Commonly known for its pristine beaches, exciting water sports activities, and luxurious yacht excursions, Fort Lauderdale provides an unforgettable experience you won’t find elsewhere.
The abundant fine-dining restaurants, rich history, and lively art scene shows make it a popular tourist destination. Additionally its unique location (at the intersection of Florida State Road A1A and Las Olas Boulevard) gives it an advantage most beach areas don’t enjoy — lots of parking space.
The beach has a long stretch of sand that can accommodate many vehicles. As with other tourist destinations, there are pros and cons of visiting Fort Lauderdale, the most common being safety.
With a recent study ranking it the least safe city to stay in America, is Fort Lauderdale safe to visit? Knowing the crime rates, areas most likely to experience crime, and the safety concerns to look out for may put your fears to rest.
Is Fort Lauderdale Safe to Visit?
Fort Lauderdale isn’t the safest city to visit in Florida. Statistics show Fort Lauderdale has a higher crime rate than the national average and many states in Florida.
The crime rate is 240.86 per a thousand people, with property and violent crime accounting for the highest cases in the area. What’s more, a state-by-state breakdown of the most dangerous cities in Florida ranked Fort Lauderdale number 7.
The listing was based on data released by the FBI featuring property and violent crimes. Fort Lauderdale also ranked number one in crimes in Broward County.
Fortunately, the U.S. Department of State hasn’t issued a travel advisory, but it doesn’t make the city safe. The report also shows Fort Lauderdale ranks grade F in crime rate, which means it’s higher than the national average.
Further, the city is in the 1% percentile for safety, making it one of the most dangerous places to visit in the U.S. However, it’s important to note that most crimes happen in locations that attract large numbers of people, like schools, airports, and parks, not residences.
As such, if an area is pointed out as unsafe, it could be close to a park, airport, or other designated recreational areas. The most common safety concerns in Fort Lauderdale involve violent and property crimes.
- Drug crimes
- Vehicle theft
Crime in Fort Lauderdale
Going by the statistics, Fort Lauderdale experiences more property and violent crimes than any other metropolitan area in Miami, Florida. The overall crime rate is 118% higher than the rest of Florida, and the highest number was reported in 2019 (542,116 crimes).
However, the statistics for violent crimes and property crimes are different. The incidence of violent and property crimes is 5.72 in 1,000 and 216.95 per 1,000 people, respectively, but it remains the highest in Florida and the country compared to communities of similar sizes.
As bad as the data look, Fort Lauderdale’s year-over-year crime rate has reduced by 13%.
Vehicle theft, burglary, theft, and arson are the most common issues related to property crimes, while robbery, assault, murder, and rape make up violent crimes. Here’s a more detailed overview:
Although violent crimes account for a small share of crimes in the country, the crimes are more aggressive than property crimes. In Fort Lauderdale, they account for 11% of all reported crimes, higher than most cities in Florida.
Statistics show the rate of violent crime is 5.72 per 1,000 residents. What’s more, Fort Lauderdale is in the 13th percentile of safety, making it one of the most dangerous cities to visit.
So, does it mean you’re more likely to fall victim to violent crime in Fort Lauderdale? Well, this largely depends on the places you intend to visit.
Typically, the chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Fort Lauderdale is 1 in 98 in central neighborhoods, but if visiting areas around the southwestern region of the city, the incidence reduces to 1 in 316 people.
To break it down further, we look at individual crimes related to violence in Fort Lauderdale.
Aggravated Assault is the most common violent crime in the country and the most reported offense in Fort Lauderdale. The most recent data shows 547 aggravated assaults were reported in the city and the crime rate is 3.99 per 1000 residents in a year.
By comparison, the national rate is lower, at 3.02 assaults per 1000 residents. Murder is another crime making up violent crimes in Fort Lauderdale. The murder rate in Fort Lauderdale is also pretty high compared to other cities in Florida and the country.
The most recent data shows Fort Lauderdale has an incidence of 0.08 murders per 1000 residents, higher than the nation’s 0.05 murders per 1000 people. However, the eastern region of the city is regarded as the safest for this type of violent crime compared to the northwest region.
Statistics show you have a 1 in 30, 605 chance of becoming a victim of murder in the eastern part of Fort Lauderdale compared to 1 in 4,085 in neighborhoods located in the northwestern region.
Robbery is another common violent crime in the country, and Fort Lauderdale reports the highest numbers compared to other cities in Florida. A report released in 2019 found that 408 robberies were reported in Fort Lauderdale, a rate of 221 robberies for 100,000 people.
By comparison, the national robbery rate was 82 per 100,000 people, a significant difference from Fort Lauderdale. The most common sexual assault in Florida is rape, and Fort Lauderdale is among the cities with the highest numbers.
A 2018 report shows 40.08 per 100,000 population rape reports. Nationwide, the incidence of being a rape victim is 0.42 per 1,000 people, relatively lower than Fort Lauderdale’s rate.
Property crimes are the most common offenses reported in the U.S. They’re more prevalent in Fort Lauderdale, making up 89% of all violations.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 460,237 people were charged with property-related offenses like burglary, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, robbery, and purse snatching in 2019.
