Tampa, Florida is situated along the shores of Tampa Bay on the Gulf Coast side of the Florida Panhandle. With museums, a zoo, the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest, and nearby Busch Gardens, it’s a great place to visit, for sure. But is it a safe place to live?
Every big city has a diverse range of neighborhoods, some safer than others. No one wants to be the victim of any type of crime, right? So before you make an offer on that great deal of a home, it’s a good idea to find out if your new Tampa neighborhood is a dangerous place to live. And if it is, what are some safe alternatives?
Historic Ybor repeatedly shows up as the most dangerous place to live in Tampa. By day, the area fills with tourists who come for its Latin vibe, shopping, and a taste of “Cigar City.” Restaurants, bars, a couple of museums all entice visitors to make a stop here.
While its diversity attracts young professional residents, it is also an area with an increasing homeless population and numerous abandoned buildings. Historic Ybor might be safe during the day, but nighttime is a whole different matter. Its crime rate runs 673% greater than the rest of Tampa.
Just north of Historic Ybor, you’ll find College Hill. College Hill is a relatively small area within the Tampa city limits, but along with the surrounding blocks, it’s one of the most dangerous in Tampa, according to NeighborhoodScout.
In 2019, AreaVibes rated College Hill an F for crime. The area’s total crime is 69% above the national average, with violent crime a whopping 127% over the national number. Property crime is nearly 3 times the rest of Tampa, and there’s a 1 in 24 chance you’ll be a victim of a crime in College Hill.
These two adjoining neighborhoods straddle I-275 and run up against I-4 to the south. About 60% of the residences in this densely suburban area are rentals, most in large, high-rise apartment buildings. Ybor Heights ranks in the bottom third of all Tampa neighborhoods.
The Community Crime map shows a significant number of violent crimes in one month.
Drew Park is a neighborhood on the northwest side of Tampa. It abuts the Tampa International Airport and Al Lopez Field. The median household income is $41,963, but per capita, the average income is $9887. The fact that such a significant number of residents here live below the poverty line ($26,500 for a family of 4) may factor into the crime rate.
Niche ranks Drew Park as #75 out of 86 neighborhoods high in crime. Densely suburban, the majority of homes here are rented rather than owned. The poverty levels may contribute to Drew Park’s 420% greater violent crime rate than the Tampa average.
Yet another neighborhood on the east side of Tampa, Highland Pines carries on that same reputation for dangerous living. There are several parks and schools, which helps give it a B- on the Niche rating. Crime-wise, though, Highland Pines’ crime rate is 314% greater than the rest of Tampa.
According to Crime Grade, Tampa earns an overall C+ for its crime grade. Annually, Tampa sees about 8650 crimes; that’s around 22 per resident. On average, a crime occurs every 7 minutes.
Depending on where you are or live, you have a 1 in 239 chance of falling victim to a violent crime, and a 1 in 48 chance of any kind of crime (property or violent) happening to you. Most crimes in Tampa occur on the east side of downtown, and there are definitely some areas that aren’t safe places to live.
However, there are plenty of communities that are much safer to live in this city and are favorable alternatives to those listed above:
With a crime rate of .93 per 1000 people and a median home price of $635,000, Palma Ceia tops the list of safest neighborhoods in Tampa. Highly rated schools, plenty of nearby shopping and dining earns Palma Ceia an A+ from AreaVibes.
Large million-dollar homes on big lots make this an attractive and safe place to live. Even though it’s close to downtown, Parkland Estates’ crime rate is just 1.89 per 1000 people. It’s kid-friendly and safe for those who can afford the hefty price tag.
Rated by Niche as the #1 place to raise a family, Harbor Island is separated from downtown Tampa by the Garrison Channel. Two bridges give you access to this safe haven where most residents are young professionals, married couples—sans kids—or older adults. A crime rate of 1.06 per 1000 people makes this a super safe alternative in Tampa.
We all want to feel safe in our own homes and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, some areas of Tampa (and all big cities) are less than desirable when it comes to safety. It’s important to know where you should and shouldn’t live in Tampa before you go looking for your next home.