Florida : Safety by City
- Amelia Island
- Boca Raton
- Boynton Beach
- Cape Coral
- Cocoa Beach
- Coral Springs
- Daytona Beach
- Deerfield Beach
- Delray Beach
- Everglades City
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Fort Pierce
- Fort Walton Beach
- Key Largo
- Key West
- Lake Buena Vista
- Lake City
- Lake Worth Beach
- Marco Island
- Miami Beach
- Miami Gardens
- Mount Dora
- New Smyrna Beach
- North Port
- Ormond Beach
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Palm Harbor
- Panama City Beach
- Pembroke Pines
- Pompano Beach
- Port St. Lucie
- Punta Gorda
- St. Augustine
- St. Petersburg
- Vero Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
Miami, Florida, is known as the Magic City and sits in the state’s southeastern corner.
Miami is a cultural, artistic, culinary, and shopping destination.
There are several things Miami isn’t.
Miami is a city, but it’s not South Miami, North Miami, Miami Gardens, Miami Springs, or Miami Beach.
Those are all separate cities with their own benefits and drawbacks.
We’ve covered a large section of the great Miami-Dade area, so research those articles because we’re just talking about the city of Miami in this article.
Miami has so many neighborhoods, such as:
- Downtown Miami/Bricknell: The city’s core with a heavy banking presence, but this is no boring banker’s neighborhood. This is a vibrant urban center with arts, dining, shopping, and impressive hotels.
- Little Havana: Get the culture and cuisine of Cuba without having to cross the ocean.
- Little Haiti: A Caribbean neighborhood where Creole is spoken and spicy food is served.
- Wynwood: A hip district with modern art displays and where everything is a canvas for creativity.
- Historic Overton: Live entertainment with soul food fills this neighborhood known as the “Broadway of the South.”
- Design District: A high-end and fashion-forward district where you can see the next generation of – well – everything and some of the hottest designers and artists in the city.
Miami has so much to explore and so many things to do, you might even forget the beach is nearby.
Ok, that’s a stretch, but you’ll be able to see much more than sandy shores.
Warnings & Dangers in Miami
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Perhaps I'm a bit jaded as I've written hundreds of these travel safety articles for you, but I was cringing as I dug into Miami's crime data, expecting to see high crime rates and low clearance rates. Miami has its fair share - and surplus - of crime, but it's not as dangerous as I expected it to be. There's still a medium risk due to various factors, but it's not a place you should be scared to visit.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Download the GO Miami-Dade app to get a full list of the bus, rail, and people movers available. Routes take you around Miami, around the counties, and along the east coast of Florida through Fort Lauderdale and beyond. Taxis and rideshares are readily available, and you can find a car rental easily if you choose. All options come with a medium risk, but nothing you can't overcome with good situational awareness and attentive driving skills.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk here as the city is alive with people at all times of the day, and there's a lot of congestion. Keep your purse or wallet as minimal as possible, and never carry anything that dangles from your shoulder or hand.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Miami faces one of the greatest hurricane risks from June through October. Severe thunderstorms happen almost daily in the summer and can cause heavy rain, flooding, and intense lightning. If it gets cold enough in Miami, you might see a Falling Iguana Advisory. Due to all the potential, there's a medium risk here.
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The robbery rate is 63% higher than the national average, so proceed with caution, especially at night. If you are confronted, don't fight back. Follow instructions and remember as much as you can to be a good witness.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
The port of Miami is a critical part of the U.S. economy, and the large population makes it a medium risk for a terror attack. That risk also means much stronger law enforcement, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security presence too.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
Miami has a medium risk of scams and financial trickery. First, if you are renting a condo or home, make sure the landlord has a rental permit. Speak to them on the phone and ask for a Facetime tour of the property. Do this to verify the person actually exists with access to the property. Rental scams induce tourists to pay hefty deposits via wire transfer, only to find out the property doesn't exist and the landlord is nowhere to be found. You should also watch out for drinks that come with the tip included. On top of the high drink prices (think $20 for a vodka and soda), a tip is automatically added.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women must resist the urge to let go and lose all common sense completely. There are too many people looking to take advantage of a gullible tourist. Never take a drink from someone at a bar, even if they "seem like a nice person." You don't want to risk a drink being drugged. Don't walk around alone at night, and always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
Miami's tap water is safe to drink. You can review the 2021 Annual Water Quality Report to see details of where the water comes from and how it's treated. There were no violations and full compliance with the latest report. Anytime there has been flooding or a hurricane, you should check with the city about water issues.
