Is Tallahassee, Florida, a safe place to live or visit?
Sunshine state lovers! Throw on your Tommy Bahama shirts and pop open a couple buttons. Because if you’re planning a Tallahassee trip and you’ve been asking yourself, “Is Tallahassee safe?” today, you’re getting your answer.
Florida is renowned worldwide for many things, but you’d probably agree that safety isn’t number 1 on the state’s claims to fame list.
And as always, we’ll provide you with a fair-as-can-be assessment of the city’s safety levels.
But before we start talking about all the facts and figures, you’ll want to know some stuff about Tallahassee, right?
I thought so! Let’s get into it.
Tallahassee, colloquially known as “Tally,” doesn’t exactly pop off the stats charts with its mediocre population numbers—196,169 people as of 2020.
Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville are all better known and have way more people.
But Tallahassee is the state capital. Why-on-earth…?
Tallahassee was founded in 1824 because the two main areas in Florida (St. Augustine, and Pensacola) were 400 miles apart.
This journey was way too dangerous back in the day, so Tallahassee was built right in the middle of the two spots and made the state capital.
Hey, if you haven’t skipped ahead yet, you’re officially a history buff. And we get to fascinate you some more. Yay!
Tallahassee began life as Fort Apalachee, a Spanish fort, in the 17th century.
But before the Spanish laid their fancy boots on the ground here, Paleo-Native Americans roamed the ultra-fertile lands around the area (which are now pretty much uninhabited because of sinkholes… shame!).
And before that, there were dinosaurs. Tons of them. Some of them now live at the Tallahassee Museum.
OK, the history lesson is over.
Today, Tallahassee is famed for its hot and humid summers and mostly mild winters. The hot Floridian climate also brings jungles, swamps, and the wild animals that live in them, like alligators, rattlesnakes, and bears.
And bugs. So many bugs.
Also, Tally is the proud stomping grounds of one of the country’s most successful Division 1 sports programs—the Florida State Seminoles.
And hey, have you ever heard the saying that the further north in Florida you go, the further south you are? Tallahassee is known to have plenty of that small-town southern hospitality you’ve heard all about.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed the setup. Now, is Tallahassee Safe?
Let’s find out.
Tallahassee Crime Rate
How Tallahassee’s Crime Rate Compares to Other Cities
Below you can see two tables.
The first table shows the crime rate (as well as the homicide rate and other information) of Tallahassee and compares it with other cities we analyzed. The source of the data is the FBI reports.
Crime Rate of Tallahassee (Proportional to the Population) Compared to Other Cities
Here the crime numbers are divided by the population and demonstrated as cases per 100,000 habitants, meaning that they are proportional to the number of residents. By clicking on the name of each city, you will find a complete article with their best neighborhoods, areas to avoid, crime rates, etc.
|City||State||Population||Total Criminal Offenses per 100K Resid.||Assaults per 100K Resid.||Homicides per 100K Resid.||Rapes per 100K Resid.||Robberies per 100K Resid.|
|Salt Lake City||UT||205,929||15,723||3,009||9||132||215|
Crime Rate of Tallahassee in Absolute Numbers Compared to Other Cities
|Salt Lake City||UT||205,929||32,378||6,196||19||271||443|
At first glance, the Tallahassee crime rate doesn’t indicate that it’s statistically a very safe city compared to the rest of Florida or the US as a whole. It has a total crime rate of 59% above the national average.
How does one come to that conclusion? Well, you have to take a few things into account; total crime is made up of two factors: violent crime and property crime.
Let’s take a deeper look into both of them.
Violent Crime – Much higher than average
So, we’re kicking things off with arguably the most important crime stat – violent crime. Violent crime consists of not-so-lovely categories like murder, rape, robbery, and assault.
And more than likely, Tallahassee’s numbers in these areas will cause a few raised eyebrows.
According to areavibes.com, Tallahassee’s violent crime rate was 99% above the national average in 2020. That’s a shade under twice the crime rate for the rest of the United States when considering all community types (cities, towns, rural areas, etc.).
It’s also around twice as high as Florida’s crime rate.
So not exactly perfect figures so far. But when you look at some of the US’s most violent cities, like Memphis, TN, St. Louis, MO, and Detroit, MI, Tallahassee falls way below all of them in terms of violent crime (seriously, it’s not even close).
How does Tally fare in the property crime department?
Property Crime – Higher than average
Tallahassee’s property crime numbers are a little rosier than its violent crime figures. But they’re still nothing to write home about. Made up of burglary, theft, and vehicle theft, the city, had a property crime rate of 51% above the national average rate in 2020.
In fact, it was actually ranked as the USA’s 10th worst city for property crime back in 2018.
Motor vehicle theft is another problem in the city. Tallahassee is the city in Florida with the highest rate of auto theft, with 1,345 cars stolen in a single year.
Crime in Tallahassee: The Verdict
So, how bad is crime in Tallahassee?
It appears as though Tallahassee has earned the dubious distinction of being kind of an unsafe place to live in terms of crime statistics.
But as is true with many places around the world with crime issues, it’s probably unfair to make sweeping, generalized statements about a city based solely on stats.
Tallahassee has a lot of beauty and many positive features. Still, the crime rates in some parts of the city are high enough that you should be careful if you’re visiting or moving there.
