city law enforcement employees have applauded the trend, which is quite welcoming as the higher economic cost of crime negatively affects the city’s budget.

To consider the best and worst cities to live in Florida, certain factors have to be determined. They include the dollar value for crimes used to calculate the total economic cost of crime and the economic cost of crime per capita. For instance, the monetary value for murder is $10.9 million, while theft is $4,300. In 2017 and 2018, Florida reportedly spent an estimated societal cost of $332 million in handling five mass shootings that took place in some of its cities, including Parkland (shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School) and Jacksonville (killings at the 2018 video game tournament).

Although the crime rate has recently plummeted in Florida, in 2018, the state’s total cost of crime was estimated at $10.4 billion. As such, Florida’s level of productivity was impeded by the economic losses associated with criminal activities. From year to year, the safest places in the state strife to remain safe, and the cities with high crime rates struggle to overcome their safety challenges. Based on the economic cost of crime per capita, here’s our guide to Florida’s best and worst cities.

Top 10 Best Places To Live in Florida

10. Winter Springs

  • Population: 37,854
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $14.4 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $389

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Winter Springs, a city located in Seminole County, Florida, has a population of 37,854. With an economic cost of crime per capita of $389, the city is ranked as the 10th best city in Florida. Based on AreaVibes statistics, a total number of crimes of 295 were reported in Winter Springs in the year 2019. They include robbery (4), vehicle theft (27), assault (30), and burglary (65). Thus, the crime rates in the city are 69 percent lower than the national average and the chance of becoming a victim of crime in Winter Springs is 1 in 129.

The city is safer than 75 percent of cities in the US. In the year 2019, the property crime rate in the city was 9.7 per 1,000 people. It decreased to 7.4 per 1,000 people in the next year. Also, the violent crime rate in Winter Springs in 2020 was 1.5 per 1,000 persons and 1.3 per 1,000 persons in the previous year. The city’s median income for a family is $70,417. In 2011, Winter Springs was rated by Money Magazine as the 97th best place to reside in the US. It has several private schools and seven public schools within its city borders.

9. Pembroke Pines 

  • Population: 174,641
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $66.7 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $386

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Pembroke Pines is located in southern Broward County, Florida, and has an estimated population of 174,641. Hence, it is the 11th most populous city in the state and the principal city of the Miami metropolitan area. The median income for a family in Pembroke Pines is estimated at $66,816. The city’s economic cost per capita is $386. It is safer than 45 percent of the cities in the United States. In Pembroke Pines, the chance of becoming a victim of crime is 1 in 48.

In the year 2019, the city had a violent crime rate of 1.9 per 1,000 people, recording a 0.1 decline in the next year when the violent crime rate was 1.8 per 1,000 people. Additionally, its property crime rate in 2019 was 21.8 per 1,000 people and 19.3 per 1,000 persons in 2020. Violent crimes in the city are 46 percent lower than the national average.

8. Margate 

  • Population: 59,371
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $22.3 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $377

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Another one of the best cities to live in in Florida is Margate. It is located in Broward County, Florida, and is part of the Miami metropolitan area. The recent estimate of the city’s population is 59,371. Margate has two golf courses: the Carolina Golf Club and the Oriole Golf Club and Tennis Club. Also, the famous Calypso Cove waterpark is located in the city. The median income for a family in the city is $45.667. In the year 2020, the violent crime rate in Margate was 1.7 per 1,000 people, a 0.3 decline from the previous year’s violent crime rate of 2.0 per 1,000 people.

Also in 2020, the property crime rate in the city was 16.8 per 1,000 persons and in 2019, it was 17.8 per 1,000 persons. Violent crimes in the city are 56 percent lower than the national average. In the year 2019, 99 violent crimes were reported in Margate among which robbery cases were 28. Murder was 1, assault 61, and burglary 99. The chance of being a victim of crime in the city is 1 in 58. Margate is safer than 55 percent of the cities in the US. The estimate of its economic cost of crime per capita is $377, and the total economic cost of crime is $22.3 million.

7. Coral Springs

  • Population: 134,967
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $47.8 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $356

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Coral Springs’ economic cost of crime per capita is $356 and the estimates for its total economic cost of crime is $47.8 million. As a result, the city was ranked by Money Magazine in 2010 as the 94th best place to live in the United States and Florida’s third best city to live on their list of 100 Best Places to Live. Due to its low crime rate, the city ranked 24th on SafeWise’s 2020 list of Safest Cities in Florida. It was also ranked the 37th safest city in the state by the independent review site in the year 2019.

