Is West Palm Beach Safe? Everything You Need To Know (Stats, Graphs And Maps)


is west palm beach safe

If you are thinking about visiting West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach really is.

Is West Palm Beach Safe To Visit?

Statistically speaking, West Palm Beach is a moderately safe place to visit. In 2020, West Palm Beach had a violent crime rate of 731.59 per 100,000 people and is on par with cities like Miami, Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

As a tourist, and assuming you will be going to the beach and doing normal touristy things, you should have absolutely no problem while visiting West Palm Beach.

Most of the crime in West Palm Beach occurs west of the US1 and away from places a tourist would want to see or visit.

West Palm Beach Crime Stats

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

2019

2020

Percent Change

Homicide

17

18

6%

Rape

79

76

-4%

Robbery

304

231

-24%

Aggravated Assault

459

538

17%

Burglary

464

452

-3%

Larceny/Theft

3,314

2,967

-10%

Motor Vehicle Theft

453

443

-2%

Arson

18

9

-50%

TOTALS

5,108

4,734

-7%

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

West Palm Beach’s Violent Crime Stats

In 2020 West Palm Beach reported 859 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 731.59 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for violent crime is 398.5 per 100,000 residents. West Palm Beach’s violent crime rate is 1.8x greater than the national average.

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

  • Violent crime peaked in 1990 when there were 1,968 violent crimes reported and the city had a violent crime rate of roughly 2,944.48 per 100,000 people.
  • Violent crime has decreased over 56% from it’s 30-year high in 1990.

violent crimes in west palm beach 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.

West Palm Beach’s Property Crime Stats

In 2020 West Palm Beach reported 3,862 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 3,289.19 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. West Palm Beach’s property crime rate is 1.7x greater than the national average.
  • West Palm Beach’s property crime rate is 1.9x greater than the state average.
  • Year over year property crime in West Palm Beach has decreased by 10%.
  • West Palm Beach has a similar property crime rate to Anaheim, San Jose and Las Vegas.

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

  • Property crime peaked in 1993 when there were 11,233 property crimes reported and the city had a property crime rate of roughly 14,041.25 per 100,000 people.
  • Property crime has decreased over 66% from it’s 30-year high in 1998.

property crimes in west palm beach 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.

West Palm Beach’s Murder Stats

In 2020, West Palm Beach reported 18 homicides, a 6% increase over 2019, where 7 homicides were reported.

  • In 2020 West Palm Beach had a homicide rate of 15.3 per 100,000 people.
  • West Palm Beach’s murder rate is 2.4x greater than the national average.
  • West Palm Beach’s murder rate is 2.6x greater than the state average.
  • West Palm Beach has a similar homicide rate to cities like Daytona Beach, Toledo and Pompano Beach

homicides in west palm beach graph

West Palm Beach vs The Rest Of Florida

Here’s a graph showing you the violent crime rates of the 15 most populous cities in Florida. West Palm Beach’s violent crime rate ranked 5th place among all the cities and is about 1.65x less than Daytona Beach, the city with the highest crime rate on the list.

west palm beach crime vs other florida cities

Is West Palm Beach Safer Than Miami?

Statistically speaking, West Palm Beach is slightly more dangerous than Miami. However Miami does has a slightly greater property crime rate than Miami.

West Palm Beach 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. West Palm Beach’s violent crime rate is 3.2x less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

west palm beach 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

Palm Beach vs West Palm Beach

The City of West Palm Beach and the Town of Palm Beach are two distinct municipalities within Palm Beach County.

West Palm Beach is inland and has a population of about 110,00 people.

The town of Palm Beach is situation along the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of about 8,700 people. It is one of the wealthy areas of the state.

The town of Palm Beach is separated from West Palm Beach by the Intracoastal Waterway to its west.

Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort is located on Palm Beach.

The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In West Palm Beach

most dangerous neighborhoods west palm beach

  • North Tamarind
  • Northwood Harbor
  • Pinewood Park
  • Roosevelt Estates
  • Westgate
  • Windsor Ave
  • 45th & Haverhill
  • Mangonlia Park
  • Riviera Beach
  • Progressive North West

Is Downtown West Palm Beach Safe?

is downtown west palm beach safe

Downtown West Palm Beach is generally a safe area to visit. At night make sure to stay within the boundaries of the Downtown area. City Place and Clematis St. are generally safe areas, but you should avoid going too far west. If you see Tamarind ave, you’ve gone too far, turn around.

What do residents of West Palm Beach say about it’s safety?

  1. "I have lived in West Palm Beach for a few years now with no problems. Something to keep in mind is that it gets nicer the further east you go."
  2. "Sick east of US1 if you want safe."
  3. "Stick to the beach and stick to the tourist attractions and you should be fine."
  4. "Anything along A1A is pretty safe."
  5. "Some parts of West Palm are really nice. But some areas become super sketchy fast."
  6. "The only truly ‘sketchy’ parts is the area east of Tamarind, North of Palm Beach Lakes Blvd, South of Northwoods."
  7. "West Palm has areas that are very nice and areas you definitely want to avoid. It is just like any other city."
  8. "Palm Beach is a small community situated on the coastlines with lots of wealthy families. West Palm Beach is a large city with pockets of poverty."
  9. "Whatever you do, don’t drive north to Riviera Beach."

