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The Florida Bar

South Florida Cities Have Worst Crime

Criminal defense lawyers in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties have plenty to keep them busy: several of the cities in the south Florida metro area have been ranked among the most dangerous in the country, according to a recent report by CQ Publishing. Florida is overrepresented based on the 2007 data, with several south Florida cities ranked in the top 50. Arrests and crime in general in south Florida are high compared to other parts of the country, although Fort Lauderdale and other Broward County cities did not make it into the top 50 most dangerous cities (at number 66, Pompano Beach was the highest). Fort Lauderdale-Dade and Fort Lauderdale Counties were overrepresented, however.

Fort Lauderdale Gardens, Florida was ranked the 13th most dangerous city in the United States, based on 2007 statistics. The national ranking seems extremely high for a town with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. The city defended itself, however, noting that it only started operating its own police force very recently – and in response to those same statistics. Previously, the Fort Lauderdale-Dade police had provided all law enforcement services to the young city. Crime in Fort Lauderdale Gardens has reportedly fallen since the city got its own police department and the city anticipates that the trend will continue.

Fort Lauderdale came in at number 35. Criminal defense experts know that poverty is a major indicator of high crime areas. Fort Lauderdale is more susceptible to arrests and crime due to the relatively high rates of economic disadvantage in the city and other factors. Fort Lauderdale joins a number of other large cities on the list.

Broward was ranked 47th nationally. Interestingly, the data does not account for differing population sizes, which allows a small town like Fort Lauderdale Gardens to achieve an even higher ranking than much larger cities such as Fort Lauderdale and Broward. Broward was the only city in Broward County to be ranked in the top 100.

Fort Lauderdale Beach, the popular tourist destination, was number 50 on this list. The nightclub-filled area has had problems with drugs. Areas with high tourist traffic also tend to see more crime.

Lower on the list, Hollywood, Florida came in at 149, with Clearwater and Melbourne not behind at 171 and 177, respectively. Orlando also made the list, coming in at number 18. Criminal defense lawyers are likely fairly active in central Florida, as well, although the rest of the state fared substantially better than the tri-county south Florida region. Orlando and other tourist destinations often see certain crimes, such as muggings, during the high season.

The rankings are based upon data released by the FBI. The report primarily analyzes major crimes.

An arrest can damage all aspects of your life, including your employment prospects and custody and visitation of your children. If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, contact William R. Moore Criminal Defense law firm, which has experienced south Florida criminal defense lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.

This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

South Florida Cities Make ‘Most Dangerous’ List, WTVJ, November 25, 2008

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