Coral Springs further emerged as the first city or local government in the country to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2007. The city has also bagged the Florida Sterling Award for Excellence in Administration twice (1997, 2003). It has a population of 134,967. As a major city in the Miami metropolitan area, Coral Springs’ median income for a family is $74,371. In 2020, the violent crime rate in Coral Springs was 1.6 per 1,000 people and the property crime rate was 15.1 per 1,000 people.

6. Wellington

  • Population: 66,331
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $22.6 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $343

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As one of the best places to live in Florida, Wellington has a population of 66,331 and the median income for a family is $81,481. Located in central Palm Beach County, Wellington is the fifth largest municipality in the county by population. The city’s violent crime rate in 2019 was 1.8 per 1,000 people and in the following year, it decreased to 1.2 per 1,000 people. Also, its 2019 property crime rate was estimated to be 16.5 per 1,000 people and in 2020, it fell to 12.6 per 1,000 persons.

Wellington was named among the Top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States in 2019 and 2020 by Money Magazine. According to AreaVibes, violent crimes in the city are 74 percent lower than the national average and Wellington is safer than 70 percent of the cities in the US. Out of the 852 total crimes reported in the city in 2019, assault cases were reported 40 times, while murder was reported once. Additionally, robbery cases were 11, burglary 59, and vehicle theft 59. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Wellington is 1 in 1021.

5. Port Orange

  • Population: 65,278
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $21.2 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $330

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Port Orange’s total economic cost of crime is estimated at $21.2 million and its economic cost of crime per capita of $330 gets it ranked as the fifth-best place to live in Florida. The violent crime rate in the city in 2019 was 0.5 per 1,000 people and in the next year, it was 0.4 per 1,000 people. In 2020, the property crime rate in the city was 21.8 per 1,000 people as it had a decline of 3.2 from the record of 25.0 per 1,000 persons registered in the previous year. Violent crimes in the city are 88 percent lower than the national average. The chance of being a victim of violent crime in Port Orange is 1 in 2176.

Based on AreaVibes crime statistics for the 2019 calendar year, reported violent crimes in the city were 30. Murder was zero while reports for robbery were 6, assault 23, and rape 1. The rates of crime in Port Orange are 26 percent less than the national average. The median income for a family in the city is $50,418. It is situated in Volusia County, Florida, and has a population of 65,278.

4. Port St. Lucie

  • Population: 199,433
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $57 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $296

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With a population of 199,433, Port St. Lucie is the most populous municipality in St. Lucie County, Florida. In the city, the median income for a family is $57,113, and its per capita income was estimated at $18,059 in 2000. Its violent crime rate in 2020 was 1.1 per 1,000 persons and in the previous year, it was 1.0 per 1,000 people. The property crime rate, on the other hand, has been declining from year to year. In 2019, it was 11.3 per 1,000 people and in the next year, it reduced to 9.6 per 1,000 persons.

In the year 2019, 293 violent crimes were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the city, according to AreaVibes. Robbery cases were 47 and vehicle theft was 81. The crime rates in the city are 60 percent less than the national average and the violent crimes reported in Port St. Lucie are 61 percent less than the national average as well. The chances of being a victim of crime in the city are 1 in 101. As one of Florida’s best cities,  Port St. Lucie is safer than 69 percent of the cities in the US. It has an economic cost of crime per capita of $296 and a total economic cost of crime of $57 million.

3. Sebastian 

  • Population: 25,672
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $6.7 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $264

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Ranked among the best places to live in Florida, Sebastian has a total economic cost of crime of $6.7 million, and with its population estimated to be 25,672, the city’s economic cost of crime per capita is $264. Throughout 2019, a total number of crimes of 316 were reported in the city. Vehicle theft was 15, Assault 9, burglary 20, and robbery 4. Hence, the city is safer than 74 percent of the cities in the United States, and its violent crimes are 81 percent less than the national average.

Located in the Indian River County, Sebastian’s median income for a family is $52,243. Its violent crime rate in the year 2019 was 1.9 per 1,000 people and in the following year, it declined by 0.7, leaving it at 1.2 per 1,000 people. Also, the property crime rate in 2019 was 15.3 per 1,000 persons and it reduced to 10.9 per 1,000 persons in 2020. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Sebastian is 1 in 1381.