Safest Places to Visit in Miami
When you visit the Miami tourism site, you will be overwhelmed with options.
It’s smart to look at the different neighborhoods and take them one at a time to see what interests you.
I always like to start my trips with a visit to the museums showcasing the history of where I’m visiting.
It seems to make me more informed and prepared for the places I’m going to explore next.
In that spirit, stop by the History Miami Museum.
This is so much more than a boring museum with placards of explanations.
It’s associated with the Smithsonian, so you know it will be good.
Visit Jungle Island on your way to Miami Beach to get a look at some of the most exotic animals you’ll ever see.
This is a Miami icon that has been here since 1936.
You can pay extra for behind-the-scene tours or animal interactions.
If you’ve never hugged a sloth or hopped with a kangaroo, seize the opportunity here!
Downtown Miami has a newer Ferris Wheel that takes you 176 feet above the ground in climate-controlled vehicles.
You can pay extra for a VIP experience with a glass-bottom floor and skip-the-line access.
Each ride takes 15 minutes but book ahead of time, or else you might end up waiting a while.
When visiting Little Haiti, be sure to see the Cultural Complex to get a look at the history and art of this dynamic community.
While you’re in the area, check out the Miami International Voodoo Museum to learn about this ancient tradition.
The Cultural Marketplace will be a treasure trove of Haitian novelties.
NOTE: Do not visit this neighborhood alone or at night, just to be safe.
Walking tours are available that cover Little Havana and the Art Deco districts.
You’ll see firsthand why Miami is nicknamed the Magic City, and some tours offer cocktail stops along the way.
Coffee lovers shouldn’t miss trying out the unique blend of Cuban coffee.
There are also boating tours on the intercostal and out into the ocean, airboat tours through alligator wetlands, and cruises that take you past Millionaire’s Row to see some of the best waterfront properties in the Miami area.
Look into the Miami Go Pass to get discounts on a variety of popular attractions.
Places to Avoid in Miami
Overtown, Little Haiti, Allapatah, and Model City are some of the neighborhoods that repeatedly come up in lists of places to avoid.
While Little Haiti did make our list above, if it’s not a place you feel comfortable going to or if you are traveling alone, it’s better to avoid it.
Brickell is one of the safer neighborhoods, day or night.
The general consensus about tourist safety in Miami is that if there isn’t a tourist attraction in a certain area, don’t go there.
Some of the most dangerous neighborhoods are just west and north of downtown.
Stay in your tourist zone at all times. Avoid Miami Gardens to the north as well.
If you’re visiting during August, September, or October, be sure you have travel insurance in case a hurricane heads toward Miami.
The city can start to board up, make evacuation plans, and impose curfews several days or even a week ahead of time.
You don’t want to be in Miami during the aftermath of a hurricane anyway.
Being stuck in the heat and humidity without clean water just isn’t fun.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Miami
- Read through the Miami Police Department Annual Report posted on the website. It will give you a better view of the challenges, successes, and safety plans for the previous year and into the new year.
- Store the police department’s non-emergency number in your phone now. It’s (305)579-6111. You should only use 911 for emergency situations.
- The police department has interactive crime mapping updated daily. This is a great resource to search different neighborhoods or hotel locations and see what crimes have happened in the past day, week, or month. This will also help you spot crime trends closer to your visit that aren’t available in the data we have right now.
- Nearly 1800 cars were stolen in Miami in 2021, and a good portion of those were carjackings. It’s important to drive with your doors locked, and windows rolled up, especially at night. When you get to a stoplight, leave enough space between your car and the car in front of you so that you can quickly escape if necessary. If you are involved in a fender bender, don’t get out of the car. Call the police to have someone help you with the next steps. Carjackers can cause a fender bender with the goal of getting you to step out of your car so they can take it.
- Miami Police recommend if you choose to take public transportation, always sit as close to the front of the vehicle as possible, ideally within the eyesight of the driver.