Is West Palm Beach Safe For Women?

West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach Tap Water Safe To Drink?

As of June 1, 2021, the water in West Palm Beach was not safe to drink. Low levels of the toxin, cylindrospermopsin, was detected in the water on May 3.

Cylindrospermopsin can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea as well as liver and kidney damage.

The city noted that the water could be safely used for showering, bathing, washing hands, washing dishes, flushing toilets, cleaning and doing laundry. However for young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers, animals, people with pre-existing liver conditions, and those receiving dialysis treatment should not drink the water.

Suffice to say, we do not recommend that you drink the tap water while visiting West Palm Beach.

Is West Palm Beach Safe From Hurricanes?

West Palm Beach is not safe from hurricanes and is actually very susceptible to them, due to its location on the south-eastern tip of Florida.

Since 1871, West Palm Beach has been directly hit by 14 hurricanes and many more tropical storms.

On September 10, 2017, West Palm Beach was hit directly by Hurricane Irma, which necessitated evacuation of coastal areas of the city. The hurricane caused $2.5 billion in damage to the state of Florida.

When is hurricane season in West Palm Beach?

Hurricane season in West Palm Beach officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The peak of hurricane season is mid-August to mid-October.

Is it safe to visit West Palm Beach during hurricane season?

It is safe to visit West Palm Beach during hurricane season, as long as you don’t visit when a hurricane is about to hit! Fortunately there is usually adequate warning when a hurricane is brewing in the area.

Check out https://www.nhc.noaa.gov before you visit. This is your best resource for tracking and monitoring storms. Another great website to check out is https://spaghettimodels.com.

Are There Alligators In West Palm Beach?

In the state of Florida, if there’s a river, canal, ponds, lake, river or even pools, there’s probably a gator.

Most alligators tend to stay away from humans, however they will snatch your dog if given the chance.

Luckily, they don’t live in the ocean (salt water), so you shoudn’t have to worry about alligators stalking you when you swimming in the Atlantic.

Tips to stay safe while visiting West Palm Beach

  • Research the city before you arrive. Learn which areas to avoid and don’t book accommodations in those areas.
  • Check the weather forecast before you arrive. Make sure you are not arriving when there is a hurricane about to touch down on the city.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t leave your valuables in your car or in plain sight in your car. Stash them in the trunk.
  • Don’t walk around alone at night.
  • Don’t walk around deserted areas, especially at night. Stay in well lit and populated areas.
  • Don’t be a walking advertisement. Don’t show off your new expensive watch or flashy jewelry.
  • Avoid confrontations with the homeless. Don’t engage with them and keep walking.

A Few Things You Should Do While Visiting West Palm Beach

  • Loggerhead Marine Life Center – Cool research/rehabilitation center for sea turtles and a very unique experience.
  • Howleys – A great American diner.
  • Havana Restaurant – Awesome Cuban food.
  • Hike The Hog Hammock Trail.
  • Clematis Street has a good number of bars, clubs, restaurants.
  • City place has shopping, restaurants, comedy club and a theater.
  • Ride or walk the Lake Trail on the west side of Palm Beach Island.
  • Get food or drinks at the Grandview Public Market.

How Dangerous Is West Palm Beach?

West Palm Beach is not dangerous on the level of St. Louis or Memphis , nor is it safe on the level Cape Coral or Pembroke Pines. It sits comfortably in the middle.

If you have never left the confines of a suburban bubble, you might find West Palm Beach outside of your comfort zone. However most travelers can agree that West Palm Beach is a relatively safe place to visit.

Quick Facts About West Palm Beach

Fact

West Palm Beach, Florida

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020

117,415

331,449,281

Population, Census, April 1, 2010

99,919

308,745,538

Black or African American alone, percent

34.4%

13.4%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent

0.1%

1.3%

Asian alone, percent

2.1%

5.9%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent

0.0%

0.2%

Two or More Races, percent

2.1%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino, percent

25.1%

18.5%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent

37.3%

60.1%

Foreign born persons, percent, 2015-2019

27.8%

13.6%

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

$251,700.00

$217,500.00

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

$1,654.00

$1,595.00

Median selected monthly owner costs -without a mortgage, 2015-2019

$687.00

$500.00

Median gross rent, 2015-2019

$1,303.00

$1,062.00

Language other than English spoken at home, percent of persons age 5 years+, 2015-2019

33.2%

21.6%

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

86.6%

88.0%

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

34.4%

32.1%

Persons  without health insurance, under age 65 years, percent

19.2%

10.2%

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

64.4%

63.0%

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

$54,334.00

$62,843.00

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

$33,839.00

$34,103.00

Persons in poverty, percent

16.6%

11.4%

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, West Palm Beach , Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

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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