2. Weston

  • Population: 71,946
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $13.6 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $191

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Over the years, Weston has been ranked by multiple independent review websites among the best cities to reside in Florida. It was named on Verizon Business’ list of Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business in 2021. It was also rated by Niche as the 10th Best City to Live in Florida and equally, the No. 1 Best City to Live in Broward County in 2021. It was ranked Florida’s second safest city by SafeWise in 2020 while The Home Security ranked Weston as the 4th Safest City in Florida in that same year.

Weston’s median income for a family is $100,110 and its population is 71,946. It is a suburban community situated in Broward County, Florida. The city has some of the popular parks in the state. They include Windmill Ranch Park, Gator Run Park, Tequesta Trace Park, and Vista Park. The violent crime rate in Weston in 2020 and 2019 was the same – 0.6 per 1,000 people while the property crime rate in the city in 2020 was 5.2 per 1,000 people and 6.4 per 1,000 people in the previous year. The chance of becoming a victim of crime in Weston is 1 in 183

1. Cooper City

  • Population: 36,890
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $7 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $190

Best and worst cities in Florida
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With a total economic cost of crime of $7 million and an economic cost of crime per capita of $190, Cooper City is considered the best city to live in Florida. Total crimes reported in the city throughout 2019 were 386, among which robbery cases were 8, assault 11, vehicle theft 23, and murder 0. Thus violent crimes reported in Cooper City were 26 and property crimes were 360. In 2019, the property crime rate in the city was 14.6 per 1,000 people. It decreased to 11.7 per 1,000 people in the next year. Also, the violent crime rate in the city in 2019 was 0.6 per 1,000 persons and 1.0 per 1,000 persons in 2020.

Cooper city’s violent crimes are 81 percent less than the national average. It is safer than 77 percent of the cities in the US. The chance of being a victim of violent crime in the city is 1 in 1419. Cooper City has a population of 36,890 and the median income for a family in the city is $102,174. It is located in Broward County, Florida.

Recap of the 10 Safest Cities in Florida

1. Cooper City

2. Weston

3. Sebastian

4. Port St. Lucie

5. Port Orange

6. Wellington

7. Coral Springs

8. Margate

9. Pembroke Pines

10. Winter Springs

The 10 Most Dangerous Places To Live in Florida

10. Orlando

  • Population: 287,442
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $664.2 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,317

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As the fourth largest city in Florida and the 71st largest city in the US, Orlando had a population of 287,442 in 2019. It is situated in the county seat of Orange County, Florida. On multiple occasions, mass shootings have occurred in Orlando. In June 2016, over 100 people were shot at a gay nightclub. Then one year later, a former employee of a factory in the city killed five of the factory workers. In the year 2019, total crimes reported in the city were 16,257, of which cases for theft were 11,362, assault 1,392, burglary 1,464, vehicle theft 1,274, and murder 25. Orlando’s violent crimes are 95 percent higher than the national average, and its crime rates are 124 percent higher than the national average.

The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in the city is 1 in 136, and that of becoming a property crime victim is 1 in 21. Unlike any other city on our list, Orlando has a higher total economic cost of crime which is estimated at $664.2 million. But due to its large population, the city’s economic cost of crime per capita is $2,317. Despite Orlando being home to the Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort, which draws tens of millions of visitors to the city every year, it is still ranked among the worst cities in Florida due to its high property crimes and violent crimes.

9. Sanford

  • Population: 61,448
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $139.9 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,326

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Sanford was pictured as a dangerous city to live in in 2012 when a 17-year-old African-American high school student, Trayvon Martin, was murdered by a 28-year-old man of mixed race working as a neighborhood watch coordinator named George Zimmerman. Later in 2016, the crime rate in the city increased to 918.22 per 100,000 population from the 822.0 per 100,000 population it was in the previous year. Based on Sanford’s 2019 crime statistics, the total number of crimes reported in the city was 2,624 that year. Property crimes were also on a high as they were 2,127 reported cases while the city’s violent crime cases were 497.

Murder cases were reported twice, assault 317, robbery 116, rape 62, burglary 315, vehicle theft 123, and theft 1,689. Sanford’s violent crimes are 115 percent higher than the national average, and its crime rates are 73 percent higher than the national average. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in the city is 1 in 123. Sanford’s population was estimated to be 61,448 in the year 2019 and it’s per capita income in 2010 was $20,588. It is located in the county seat of Seminole County, Florida. The city’s cost of crime per capita is $2,326 and its total economic cost of crime is $139.9 million.

