25 Cities in Florida with the Most Improved Crime Rate

October 21, 2014

6. Miami Lakes, FL

This city resides in the northwestern inner perimeter of Miami. Though in previous years Miami Lakes experienced an increase in crime, the local Police Department has placed a renewed effort into ensuring its citizens are kept safe. With a patrol force significantly lower than the national average ratio of officers to citizens, Miami Lakes has to work closely with neighboring police departments in the Miami-Dade metropolitan area for effective policing. This has resulted in improvements to response time and ability to handle the variety of violent and non-violent crimes occurring in the area. Overall, crime statistics have reflected the renewed effort by the police department – resulting in Miami Lakes becoming a significantly better place to live.

2007 Crime Rate: 50.32
2012 Crime Rate: 25.83
48.66% Decrease In Crime

7. Sunny Isles Beach, FL

Just east of North Miami beach lays the coastal barrier island known as Sunny Isle Beach. Nicknamed “Little Moscow” due to its growing population of Russians, Sunny Isles Beach has taken an aggressive stance towards policing its streets following a rising trend in crime. With an above average density of police officers to citizens, this coastal city has decreased its crime rate through an outstanding array of new programs and extensive community support. Combating not only the threat of hurricanes and inclement weather, but also overlapping crime from the Miami-Dade metropolitan area, Sunny Isle Beach Police Department has taken its new commitment to a lower crime rate very seriously.

2007 Crime Rate: 44.83
2012 Crime Rate: 23.08
48.51% Decrease In Crime

8. Miami Gardens, FL

West along US Route 95, between Miami and Hollywood, rests the outer perimeter suburb of Miami Gardens. With a quickly growing population, Miami Gardens had experienced one of its worst crime waves in decades. Thankfully, renewed efforts by the Miami Gardens Police Department, in coordination with the Miami-Dade metropolitan police, state and federal agencies, the crime rate has been drastically reduced – making Miami Gardens once more an ideal location to raise a family. With a ratio of police officers to citizens that is slightly less than the national average, this city’s police department relies on special programs such as its advanced K-9 units and well-trained SWAT teams to handle emergency interventions.

2007 Crime Rate: 96.30
2012 Crime Rate: 51.43
46.59% Decrease In Crime

9. Alachua, FL

Northwest of Gainesville, along US Route 75, lies the rural city of Alachua. Over the past decade, this city has fought tirelessly to combat the increased persistence of crime related to methamphetamines and controlled pharmaceuticals. Thankfully, with innovative programs and support from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (SBI), Alachua has managed to drop its crime rate and increase its patrol force to just over the national average of the ratio of police to citizens. This effort and an anonymous tip program have greatly helped citizens and law enforcement become proactive in the interdiction of methamphetamine and opioids that was once prevalent throughout North Florida.

2007 Crime Rate: 54.34
2012 Crime Rate: 29.25
46.17% Decrease In Crime

10. Palmetto, FL

A coastal city sharing the Manatee River with Bradenton, Palmetto’s police department works closely with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department to bring new, modernized methods of policing to the force. Only a few years back, Palmetto saw an increase in its reported crime rate. A new focus on special programs such as Safe Sleep and Manatee County Crime Stoppers has helped bring their crime statistics back in line with the national average. A lot of new attention was placed on securing seniors’ medicine cabinets, giving the community better avenues to report suspected criminal activity, and safeguarding those who became victims of crime – resulting in safer streets and fewer reported crimes.

2007 Crime Rate: 77.18
2012 Crime Rate: 43.71
43.36% Decrease In Crime

11. St. Cloud, FL

Located on the southern shore of East Lake Tohepaliga, and incorporated into the Greater Orlando-Kissimee-Sanford Metropolitan Area, St. Cloud has defined itself by its proximity to the amazing attractions that Orlando has to offer. Over the past decade, however, it’s become the site of a rash of increased criminal activity. Unequipped to handle this spike in crime at first, the St. Cloud Police Department began by improving several of its programs to increase effectiveness. The Special Operations division and Community Outreach were overhauled for the better. Improving upon these programs, in addition to the hiring of more officers, delivered a marked improvement over the last several years with a crime rate that is now well below what it once was.

2007 Crime Rate: 53.85
2012 Crime Rate: 30.66
43.06% Decrease In Crime

12. Tampa, FL

Home to the Buccaneers, Lightning, and Ybor’s world famous cigars – Tampa is a city that needs no introduction. It has been a cultural epicenter of Florida for well over seventy years. With its great neighborhoods, economic and educational opportunities came a downside, though. Crime rates had slowly increased throughout the area – leaving citizens wondering if Tampa’s best days were truly behind it. Tampa Police approached it with a different attitude. A significant increase in hiring additional patrol officers and detectives led Tampa to quickly raise its ratio of officers to citizens to greater than the national average. This allowed the police department there to implement new programs and spend more time interacting with its many residents. Programs such as Business Watch, Citizen’s Academy, and the Crime Free Multi-Housing Program have all emphasized the vital role for Tampa residents to play in assisting the Tampa PD in keeping its streets safe.

