See Which Florida Cities Made the List


ByJeff Ostrowski

Updated: September 26, 2022

ByJeff Ostrowski

Updated: September 26, 2022

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Florida, like much of the country, is getting safer — but trouble spots remain. This guide to the safest and most dangerous cities in Florida analyzes crime data in the context of the larger societal and economic cost of crime. There are some obvious reasons to live in a safe city. Property appreciation is likely to be stronger, insurance claims for property crime are less frequent, and municipalities can focus their budget on priorities aside from police. To put a dollar figure on the value of safety, MoneyGeek turned to an academic study that calculated the societal cost of crime. We used peer-reviewed research that assigned monetary values to crimes based on their severity, ranging from $10.9 million for murder to $4,300 for larceny (see below for more of our methodology).

For decades, the popular image of Florida — and especially Miami — has been dominated by crime. The chaotic 1980s spawned the movie “Scarface,” the TV series “Miami Vice,” and the best-selling novels of Carl Hiaasen. Times have changed, though. Miami’s crime rate has plummeted, a welcome trend that city officials tout at every opportunity. It’s not just South Florida that’s experiencing less crime. Tampa and Jacksonville have also seen declines in recent years. As a result, according to MoneyGeek’s calculations, Florida’s cost of crime per capita is down from $552 in 2014 to $523 in 2018, a 5% decline. Despite progress, Florida’s total cost of crime in 2018 was a $10.4 billion drag on the state’s productivity.

What Are the Safest Cities in Florida?

Broward County suburbs top MoneyGeek’s ranking of Florida’s 5 Safest Cities based on economic cost of crimes. In Cooper City, the economic cost of crime for 2017 and 2018 was just $190 per capita with Weston in second with a cost per capita of $191. In Sebastian, a beach town in Indian River County, the cost of crime was $264, and Port St. Lucie in nearby St. Lucie County ranked No. 4 at $296. Among small cities, Cooper City (est. pop. 36,896) was the safest. Weston (est. pop. 71,744) was No. 1 among medium-sized cities, and the Treasure Coast boomtown of Port St. Lucie (est. pop. 193,137) had the best showing among Florida’s large cities.

Safest Cities Overall


Safest Large Cities


Safest Midsized Cities


Safest Smallest Cities


Economic Cost of Crime in the Miami Metro Area

Miami, a city long synonymous with crime, has gotten much safer. The city experienced a 40% plunge in the cost of crime per capita from $3,341 in 2014 to $1,915 in 2018. Miami has experienced the state’s largest decrease in violent crime, from 4,473 instances in 2014 to 2,978 in 2018. The economic costs of crime in the city of Miami plunged half a billion dollars, from $1.4 billion in 2014 to $906 million in 2018. The broader Miami-Dade County has seen a 10% decrease in the cost of crime in just one year, from $1.85 billion in 2018, to $1.67 billion in 2017.

The improvement in safety may also lower economic costs indirectly. For example, car insurance, homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies all tend to cost less in areas with lower crime rates.

During the era of cocaine cowboys, Miami was a murder capital. The spike in crime inspired the film “Scarface” and the TV series “Miami Vice.” Times have changed, though, and city officials tout a sharp decline in murder rates. “We hit a 51-year low (in 2018) in homicides,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said during one public appearance in 2019. “That’s not adjusted for population. This year, knock on wood, we’re 30 to 40% below that number.”

City leaders attribute the improving crime stats to such strategies as mounted police patrols, the use of surveillance cameras, and a new spirit of cooperation from residents. “It’s a little bit of everything. The cooperation with residents is better than I’ve seen it in a long time,” Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina told the Miami Herald. “People call us now to say where there are guns stashed. That wasn’t happening before.”

The Impact of Mass Shootings on Florida Safety

In general, safe areas remain safe from year to year, while high-crime areas continue to struggle to overcome their problems. Mass shootings, with their unpredictable nature, add volatility to crime statistics and play havoc with a community’s sense of safety. In most years, Parkland in Broward County would rank as one of Florida’s safest cities. However, the devastating school shooting in 2018 claimed 17 lives and sent Parkland plummeting in the rankings. Florida experienced five mass shootings in 2017 and 2018, estimated to have a total societal cost of $332 million:

  • At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in February 2018, a student killed 14 students and three school employees.
  • At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January 2017, a gunman opened fire, killing five and injuring six others.
  • At an Orlando factory in June 2017, a former employee killed five workers.
  • At a Jacksonville video game tournament in August 2018, a gunman killed two and injured 10 others.
  • At a Tallahassee yoga studio in November 2018, a gunman shot six women, killing two.

Listing of Safest to Most Dangerous Cities in Florida

The table below includes a comprehensive listing of all cities with a population larger than 25,000 residents and includes the safest and most dangerous cities in Florida. See where your city ranks.


Rankings Methodology

To rank cities' cost of crime, MoneyGeek used estimated societal cost of crimes in each city, then ranked the cities based on the per capita toll of crime per city. For crime data, MoneyGeek used crime statistics reported to the FBI. For cost estimates, MoneyGeek turned to research by University of Miami professors Kathryn McCollister and Michael French and University of Colorado Denver researcher Hai Fang. Their analysis of the societal cost of crime was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. They found that a murder cost society $10.9 million in 2019 dollars. A larceny case exacted a toll of $4,300.

About Jeff Ostrowski

Jeff Ostrowski headshot

A veteran business journalist, Jeff Ostrowski writes about money for the Palm Beach Post in Florida. Ostrowski is proud to say he knows how to use a financial calculator to amortize a mortgage.