Jacksonville, a charming North Florida city, boasts great weather, sandy beaches, and a stable economy, making it an appealing choice for many. While some Florida cities have a reputation for being unsafe, Jacksonville stands out as a relatively secure city, considering its size, with peaceful areas that cater to both residents and visitors.
Like any major city, Jacksonville has its good and not-so-good neighborhoods, so it’s crucial to be aware of these distinctions if you’re planning to make this River City your home. The city’s homicide rate is notably higher than the national average, but most violent crime tends to be concentrated in specific areas. This article aims to provide a detailed look at crime in Jacksonville to help you better understand the city’s safety.
Understanding the Jacksonville Crime Rate
As a first step, It’s crucial to comprehend how crime statistics are collected and what they signify. Crime rates are generated from data gathered by local law enforcement agencies, compiled by the FBI, and presented in an annual report. The FBI categorizes this data into two main groups: violent crime (including assault, robbery, battery, rape, murder, manslaughter) and property crime (encompassing theft, burglary, larceny, auto theft, vandalism, arson).
While crime rates offer valuable insights into a region’s criminal activity, they are not without limitations. Even the FBI warns against using crime rates to directly compare cities and metro areas for various reasons:
- Not all offenses are included in crime rate statistics; only violent and property crimes make the cut.
- Data is based on reported or discovered crimes, which might represent only a fraction of the actual criminal activity.
- Reporting standards and arrest policies can vary across different police departments and precincts.
- Crime may be concentrated in specific areas but affect the city’s overall statistics.
- Attempted crimes like shootings are not factored into crime rate calculations.
- Crime statistics often need additional context, as numbers alone may not provide the complete picture.
For example, 2019 marked Jacksonville’s deadliest year in decades. Nevertheless, when considering the murder rate, it was nearly double that of 1989 and 1990, showing a subsequent decrease until a relatively peaceful period from 2011 to 2016. Without this context, someone might believe that Jacksonville FL quality of life was experiencing a surge in violence in 2019, despite it being a slight increase from one of the safest periods in the city’s history. Therefore, more context is necessary to gauge a city’s safety accurately.
What is the Jacksonville Crime Rate?
The overall Jacksonville crime rate is 3,569 incidents per 100,000 residents. This means that crime in Jacksonville is 65.8% higher than the Florida crime rate and 52.1% higher than the national average. The Jacksonville violent crime rate stands at 698 incidents per 100,000 residents, marking an 82% increase compared to the Florida rate and an 80% increase compared to the national rate. The property crime rate is 2,871 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 62.3% higher than the state average and 46.6% higher than the national average.
Violent Crime in Jacksonville
The violent crime rate in Jacksonville is 698 incidents per 100,000 residents, marking an 80% increase compared to the Florida rate. This translates to a 1 in 143 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Jacksonville. In 2020, there were a total of 6,424 violent crimes reported, including 140 murders, 456 instances of rape, 928 robberies, and 4,900 aggravated assaults.
So is Jacksonville Florida safe? Well unfortunately, the city garnered the title of the “Murder Capital of Florida” due to its high homicide rate, which stands at 15 occurrences per 100,000 residents. This means that there were 154.2% more murders in Jacksonville than in the rest of Florida and 129.1% more than in the rest of the United States. However, it’s important to note that most murders and violent crimes are concentrated in specific areas that can be avoided.
Property Crime in Jacksonville
The property crime rate in Jacksonville is 2,871 incidents per 100,000 residents, which is 46.6% higher than the national average. In 2020, there were 26,432 property crimes reported, including 3,860 burglaries, 2,970 motor vehicle thefts, 109 arsons, and 19,602 larceny thefts. Property crimes tend to be more prevalent in downtown Jacksonville and the surrounding neighborhoods.
High Crime Areas of Jacksonville
Despite its attractions and amenities, Jacksonville grapples with socio-economic challenges, such as poverty, gang violence, drug issues, and homelessness in certain neighborhoods. It’s advisable to steer clear of these areas, especially after dark. Some neighborhoods in Jacksonville are particularly notorious for crime, including 29th and Chase, East Jacksonville, Mid-Westside, Springfield, and Moncrief Park. Downtown Jacksonville, however, is generally safe for residents and visitors due to increased police presence, improved street lighting, and efforts to address vagrancy and panhandling.
Safest Neighborhoods in Jacksonville
Despite its challenges, life in Jacksonville FL is also quite peaceful and safe. East Arlington, with a crime rate 52% lower than the national average, offers a peaceful, suburban environment with affordable real estate and friendly neighbors. Jacksonville Beach, with a crime rate 39% lower than the national average, is a serene oceanside community that is ideal for retirees, offering golf courses, marinas, and affordable beachfront living. Just north of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach is another coastal paradise known for the best quality of life Jacksonville Florida has to offer.
To minimize risks while living in Jacksonville Florida, consider the following safety tips:
- Be cautious in areas known for vagrants and homelessness, like Hemming Park in downtown Jacksonville.
- Be mindful of high crime neighborhoods like 29th and Chase in the Mid-West Side.
- Exercise vigilance around coastal areas, where alcohol and drug-related crimes are more common.
- Avoid walking alone in downtown Jacksonville after dark and stick to well-populated areas.
Jacksonville Police Department
Responsible for investigating and preventing crime in Duval County, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has 3,078 employees, including 1,789 officers or 2 officers per 1,000 residents, and 1,289 civilian employees. The department dates back to 1822 and is currently led by Sheriff TK Waters. You can access crime reports, statistics, and other data on their official website or visit their offices at 501 E Bay St, Jacksonville, FL 32202, or call them directly at (904) 630-0500.
Q : Is living in Jacksonville FL safe for families?
A : Generally, Jacksonville is safe for families, but like any city, it has both safe and less desirable areas. Researching neighborhoods is essential for a family-friendly experience.
Q : Is downtown Jacksonville safe?
A : Yes, downtown Jacksonville quality of life is considered safe for most residents and visitors due to increased police presence and improved safety measures.
Q : How is living in Jacksonville FL?
A : While Jacksonville has its share of crime, it’s not inherently dangerous. Safety largely depends on the neighborhood and your awareness of local conditions.