2007 Crime Rate: 60.35
2012 Crime Rate: 34.52
42.79% Decrease In Crime

13. Perry, FL

Between Tallahassee and Gainesville is the county seat of Taylor County – Perry, FL. This North Florida city was once plagued by increased incidences of crime related to methamphetamine production and distribution. This resulted in increases in larceny and simple assault as well as some decidedly violent acts. Realizing that Perry needed to put a stop to this behavior, the local police in connection with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department reviewed and upgraded a number of their special programs designed at helping residents report suspicious criminal activity. This included the addition of two more K-9 units equipped at detecting opioids and increasing the number of patrol officers.

2007 Crime Rate: 66.02
2012 Crime Rate: 38.31
41.97% Decrease In Crime

14. Jupiter, FL

Located in the Palm Beach County district, the City of Jupiter maintains its own team of internationally accredited police officers. Despite some setbacks in the early part of last decade, the Jupiter Police Department remains dedicated to innovative programs and modernizing police techniques and technology. With Beach Patrol and canine programs, the Jupiter PD has also some of the best digital forensics experts in the state working alongside patrol officers and investigators to ensure criminals are brought to justice. This has obviously resulted in a significant drop in the crime rate, bringing Jupiter back into the forefront of well-policed cities in Florida.

2007 Crime Rate: 39.27
2012 Crime Rate: 23.13
41.09% Decrease In Crime

15. Neptune Beach, FL

Stretched out across tidal flats west of Jacksonville to the Atlantic Ocean itself, Neptune Beach is a popular destination to vacation or reside. However, the increase of elderly residents with prescription drugs occurred at the same time as a similar increase in burglary and larceny, that left citizens and police wondering how to combat it. Thankfully, crime statistics have shown that Neptune Beach has significantly decreased its crime rate. The Chief of Police implemented a Prescription Drop Box program which allowed elderly citizens to safely and securely dispose of their prescription medications – removing some of the temptation for thieves to break into homes searching for such substances to sell on the secondary market.

2007 Crime Rate: 54.15
2012 Crime Rate: 32.84
39.36% Decrease In Crime

16. Apopka, FL

Scattered between the myriad number of lakes and wetlands is the city of Apopka. Northwest of Orlando, this municipality also experienced an increasing rate of crime in the recent past. To answer this, Apopka Police Department placed added emphasis on increasing Patrol Services. This included implementing larger overlaps between 10 hour shifts, ensuring officers had the support and backup they needed. They also included additional training so officers could respond correctly to any number of situations. Pairing this with increased community involvement and visibility, the local police began to gradually gain back the trust of their residents. In recent years, the crime rate has dropped drastically, making Apopka a much safer and connected community.

2007 Crime Rate: 54.89
2012 Crime Rate: 33.96
38.12% Decrease In Crime

17. Marianna, FL

Located west of Tallahassee along US Route 10, the city of Marianna sits almost right on the border of Alabama and Georgia. While a quiet city for many years, Marianna was gaining regional attention for increased reports of narcotic and opioid distribution. This resulted in a dramatic increase in larceny and burglary as residents were now a central highway for the war on drugs. With slightly more officers than average for a city of its size, Marianna had to place more focus on its special programs and training to prepare those police to combat this rising tide of crime. Through recent reported statistics, Marianna now has a significantly lower rate of crime.

2007 Crime Rate: 63.56
2012 Crime Rate: 39.35
38.10% Decrease In Crime

18. Oldsmar, FL

On the northern harbor of Old Tampa Bay is the city of Oldsmar, FL. A popular place to stop between Tampa and Palm Harbor, Oldsmar found itself in the throes of increasing crime. Through the efforts of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department and a renewed effort in community involvement, Oldsmar found new programs and services to help reduce reported crime in its city. Some of these programs include the Sheriffs Volunteer Patrol and the Citizens Academy – which place continual focus on resident and business owner involvement in policing the streets. Through these and other programs, Oldsmar has seen a drastic reduction in reported crime.

