If you had to guess what the third biggest state by population was in America, what would you say? If you answered Florida, you would be right! It surpassed New York in 2014 to become America’s third most populous state. This 20 million person state has a median household income of $47,212, and 16.5% of its residents live in poverty. Florida attracts a wide variety of people: Almost 20% of its population is foreign-born, and almost 20% of residents are senior citizens.
With so many people moving to the Sunshine State, the ValuePenguin team analyzed violent and property crime data for 201 cities that have populations of 5,000 or more residents to determine the safest cities in Florida. Final crime scores for the state’s communities ranged from 328 to 8,221. The top five safest places are a mix of small, mid-sized and large cities.
These cities have an average crime score of 401, which is 83% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.
Parkland (population of 27,160) offers safety to people and their property: It had the second lowest rate of property crime and the third lowest rate of violent crime in the entire state. The city is an 18-minute drive to Pompano Beach and a 30-minute drive to Fort Lauderdale. It is very affluent: The median household income is almost $127,000, and the poverty rate is only 4.3%. With 62% of the population having a bachelor’s degree or higher, it is a well-educated community.
This city is on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and it prides itself on its beautiful white sand beaches. Marco Island had low crime scores for both violent (fourth safest) and property crimes (3rd lowest). It is the one mid-sized city (pop. 17, 343) in the top five. Per the last census, 46.7% of the population is 65 years of age or older, and the median household income for residents is $73,031. Boating, fishing and snorkeling are among some of the activities available to people in this community.
With a population of 69,129, this city is easily the largest on this list. It had the lowest rate of property crime of any city in Florida. Weston is in Broward County, and it is approximately 19 miles from Fort Lauderdale. It boasts a median household income of $91,613 and A-rated public schools. According to the U.S. Census, almost 40% of Weston’s residents are foreign-born, and almost 45% are Hispanic.
Longboat Key is a small (population 7,129) barrier island community with the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Sarasota Bay to the east and beautiful beaches to enjoy. It had zero violent crimes reported in 2014; consequently, it had the lowest rate of violent crime of any city in this research. This community has many retirees, with 67.3% of its population 65 years or older and only .6% of the population under 5. It is also very affluent: The median household income is $84,403, over 90% of the population are homeowners, and the median value of those homes is $592,800.
The smallest community in the top five, with a sub-6,000 population, is Bay Harbor Islands. It is a 31-minute drive to Miami and 29 minutes from Hialeah. There were only five violent crimes and zero murders and rapes for the year analyzed by ValuePenguin. Bay Harbor Islands has a middle-class population with a median household income of 55,196. Homes are more affordable here than the other top five communities; the median home value is $230,900. Over 40% of the Bay Harbor Islands’ population is foreign-born.
Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 15,000, midsize cities with populations between 15,000 and 40,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 40,000. Here are our findings: