Is Pensacola Safe? Everything You Need To Know (Stats, Graphs And Maps)


is pensacola safe

If you are thinking about visiting Pensacola and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

We are going to deep dive into the statistics, look at some maps, graphs and talk to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe Pensacola really is.

Is Pensacola Safe To Visit?

Statistically speaking, Pensacola is a safe place to visit. It’s crime rate is not indicative of an unsafe city. In 2020, Pensacola had a violent crime rate of 602 per 100,000 people and is on par with cities like Seattle, Jacksonville and Portland.

As a tourist, and assuming you will be going to the beach and doing normal touristy things like going to the Naval Aviation Museum or seeing the forts, you should have absolutely no problem while visiting Pensacola.

Most of the crime in Pensacola occurs on the mainland and away from places a tourist would want to see or visit.

Pensacola Crime Stats

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in the city for 2020 compared to 2019:

2019

2020

Percent Change

Homicide

3

5

66.7%

Rape

35

26

-25.7%

Robbery

38

52

36.8%

Aggravated Assault

236

244

3.4%

Burglary

287

191

-33.4%

Larceny/Theft

1,508

1,272

-15.6%

Motor Vehicle Theft

93

80

-14.0%

Arson

3

3

0.0%

TOTALS

2,203

1,873

-15.0%

**All data is from the FBI Crime Data Explorer**

Pensacola’s Violent Crime Stats

In 2020 Pensacola reported 327 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 602 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for violent crime is 398.5 per 100,000 residents. Pensacola ’s violent crime rate is 1.5x greater than the national average.
  • Year over year violent crime has increased by 5%.

Here’s a map showing you how violent crime has trended in Pensacola over a 30 year period.

  • Violent crime peaked in 1992 when there were 892 violent crimes reported and the city had a violent crime rate of roughly 1,519.59 per 100,000 people.
  • Violent crime has decreased over 63% from it’s 30-year high in 1992.

violent crimes in pensacola graph

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Pensacola’s Property Crime Stats

In 2020 Pensacola reported 1,543 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 2,840.99 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. Pensacola’s property crime rate is 1.5x greater the national average.
  • Year over year property crime in Pensacola has decreased by 22%.
  • Pensacola has a similar property crime rate to Sacramento, Las Vegas and Long Beach.

Here’s a map showing you how property crime has trended in Pensacola over a 30 year period.

  • Property crime peaked in 1993 when there were 4,330 property crimes reported and the city had a property crime rate of roughly 7,376.49 per 100,000 people.
  • Property crime has decreased over 64% from it’s 30-year high in 1993.

property crimes in pensacola graph

*Property crimes include; burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson and property crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Pensacola’s Murder Stats

In 2020, Pensacola reported 5 homicides, a 67% increase over 2019, where 3 homicides were reported.

  • In 2020 Pensacola had a homicide rate of 9.2 per 100,000 people.
  • Pensacola’s murder rate is 1.4x greater than the national average.
  • Pensacola has a similar homicide rate to cities like Boston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.

homicides in pensacola graph

Pensacola vs The Rest Of Florida

Here’s a graph showing you the violent crime rates of the 11 most populous cities in Florida. Pensacola’s violent crime rate ranked 8th place among all the cities and is about 1.65x less than Daytona Beach, the city with the highest crime rate on the list.

pensacola vs other florida cities

Pensacola vs The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Here’s a list of the top 17 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates. Pensacola’s violent crime rate is 4x less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

pensacola vs most dangerous cities in the us

City

Number of violent crimes in 2020

Violent Crime Rate

Memphis

15,310

2,418.24

Detroit

14,370

2,248.44

St. Louis

6,017

1,995.17

Little Rock

3,657

1,805.11

South Bend

1,765

1,706.09

Cleveland

6,294

1,689.10

Milwaukee

9,407

1,629.70

Birmingham

3,166

1,577.22

Kansas City

7,919

1,558.58

Lansing

1,699

1,508.29

Springfield

2,545

1,504.35

Baltimore

8,552

1,404.20

San Bernardino

3,033

1,365.59

New Orleans

5,215

1,358.08

Albuquerque

7,552

1,337.68

Oakland

5,653

1,282.89

Stockton

4,023

1,254.04

The Safest Neighborhoods In Pensacola

safest neighborhoods pensacola

  • East Hill
  • Downtown
  • Scenic Heights
  • Creighton Road
  • University Parkway
  • Spanish Trail
  • North Hill
  • Hyde Park
  • Northpointe
  • Cordova Park
  • Gulf Breeze

The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Pensacola

most dangerous neighborhoods pensacola

  • Brownsville
  • West Pensacola
  • Ensley
  • Montclair
  • Brent Park
  • Truman Arms
  • Wedgewood
  • Mayfair
  • West Fairfield
  • Massachusetts Ave

Is Downtown Pensacola Safe?

is downtown pensacola safe

Downtown Pensacola is a generally safe area to visit during the daytime and as long as you stay within main area of downtown.

We recommend that you stay within the vicinity of the downtown area, as the areas get sketchier as you move further away from it.

If you start seeing Alphabet streets (A, B, C, etc), you are headed in the wrong direction.

What do residents of Pensacola say about it’s safety?

  1. "A good rule of thumb in P’cola is anything west of the “alphabet streets” (A, B, C, etc) is probably an area you should avoid."
  2. "Definitely avoid places like Montclair, Mayfair, most of W Fairfield, anything off of Massachusetts Ave, Brentwood Park and Wedgewood."
  3. "Historically, the west side of town is poorer than the east side of town."
  4. "When I hear people calling Pensacola dangerous, I wonder if they have been raised in a suburbian bubble all their lives. Pensacola is not Chicago or Baltimore. It’s nowhere close to that. We have a few sketchy neighborhoods but nothing on par like a true dangerous city."
  5. "Pensacola really isn’t bad compared to other places. My mom lives in Anacostia in DC and no where in Pensacola is even close."
  6. "Night time Pensacola and daytime Pensacola is two different cities. I’ll walk any road here in the day time alone, but at night, no so much."
  7. "The south-west side of town not so great (West of I110 south of I1)."
  8. "Those alphabet streets are literally some of the worst areas of town."
  9. "Stay clear of alphabet soup (any streets that is just a letter)."
  10. "Pensacola is similar to many cities in the south. You can live in a nice and safe neighborhood, but you won’t have to travel very far to buy crack."
  11. "Northeast Pensacola is mostly a good part of town."
  12. "I have lived in Orlando and Miami and I’ve always felt 10 times safer in Pensacola than in any other places."
  13. "Avoid most areas on the west side, especially Brownsville and Ensley. Most cab drivers won’t even go in these areas."
  14. "If you avoid gangs, drugs and prostitution, your chances of becoming a crime victim will be considerably low."
  15. "As a tourist, you will probably want to visit the beach, downtown, and the navy base and those places are all very safe."

Is Pensacola Safe For Women?

Pensacola is safe for female solo travelers, as long as you learn the layout of the city, avoid problem areas, don’t walk alone at night and follow general precautionary measures.

Is Pensacola Safe From Hurricanes?

Pensacola is not safe from hurricanes. Since 1975, Pensacola has been directly hit by 8 hurricanes and many more tropical storms.

Most recently, on Sept. 16, 2020, Pensacola was hit directly by Hurricane Sally, a category 2 hurricane. The hurricane caused significant flooding and damage to the city and resulted in 3 deaths.

If you are concerned about Hurricanes while visiting Pensacola, check out https://www.nhc.noaa.gov beforehand. This is your best resource for tracking and monitoring storms. Another great website is https://spaghettimodels.com.

Is Pensacola’s Water Safe To Drink?

Penascola’s tap water is within EPA’s potable water standards. However it should be noted that about 20 years ago, the ECUA was mixing radium contaminated water with water from other ECUA wells, until the contamination level was within EPA standards and delivering said water to customers. It should be also noted that in the past, Pensacola has been on lists of cities with the worst water.

Here are what some residents think of Pensacola’s water:

  • "I don’t even let my dog drink the tap water here."
  • "The water in Pensacola is super contaminated and one of the worst in the nation."
  • "Here is a website showing you all the contaminants in the water in Pensacola. There’s 81x the healthy amount of radium in the water!"
  • "There are 5 superfund sites in the county. Our ground water is polluted and not safe to drink."

Tips to stay safe while visiting Pensacola

  • Do you research and learn the layout of the city before you visit. Figure out the areas that you should avoid in Pensacola.
  • Check the weather forecast before you visit. Make sure you are not visiting on the eve of a major storm or hurricane landing in the area.
  • Use a VPN whenever you use public Wi-Fi.
  • Do not flash your valuables in the public and don’t carry large amount of cash.
  • Don’t be a walking advertisement. Leave all the fancy watches and jewelry at home. Dress inconspicuously.
  • Always keep an eye on your drink. Don’t accept drinks from random strangers. Only accept a drink if you get it directly from the bartender.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night. There is safety in numbers.
  • Don’t walk down alleys or unlit and desolate areas at night.
  • Avoid drinking from the tap in Pensacola. Opt for bottle water instead.
  • Avoid going to ATMs at night. If you have to use one, find one in a well populated and well lit area.
  • Trust your intuition. If something feels off, it probably is.

Quick Facts About Pensacola

Fact

Pensacola , Florida

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020

54,312

331,449,281

Population, Census, April 1, 2010

51,923

308,745,538

Black or African American alone, percent

28.6%

13.4%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent

0.2%

1.3%

Asian alone, percent

1.5%

5.9%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent

0.1%

0.2%

Two or More Races, percent

5.2%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino, percent

5.2%

18.5%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent

60.0%

60.1%

Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2015-2019

$182,800.00

$217,500.00

Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2015-2019

$1,367.00

$1,595.00

Median gross rent, 2015-2019

$954.00

$1,062.00

High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

92.7%

88.0%

Bachelor’s degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2015-2019

37.2%

32.1%

In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2015-2019

61.3%

63.0%

Median household income (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$50,493.00

$62,843.00

Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2019 dollars), 2015-2019

$33,043.00

$34,103.00

Persons in poverty, percent

17.4%

11.4%

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Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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