- For questions about the safety of the different neighborhoods, you can contact the police department’s Neighborhood Enhancement Team Officer. There’s a list of the neighborhoods on the department’s website, and when you click on the neighborhood, you’ll get the contact information for the right officer.
- Miami has a free trolley service that goes around the different cultural districts. Trolley rides end at 11:00 pm every day but Sunday, when service ends at 8:00 pm. If you are going to be out after that, make sure you have the information to call a taxi or rideshare. DO NOT try to walk back to a hotel from a nightclub.
- Downtown Miami and Brickell are prone to flooding during heavy rains and can be inundated with water during tropical storms. Just look on YouTube for “Brickell Flooding” or “Miami Downtown Flooding” to see the expensive cars that try to drive through the floodwaters only to stall out and get stuck. Don’t ever drive on a flooded roadway, no matter how many other people are doing it.
- Miami-Dade is near the top of the list for pedestrian accidents and risks. You have to pay attention when walking and crossing the street. Just because you have the right of way doesn’t mean a car is going to stop. Always make sure a driver sees you and is slowing down before you cross. If you are driving, always be prepared for someone to run out in front of traffic. Even if you aren’t at fault, it’s a horrible scene to witness.
- Spring Break is in March and April, and Miami gets even wilder during this time. The city is crowded with college students letting go, and there could be more risks to your safety just because of people making poor choices or acting without consideration of consequences.
So... How Safe Is Miami Really?
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway with easy paths from the hotel to the beach to the entertainment district, Miami isn’t for you.
This is a beautiful yet gritty city, with crimes related to drugs, gangs, illegal guns, sex offenses, and mental health issues.
On top of that, it’s a busy city, seemingly moving at a faster pace than normal life.
You have to be on your guard crossing the street, sitting on the beach, dancing at the club, eating dinner, or even just being outside with potentially severe weather.
You must have a certain degree of toughness to visit here, or else you’ll easily be seen as a mark for criminals.
Confidence and a strong voice will get you out of most trouble that might find you.
Violent crime rates are about 50% higher than the national average, but Miami bucked the trend of growing homicide and violent crime in 2021.
It’s still a dangerous city in some ways, but it’s not as dangerous as it could’ve been had it followed national trends.
The theft rate is very concerning, at nearly double the national average.
It’s also easy to get distracted here, so that makes you more vulnerable to pickpockets or scammers.
The simple truth is, don’t trust anyone who approaches you.
Assume anyone who is trying to be nice is going to attempt a scam.
Please review our article on Miami Beach before you head there, as it comes with very specific safety warnings.
While most of the crime is among people who know each other in the criminal underworld, there are reports of random crimes against tourists for unknown reasons.
You just always have to keep your guard up here.
Oh, and wear sunscreen with a high SPF factor.
The risks of the sun are omnipresent too.
How Does Miami Compare?
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You will need to go through Customs whether you arrive by boat or plane. You'll need a U.S. Travel or Work Visa or a Visa Waiver from the U.S. State Department. With such a highly diverse area, immigration and border patrol are very attentive and strict, so make sure you have all the required documents.
You can only use the U.S. Dollar here, even in the cultural communities. Try to avoid carrying cash because if it gets stolen, you can't trace it. You want to use a credit card as much as possible for fraud protection, so you can review charges daily to ensure you haven't been scammed.
Bring summer clothing, and don't look back. The weather here is warm to hot throughout the year, with a few "Florida Cold" days in the winter. (Florida Cold is when people in the state act like it's below zero when it's actually in the 60s.) You're not going to avoid sweating a lot, so bring extra deodorant and clothing that won't be ruined by sweat stains. This is a fashionable community, so if you plan to enjoy the nightlife, bring some dressy clothing.
Miami International Airport is about 30 minutes from downtown (traffic depending), and you can also fly into Fort Lauderdale, which is about an hour north. (NOTE: If you have a friend or family member pick you up, be sure to mention which airport you are using and then watch them come up with reasons they can't pick you up from Fort Lauderdale. That's "too far" for Miami people.)
Please make sure you get travel insurance for your flight investment, belongings, car rental, and supplemental health insurance for any medical issues. Even a jellyfish sting can send you to urgent care, and there are no free doctor visits here.
Miami Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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