Florida : Safety by City
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- Vero Beach
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Park
At the first blush of the Florida eastern coastline, you might miss Vero Beach.
It’s a small town with not even 17,000 people calling it home.
One of them is famed recording artist Gloria Estefan.
Vero Beach, Florida, just gets more interesting from there.
First, there’s the history of shipwrecks, one loaded with so much gold and silver it spawned the nickname of this region as The Treasure Coast.
Another so close to shore you can actually see it, and for the more curious among travelers, can scuba dive at the final resting place.
Then true crime junkies will love the story of a serial killer who worked his way through this remote section of Florida taking victim after victim until one young boy was brave enough to bust the bad guy.
Ghost hunters won’t want to miss the dinner and a ghost tour, complete with video proof that ghosts do exist here.
What Vero Beach offers in modern-day life is a more distanced beach destination from the hustle and bustle of Miami to the south and Jacksonville to the north.
There’s a Disney getaway that doesn’t have nearly the crowds of the Orlando theme park.
You can see wildlife in the sea, on land, and in the sky.
This is a place where history, culture, and natural beauty thrive.
Despite the wayward ghost sighting, it’s also a pretty safe place to visit as well.
Warnings & Dangers in Vero Beach
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk with crime rates lower than the national average in all categories and more wildlife species than people on any given day. There are times of the year when the weather can get tricky, but not without adequate notice.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
It's safe to hop in a taxi here as long as you see the city-issued permit. Ridesharing might not be as available as in other big cities, but it's an option. Indian River County, where Vero Beach is located, as the GoLine which is free bus transportation to set locations in the county. There's a low risk here.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There were no pickpocket or purse snatching reports in 2020 according to crime data from the Vero Beach Police Department. That's the lowest risk possible. The chance of theft is at one in 86. The majority of thefts were in cars, so be sure to lock the car with no belongings in plain sight.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Part of the pirate history that defined The Treasure Coast was due to a major hurricane that sunk ships, and hurricanes can still happen on this stretch of coastline. The hurricane season is June through November. There's a medium risk during this time, and severe thunderstorms can also happen year-round.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were only 6 robberies in Vero Beach in 2020 and half of those were in a residence. That's a one in 2725 chance of being a victim. There's a very low risk of being mugged here.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Cape Canaveral is an hour north of Vero Beach, and that might be a big target for terrorists. While Vero Beach itself has a low risk, due to the fallout impact of an attack at the Cape, we'll call it a medium risk.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
The biggest scam to watch out for here is card skimmers on gas pumps and ATMs. The Vero Beach Police Department has a warning guide on its website to show people what to look out for when using a machine. Given how many tourists come through this area and need cash and gas, we'll call it a medium risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Despite the history of a serial killer targeting women in this area, that was a long time ago and the killer has been executed. There's no modern-day worry for women. There's a low risk, providing you follow basic safety guidance like not walking around alone at night in dark alleys, and there are a lot of dark places in this community.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The latest Vero Beach water quality report says the water is of "excellent quality" when compared to state and federal safety standards. There's a low risk when using it for drinking or bathing.
Safest Places to Visit in Vero Beach
Vero Beach is a great place to go if you like the outdoors.
Most of the activities here are built around water and wildlife.
There is also a tale of two cities in Vero Beach.
North Hutchinson Island is upscale, with multi-million dollar homes and upscale shopping and dining right on the beach.
The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is in this region.
Gloria Estefan’s beachside mansion is just across the road from part of the wildlife refuge on Florida Highway A1A.
You won’t even notice it from the road with all the trees and a simple brown gate if you aren’t looking for it.
Due east of the Costa d’Este resort is the shipwreck of the S.S. Breconshire.
The iron screw steamer ran aground in 1894 and has been there ever since.
At low tide, you might see the bow sticking up out of the water, but several scuba tours will take you to the shipwreck and get an up-close look.
For more shipwreck history, go to the McLarty Treasure Museum.
There you can learn about the 1715 Spanish treasure fleet that sank during a hurricane, sending thousands of people and tons of treasure into the water.
You might remember the 2008 movie Fool’s Gold with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson looking for sunken treasure from the 1715 fleet.
While some scavengers still hope to find some of the treasure washed ashore from the wreckage, most of it was cleaned out in the days and months following the sinking.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort brings the magic of Disney without the crowds of Disney World and is a safe family-friendly destination.