8. Fort Myers 

  • Population: 87,103
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $202.5 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,446

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Fort Myers was ranked the 8th most dangerous city to reside in Florida due to its economic cost of crime per capita estimated at $2,446. The city has gained a total economic cost of crime of $202.5 million. It is situated in the county seat and the commercial center of Lee County, Florida. In 2019, the city had a population of 87,103 and the total crimes reported in it were 2,438. Reported cases for murder were 9, robbery cases were 94, rape 34, assault 349, vehicle theft 154, burglary 245, and theft 1,553. Hence, reported cases for violent crimes were 486 and that of property crimes was 1,952.

In Fort Myers, the chance of becoming a victim of property crime is 1 in 44 and that of being a violent crime victim is 1 in 76. Then, the chance of falling victim to a crime in the city is 1 in 35. Violent crimes in Fort Myers are 50 percent higher than the national average while the city’s crime rates are 15 percent higher than the national average. Thus, it is safer than 16 percent of the cities in the US.

7. Fort Pierce 

  • Population: 46,103
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $122 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,647

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Situated in the county seat of St. Lucie County, Florida, Fort Pierce has a population of 46,103 as of 2019. In 2010, the median income for a family in the city was $36,337 and its per capita income was estimated at $16,782. Fort Pierce is safer than 14 percent of US cities. The total number of crimes reported in the city in the year 2019 was 1,601. Reported cases for murder were 10, robbery 66, assault 164, and rape 19. Thus, leaving the city’s violent crime cases at 259. Property crimes, on the other hand, were reported 1,342 times among which theft cases were 1,051, burglary 151, and vehicle theft 140.

Fort Pierce is safer than 14 percent of the cities in the United States. The crime rates in the city are 38 percent higher than the national average while its violent crimes are 47 percent higher than the national average. The chance of being a victim of crime in Fort Pierce is 1 in 30. The city’s total economic cost of crime is $122 million and its economic cost of crime per capita is $2,647.

6. Lake Worth

  • Population: 38,526
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $107.9 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,792

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Lake Worth has accrued a total economic cost of crime of $107.9 million and its economic cost of crime per capita is estimated at $2,792. Thus, it is considered among the worst cities to live in Florida. Out of the 1,610 total crimes reported in Lake Worth throughout 2019, violent crimes were 409 while property crimes were 1,201. Murder cases were reported 6 times, assault 221 times, robbery 145, rape 37, vehicle theft 134, burglary 183, and theft 884. The cities crime rates are 67 percent higher than the national average while its violent crimes are 179 percent higher than the national average.

The chance of becoming a victim of crime in Lake Worth is 1 in 25 and the chances of being a victim of violent crime and equally property crime are 1 in 95 and 1 in 33 respectively. The city is safer than 4 percent of the cities in the United States. It has a population of 38,526 as of 2019 and is located in east-central Palm Beach County, Florida. Between 2009 and 2013, the median income for a household in Lake Worth was estimated at $35,428.

5. Miami Gardens

  • Population: 110,001
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $340.4 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $2,969

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As the principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, Miami Gardens had a population of 110,001 in the year 2019. It is the largest city in Florida with a majority African American population. In the year 2017, the crime rate in Miami Beach was 785.91 per 100,000 population. It then had a 9.45 percent decline in the next year when it was 711.61 per 100,000 population. Total crimes reported in Miami Gardens in 2019 were 5,152. Reported cases for violent crimes were 841 while that for property crimes were 4,311.

In that year, reported cases for murder in the city were 26, robbery 244, assault 557, rape 14, vehicle theft 473, burglary 371, and theft 3,467. As a result, Miami Garden’s crime rates are 82 percent higher than the national average and the violent crimes in the city are 95 percent higher than the national average. The chance of becoming a victim of crime in Miami Gardens is 1 in 23 and the chance of being a victim of violent crime is 1 in 136 while that of being a victim of property rate is 1 in 27. As such, the city is safer than 6 percent of the US cities. Its total economic cost of crime is estimated at $340.4 million and the cost of crime per capita is $2,969.