2007 Crime Rate: 53.97
2012 Crime Rate: 33.69
37.58% Decrease In Crime

19. Atlantic Beach, FL

Neptune Beach’s sister city to the north, Atlantic Beach, faced a similar epidemic throughout last decade. Seniors’ homes were being robbed for prescription drugs. There were increased reports of larceny and business theft. In addition to partnering up with the Neptune Beach police to provide overlapping protection, Atlantic Beach also implemented a number of new programs designed to address criminal issues. These programs include Vacation Watch, Business Security, Crime Prevention publications, and a new Identity Theft Division dedicated to tracking down the culprits who steal other people’s personal information for nefarious purposes. Over the past few years, Atlantic Beach has seen a significant decrease in crime, despite having a less than ideal ratio of police officers to citizens.

2007 Crime Rate: 45.49
2012 Crime Rate: 28.39
37.58% Decrease In Crime

20. North Port, FL

Incorporating a heavily industrialized region of the Port Charlotte area, North Port was once the home to sprawling industrial complexes. However, it has largely been converted into less affluent living communities made up of those who are mostly employed in the service sector. When the North Port Police Department noticed a significant increase in reported crimes in their area, they knew they needed to respond appropriately. Implementing quite a few initiatives aimed at helping the community report on criminal behavior has helped this small police force bring the crime rate down significantly.

2007 Crime Rate: 32.70
2012 Crime Rate: 20.56
37.14% Decrease In Crime

21. Cape Coral, FL

The heavily suburban city of Cape Coral has hosted a number of spectacular sporting events over the years – including two Iron Man triathlons. Considered a popular place for engineers and professionals, this city had seen drastic increases to its real estate values. Unfortunately, when an increase in reported crimes began to surface, Cape Coral police had to respond. With less than the national average ratio of officers to residents, police officers had to implement innovative training programs and services to increase their efficiency. This resulted in a drastic decrease in the overall crime rate, making Cape Coral a much safer place to do business.

2007 Crime Rate: 37.36
2012 Crime Rate: 23.49
37.13% Decrease In Crime

22. Plant City, FL

Located on US Route 4 between Tampa and Lakeland is Plant City. Widely sought after for affordable real estate prices and great shopping opportunities, Plant City has turned into a commuter city for those working in the Tampa Bay area. This has brought with itself some inevitable problems. A spike in burglaries and motor vehicle theft was widely attributed to the fact that many of Plant City’s residents were gone during the day – either working or attending school. The Plant City Police Department responded in kind with increased patrols aimed at checking on people’s residences while they were away on vacation or at work. This program resulted in a significant improvement in confidence on behalf of the residents and a drop in reported crime.

2007 Crime Rate: 65.00
2012 Crime Rate: 42.83
34.11% Decrease In Crime

23. St. Pete Beach, FL

On the southwestern barrier island outside St. Petersburg rests the seaside community of St. Pete Beach. Usually a popular destination for vacationers, St. Pete was caught in the midst of a crime wave throughout last decade. Responding to this crisis, the local police force increased the size of their department so they would have a much better ratio of police to residents. This, along with added programs and training, were amongst the factors that helped the St. Pete Beach Police Department bring the crime rate down.

2007 Crime Rate: 60.66
2012 Crime Rate: 40.18
33.77% Decrease In Crime

24. Tarpon Springs, FL

North of Clearwater, this sunny seaside city resides right on the Gulf of Mexico. Considered a great place to live and even retire, Tarpon Springs was regarded as a safe and affordable place to live for many years. Police officers and residents noticed that only a few years ago, reported incidences of crime were increasing. Wasting no time, the city of Tarpon Springs hired a number of full-time patrol officers to increase visibility and support to residents throughout the area. Now, with a significantly greater ratio of officers to residents than the national average, Tarpon Springs has taken its commitment to safety very seriously.

2007 Crime Rate: 46.13
2012 Crime Rate: 30.76
33.31% Decrease In Crime

25. Hialeah, FL

Widely considered to be one of the central arteries of the Miami inner metropolitan area, Hialeah has always struggled to keep itself apart from crime. However, the last decade saw a marked increase in reported crimes occurring. In association with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (SBI) and the Miami-Dade metropolitan police, Hialeah has made significant efforts to improve living conditions and reduce criminal activities. Through the implementation of special programs and training designed to give officers better skill sets to deal with today’s rapidly changing environment, Hialeah has effectively brought its crime rate down.

2007 Crime Rate: 50.13
2012 Crime Rate: 34.34
31.50% Decrease In Crime

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25 Most Improved Cities in Florida

Disclaimer: To improve the accuracy and usefulness of our list, we chose to exclude small communities with populations below 5,000 in our rankings.
Our rankings are determined by national crime statistics published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Our rankings are only as accurate as the local population and crime statistics officially released by the FBI.

25 Most Improved Cities in Florida

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