Now, let’s do a deep dive into the good and the bad and see if we can’t present a balanced picture of ol’ Tally.
Bad Areas of Tallahassee
We don’t want to get into politics here. But you need to know that Florida is very Second Amendment friendly.
Whether you think that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, but firearms are pretty straightforward to purchase in this state, and there are many reports of gun crime in some Tallahassee neighborhoods.
In fact, in many cities, it isn’t easy to find stories about specific violent incidents. But for whatever reason, we had no trouble digging up dirt on Tallahassee.
Make of that what you will.
The Southside of the city is known for having some of the worst neighborhoods in Tallahassee and is notorious for violent crime and gang activity. There have been numerous reports of shootings in recent years – A Tallahassee Reports story about two shooting deaths in 24 hours in 2022 is particularly alarming.
Also, there are many incidences of property crime around Florida A&M University, with students being targeted for theft. In fact, many students have reported feeling unsafe when outside college campuses.
In particular, the neighborhoods around the Orange Avenue, Saxon St., and Holton Street areas are known crime hotspots. So you’d do well to avoid.
The Griffin Heights apartment complex is located northwest of Downtown Tallahassee, close to the Florida State University campus. The residents have been shaken by violent crime over the years, and reports of shootings often seem to pop up all over the media.
In particular, Joe Louis Street, Basin Street, and Texas Street appear to be problem areas that you’ll want to stay away from. No one wants to catch a bullet while they’re on vacation!
Now, how about the best neighborhoods in Tallahassee?
Let’s check them out.
Best Neighborhoods in Tallahassee
When searching for the best places to live in Tallahassee for families, you’ll want some combination of great scenery combined with decent cost-benefit in the safest places in the city. Read on to learn which areas hit that oh-so-sweet spot.
If you’re looking for privacy and security in a fancy community, Golden Eagle is where you should build your nest. This gated community is one of the wealthiest places to live in Tallahassee. It is in the Golden Eagle Plantation on the northeast side of town.
Enjoy some lavish living as you knock back a couple glasses of vintage malt Scotch (or whatever your sauce is) at the Florida Golden Eagle Country Club – a plantation-style clubhouse designed with your utmost comfort in mind.
Then go outside and ping a few balls on that lush green 18-hole golf course while you’re still tipsy. It doesn’t even matter if you win. If you’re playing on this course, you’ve already won.
Communal with a capital “C” is the best way to describe this gorgeous Tallahassee green neighborhood.
We’re talking about communal mini-waterparks, 4th of July fireworks, pool parties, Halloween parties, and neighborhood Christmas get-togethers where everyone joins hands and sings carols around a giant Christmas tree.
Not to mention the A-grade education for your little ones. It’s like something right out of a Disney movie.
The Killearn community comprises 3 districts – Killearn Lakes, Killearn Acres, and Killearn Estates. Got time for a quick rundown on all 3?
If you love nature, you’ll love Killearn Lakes. Some people who visit this place actually mistake it for a state park. And if you move here, you’ll be encouraged not to do a lick of tree trimming to promote a natural North Florida foresty-type vibe. And there are, of course, beautiful lakes for you to lounge by.
Killearn Estates is one of Tallahassee’s most in-demand neighborhoods. It’s clean and green, with nine parks dotted around the subdivision, all with playgrounds and pic-a-nic tables to boot. Southern living at its finest.
Killearn Acres is actually outside of the city limits. As such, it’s actually a little lower cost than the other two Killearns.
But it’s still stunning. It has two pretty parks (available to residents and guests only), a pond for boating and fishing, and a bunch of trails you can hike and bike around all day. If you lived here, why would you ever leave?
Is Tallahassee Safe? Last thoughts.
Despite its shaky reputation in some people’s minds, North Florida definitely possesses tons of beauty. Tallahassee sits close to the border with Georgia and, as such, definitely has more of a Southern feel than South Florida cities like Miami and Orlando.
So, it seems Tallahassee has also inherited a bit of a reputation as just another dangerous North Florida city. And yes, it has its “ghettos” and people struggling to get by in life. And unfortunately, gun violence is a problem here too, albeit one the city is working hard to address.
If you’re looking to visit Tallahassee with your family, please be advised that some areas of the city (the Southside in particular) are pretty dangerous. On the other hand, the northeast side of town is beautiful and a lot safer. So if you’re planning on moving to Tallahassee, relocating to one of the well-to-do neighborhoods could be a great decision on your end.
Other Tips to Make Your Stay in Tallahassee even Safer
Below some additional safety tips:
1st — If you are visiting the city, there are plenty of options in terms of luggage storage, so you don’t need to walk around with your carry-on bags. Reliable, convenient, and inexpensive luggage storage services you can find at Radical Storage.
2nd — Areas surrounding airports and train stations can be dangerous. Book a transfer in advance from the Tallahassee International Airport (or from any station) to your destination and vice versa, so you can avoid scammers and criminals. I often used Get Transfer for that and it always worked fine.
3rd — If you want to walk around and see some historical spots without the risk of getting lost or wasting your time, hire a guide. You can find some amazing and reliable guides and tours at Viator. They will give you insider information about historical facts and curiosities, and also warn you of risky areas to avoid walking into.
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