4. Daytona Beach

  • Population: 69,186
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $215.3 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $3,120

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Daytona Beach’s total number of crimes in 2019 was 3,627. Murder cases were reported 13 times, assault cases were 654, robbery 109, rape 18, theft 2,213, burglary 380, and vehicle theft 240. Hence, Daytona Beach’s property crimes were 2,833, and violent crimes 794. The violent crimes in the city are 200 percent higher than the national average while its crime rates are 109 percent higher than the national average. The chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Daytona Beach is 1 in 88 while that of being a victim of property crime is 1 in 25.

The city is safer than 3 percent of the cities in the United States. Its’ total economic cost of crime is $215.3 million and its economic cost of crime per capita is $3,120. Daytona Beach is a major city in the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach metropolitan area. It is located in Volusia County, Florida, and has a population of 69,186 as of 2019. In the year 2000, the city’s median income for a family was $33,514.

3. Lauderhill 

  • Population: 71,868
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $247.3 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $3,403

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The city of Lauderhill is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area and one of the cities situated in Broward County, Florida. As of 2019, its population was 71,868. The median income for a family in the city in the year 2000 was $36,723, while its per capita income was estimated at $17,243. Lauderhill’s total economic cost of crime is $247.3 million, and the economic cost of crime per capita is $3,403. The city had a 2019 total crime record of 2,702, including 2,131 property crimes and 571 violent crimes.

According to the report, murder cases were 13, assault 413, robbery 42, rape 42, burglary 361, vehicle theft 229, and theft 1,541. The city’s crime rates are 49 percent higher than the national average. Also, its violent crimes are 107 percent higher than the national average. The chance of being a victim of crime in Lauderhill is 1 in 27, and the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime and property crime are 1 in 128 and 1 in 35, respectively. The city is safer than 7 percent of the US cities.

2. West Palm Beach

  • Population: 111,955
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $405.8 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $3,634

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As one of the worst cities to live in Florida, West Palm Beach recorded 5,090 total crimes in 2019. They included 453 vehicle theft cases, 17 murder cases, 304 robbery cases, 464 burglary cases, and 79 rape cases. As a result, the city’s violent crimes were 859 while property crimes were 4,231. West Palm Beach’s violent crimes are 101 percent higher than the national average. Crime rates in the city are 81 percent higher than the national average. The chance of being a victim of crime in West Palm Beach is 1 in 23, and that for a victim of violent crime is 1 in 132.

The city is safer than 5 percent of the cities in the United States. As a major city in the Miami metropolitan area, West Palm Beach’s population was estimated to be 111,955 in 2019. The city’s median income for a family in 2000 was $42,074. It is located in Palm Beach County, Florida. It has an economic cost of crime per capita of $3,634, and its total economic cost of crime is $405.8 million.

1. Riviera Beach

  • Population: 35,463
  • Total Economic Cost of Crime: $166.1 million
  • Economic Cost of Crime per Capita: $4,748

Best and worst cities in Florida
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Situated in Palm Beach County, Florida, Riviera Beach is considered the most dangerous city in Florida due to its high economic cost of crime per capita estimated at $4,748. The city’s total economic cost of crime is $166.1 million. Throughout 2019, a total number of crimes of 1,812 were reported in Riviera Beach. Assault cases were 248, burglary 186, vehicle theft 139, rape 20, murder 7, and theft 1,141. As such, its property crimes were 1,466 and violent crimes were 346. The crime rates in the city are 107 percent higher than the national average while violent crimes in the city are 160 percent higher than the national average.

The chance of being a victim of crime in Riviera Beach is 1 in 20 and the chance of becoming a victim of violent crime is 1 in 102. Riviera Beach has a population of 35,463 as of 2019. The median income for a household in the city was $28,715 in the year 2000.

Recap of the 10 Worst Cities in Florida

1. Riviera Beach

2. West Palm Beach

3. Lauderhill

4. Daytona Beach

5. Miami Gardens

6. Lake Worth

7. Fort Pierce

8. Fort Myers

9. Sanford

10. Orlando

Methodology For Ranking

Calculating the cost of crime for each city, we used the estimates of the city’s economic losses associated with criminal activities. We then ranked the cities based on the equal levy for each person living in them (i.e economic cost of crime per capita). The monetary values for crimes were ascertained from diverse researches carried out by researchers in multiple universities in the US, which were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. For crime data, we used crime statistics reported to the FBI for the 2019 calendar year based on AreaVibes’ reports.

Chioma Uchenwoke
Apart from content writing in the area of entertainment, personal finance and celebrity net worth, Chioma’s main interests are movies, football, music and books. She has been writing professionally for about 2 years in these fields

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