This means the incidence of falling victim to property crime is higher in Fort Lauderdale than in any other city in Florida. Theft is the most common property crime charge in Florida, particularly in Fort Lauderdale.
Tourists often fall prey to pickpockets, embezzlers, and fraudsters hence the need to keep alert when visiting the northern region of Fort Lauderdale. Burglary is another crime you must look out for if planning to stay in a hotel for more than a day.
You ought to be particularly cautious if visiting and staying in the western neighborhoods of Fort Lauderdale, as the incidence of burglary is pretty high here (1 in 216 people). However, the southeastern region of the city is safer as the chances of becoming a victim of burglary is 1 in 363 people.
Fort Lauderdale is also a prime spot for motor vehicle theft, so you must keep on guard, especially when driving to areas near the western region of Fort Lauderdale.
The most recent data shows Fort Lauderdale reported 925 motor vehicle thefts, an incidence of 51.11 compared to the nation’s 2.37. That’s because most vehicles hardly need keys to drive; rather, they use a fob. And if the driver leaves it in the car, anyone can drive off with it.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Most crimes tend to happen in specific parts of Fort Lauderdale. Research shows the southwest part of the city, which is close to the Oceanfront, is the safest place to visit in Fort Lauderdale.
This region is around Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale Beach, and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Although such areas are protected from extreme crime, you must also look for pickpocketers who tend to linger around tourist areas.
By comparison, the neighborhoods in the northern region of Fort Lauderdale aren’t the safest. They include:
With a crime rate of 11,351 per 100,000 people, Dorsey-Riverbend is one place you want to avoid, especially at night.
Crimes involving break-ins, drug dealings, vandalism, and playing loud banging music throughout the night make this neighborhood unsafe. In fact, stats show residents and tourists alike have a one in nine chance of becoming victims of these crimes.
Although the area is developing into a famous art district in downtown Fort Lauderdale, it’s not the safest place to visit at night. It experiences the highest crime rates, often higher than the national average.
Statistics show there’s a 1 in 9 chance of becoming a crime victim. Its year-over-year crime in Flagler Heights has reduced, but the town is only 2% safer than other Florida cities. Initially, the town was a hotspot for drug cartels due to its prime location.
Along with drug use came other crimes like murder and prostitution as natives looked for ways of survival. The town has since turned around, but you must be cautious when visiting this neighborhood.
Although the crime rate in Durrs Homeowners has reduced over time, the neighborhood remains notorious for violent and property crimes. The town is only 3% safer than other cities in Florida, so you must be extra cautious when visiting.
Moreover, Durrs Homeowners is one of the towns marked as a Special Flood Hazard Area because it’s prone to flooding. More recently, residents in Durrs and other neighborhoods like Edgewood, Southeast Isles, River Oaks, and Progresso experienced floods.
Plans were underway to improve the poor stormwater drainage system in the communities, but it’s best to avoid visiting during the flooding season (June-October).
Things to Consider
Besides safety, you may want to consider other factors like:
- Storms and hurricanes: Fort Lauderdale’s location makes it prone to storms and hurricanes. As such, you must avoid visiting between June and November when hurricanes are most likely to occur, and look out for travel warnings.
- Choose your accommodation carefully: Safety is a significant factor when choosing where to stay and visit, but you also want to know if the area is near popular tourist attractions, whether kid, pet, or family-friendly. Lauderdale-by-the-sea, for example, has the best beach rentals, while hotels near Fort Lauderdale Beach are great for families.
- The weather: The city boasts fantastic weather most days of the year. Temperatures range from 61 to 89 degrees, and there are hardly extreme cold winter months.
- Try classic seafood dishes: Scallops, fish tacos, fresh-caught crab and lobster, and grouper are Floridian staples you must try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the commonly asked questions concerning Fort Lauderdale’s safety:
What is the safest place to visit in Fort Lauderdale?
The parts around Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale Beach, and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea are reasonably safe as long as you visit tourist-friendly places. Also, be sure to keep your valuables and flashy ornaments out of sight.
What makes Fort Lauderdale famous?
The town is known for its beautiful beaches, gondola rides that give it the name the Venice of America, and impressive art and culture.
Are tourists safe in Fort Lauderdale?
Tourists are safe in Fort Lauderdale as long as they visit areas least likely to experience crime — Las Olas, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Is Fort Lauderdale safer than Miami?
Both cities experience crime in equal measure as there are 1 in 15 chances of property or violent crime. However, Fort Lauderdale has more crime reports than Miami. Statistics show Fort Lauderdale’s crime rate is 68 per 1,000 people, while Miami’s is 65 crimes per 1,000 people.
Is Fort Lauderdale a good place to live?
Overall, Fort Lauderdale is an excellent place to live. The warm weather, low cost of living, family-friendly demographic, and central location make it a great place to live.
So, Is Fort Lauderdale Safe?
Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t be written off as an unsafe place to visit — it’s a delicate balance of getting the most out of a place while keeping safe. Tourist-friendly places like Las Olas, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale Beach are the best to visit, but you must avoid walking or strolling at night.
Also, leave flashy valuables at the hotel to avoid falling prey to pickpockets. Follow these tips, and you’ll set yourself up for a safe and memorable trip. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!