The mainland of Vero Beach isn’t quite as expensive as the beachfront areas and offers other historical sites such as the Indian River Citrus Museum and the Hallstrom House Pineapple Plantation.
Places to Avoid in Vero Beach
Crime maps show the central part of the inland portion of this community has the highest crime rates, but again, remember how low those crime rates are.
There hasn’t been a homicide in this community in two years.
- Violent Crime: 1 in 481 chance
- Robbery: 1 in 2725 chance
- Theft: 1 in 86 chance
- Aggravated Assault: 1 in 605 chance
There are times of the year you might want to avoid Vero Beach due to crowd sizes.
The winter brings the snowbirds (senior citizens who live in Florida half the year to avoid brutal winters up north) and the beaches and restaurants can get crowded.
Fall brings smaller crowds, but August through October is the height of hurricane season.
The snowbirds go home after Easter, so between Easter and June is a great time to visit as well, because hurricane season doesn’t start until June 1 and the tropics usually don’t get fired up until later in the summer.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Vero Beach
- No Florida law says you have to be certified to go scuba diving, but some vendors might require it. You can start the learning process online long before your trip, so you are ready to go when you arrive. In the name of safety, we ask you to get scuba certified.
- You will need a fishing license if you want to catch some fish. There is a separate license for freshwater and saltwater. This is another process that can be done online through the Florida Fish and Wildlife website.
- There is a lot of wildlife to see here. Never feed any animal under any circumstances. You could hurt the animal and you could get hurt as more animals come to you for food.
- The Vero Beach Police Department sends out safety alerts on social media channels. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube before you arrive so you can keep up with any crime trends.
- According to the annual report from Vero Beach Police, the time of day most like to get into a traffic accident is between 11:00 a.m and 3:00 p.m. While this is a small town, the big crowds of tourists can cause traffic problems. Follow all traffic safety rules and take your time.
- If a hurricane watch or warning is issued, you’ll want to leave town. While Floridians are notorious for “riding out the storm,” tourists don’t realize the dangers that can come during and after a storm. When a hurricane is bearing down, the police do not respond to calls. After a storm, there is a risk of being without clean water and power for days.
- The Piper Aircraft Factory is located in Vero Beach, and there are tours available where you can see the actual manufacturing lines for modern-day airplanes. This tour is extensive and requires a lot of walking, so wear sturdy shoes. You’ll also go up and down a lot of stairs while you’re here.
- If you visit the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, bring boots. This area can get muddy and your sandals are going to be ruined if you try to trek through it in those.
- With so many outdoor activities, sunscreen is a must. A Florida sunburn can leave you bedridden for days if you don’t plan. Bring waterproof (you are going to sweat a lot) sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Re-apply often.
- The Indian River Citrus Museum offers a chance to pick your citrus fruit. This is one of the best citrus areas in all of Florida. You should eat what you can while you are there because there are strict regulations on what food can be transported on airlines or shipped via mail.
So... How Safe Is Vero Beach Really?
Not only are the crime rates in Vero Beach low, but they are also going down.
In 2020, violent crime was down 38% and property crime was down 28%.
There were 741 traffic crashes in Vero Beach in 2020, punctuating the point we made earlier about being an attentive and careful driver.
Two people died in those crashes and 10 of the incidents involved pedestrians.
There are inherent dangers of being in ocean waters, such as riptides, jellyfish, stingrays, and the occasional shark sighting.
If you aren’t trained in scuba diving or snorkeling, take a lesson ahead of time for safety.
How Does Vero Beach Compare?
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- Visas - The Visa check will happen at your preferred airport or port of entry. You don't need anything but a legal ID to be in Vero Beach if you plan on driving, drinking, or renting a boat.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the currency here. You'll need credit cards or cash to pay for access to the many attractions here.
- Weather - Temperatures here rarely get below the 50s. You'll enjoy a mild climate but be warned—summers can be oppressively hot and humid and the water temperature in the ocean warms up too, leaving little room for relief. Highs hit the 90s in the summer and the 70s in the winter. The rainy season is June through October, so bring rain gear.
- Airports - There is no commercial airport in Vero Beach. The closest airport is in Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB), about 45 miles away. This is not to be confused with the Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is 100 miles away. The Palm Beach Airport is 82 miles south.
- Travel Insurance - The weather just brings too many variables to book this trip without travel insurance.
Vero Beach Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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