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


is key west safe

If you are thinking about visiting Key West 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 Key West really is.

Is Key West, Florida Safe To Visit?

Statistically speaking, Key West, Florida is a safe place to visit. In 2020, Key West had a violent crime rate of 400.85 per 100,000 people, which sits near the state and national average. It’s violent crime rate is on par with cities like Austin, El Paso and San Jose.

Key West, Florida Crime Stats

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

2019

2020

Percent Change

Homicide

0

1

Rape

17

23

35%

Robbery

11

17

55%

Aggravated Assault

68

65

-4%

Burglary

72

43

-40%

Larceny/Theft

591

349

-41%

Motor Vehicle Theft

71

58

-18%

Arson

1

2

100%

TOTALS

831

558

-33%

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

Key West’s Violent Crime Stats

In 2020 Key West reported 106 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 400.85 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for violent crime is 398.5 per 100,000 residents. Key West’s violent crime rate is 1% greater than the national average.
  • Key West’s violent crime rate is 4% greater than the state average.
  • Year over year violent crime has increased by 10%.

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

  • Violent crime peaked in 1990 when there were 692 violent crimes reported and the city had a violent crime rate of roughly 3,547.26 per 100,000 people.
  • Violent crime has decreased 85% from it’s 30-year high in 1990.

violent crime in key west 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.

Key West’s Property Crime Stats

In 2020 Key West reported 450 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 1,701.71 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. Key West’s property crime rate is 13% lesser than the national average.
  • Key West’s property crime rate is 4% less than the state average.
  • Year over year property crime in Key West has decreased by 63%.
  • Key West has a similar property crime rate to New York, Irvine and Chula Vista.

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

  • Property crime peaked in 1998 when there were 5,133 property crimes reported and the city had a property crime rate of roughly 26,312.28 per 100,000 people.
  • Property crime has decreased over 91% from it’s 30-year high in 1990.
  • Property crime is at its lowest level in over 30 years.

property crime in key west 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.

Key West’s Murder Stats

In 2020, Key West reported 1 homicide and had a homicide rate of 3.78 per 100,000 people.

  • Key West’s murder rate is 42% less than the national average.
  • Key West’s murder rate is 36% less than the state average.
  • Key West has a similar homicide rate to cities like New York, Seattle and El Paso.

Key West vs The Rest Of Florida

Here’s a graph showing you the violent crime rates of the 18 most populous cities in Florida. Key West’s violent crime rate ranked 12th place among all the cities and is about 2.5x less than Daytona Beach, the city with the highest crime rate on the list.

key west violent crime compared to other florida cities

City

Violent Crime Rate

Propery Crime Rate

Daytona Beach

997.98

2,952.63

Orlando

820.62

3,627.76

Tallahassee

772.80

2,949.50

Pompano Beach

747.01

2,804.21

West Palm Beach

731.59

3,289.19

Miami

720.87

3,533.14

St. Petersburg

686.00

2,648.39

Jacksonville

680.28

2,783.46

Fort Lauderdale

633.62

4,192.38

Pensacola

602.08

2,840.99

Tampa

550.45

1,444.57

Hollywood

354.09

2,166.37

Boca Raton

211.45

2,048.82

Hialeah

200.35

1,726.06

Cape Coral

131.43

1,097.85

Port St. Lucie

128.87

813.27

Pembroke Pines

122.10

1,457.55

Naples 109.86 1,443.89

(Related: The Safest Cities In Florida)

Is Key West, Florida Safer Than Miami?

Statistically speaking, Key West is significantly safer than Miami. Miami’s violent crime rate is 7x higher than Key West. Miami also has a significantly higher property crime rate and murder rate than Key West.

Key West, Florida vs The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Here’s a list of the top 18 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates. Key West’s violent crime rate is 22x less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

key west 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

Are There Any Bad Neighborhoods In Key West, Florida?

There isn’t really any bad neighborhoods in Key West. Key West is a very peaceful and safe community where violent crime is relatively low.

Is Downtown Key West, Florida Safe?

duval street key west

Duval Street is the closet thing to Downtown Key West and is safe to visit during the day and night. Its has a similar vibe to Bourbon St. in New Orleans with tons of shops, restaurants and bars and it is one of the top tourist attractions in the city.

The biggest thing you probably need to worry about is disorderly drunk people and pick pockets. Avoid confrontations with drunk people and keep an eye on your belongings and you should be fine.

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

  1. "Key West is very safe. It’s a party town and outside of a bar fight or theft, I have never heard of anyone having any serious problems."
  2. "Monroe County has the HIGHEST per capita of concealed weapons permits in the state of Florida and an armed populace is a polite society. Having said that, Key West is pretty darn safe."
  3. "Key West is safe, but not as it used to be. I used to be able to leave my door unlocked and not think twice, that is until we were invaded by Dade and Broward residents."
  4. "Generally it is safe and as long as you don’t put your self in a bad situation. Don’t be walking through some random neighborhood at 3am by yourself."
  5. "The biggest concern you should have in Key West is drunk people. The city is full of bars and there are bound to be disputes among drunks no matter where you are."

Is Key West Safe For Women?

While there are no guarantees, Key West is generally safe for female solo travelers.

To mitigate your chances of being a victim you should learn the layout of the city, avoid problem areas, stay in well lit/well populated areas and avoid going to deserted areas at night.

Is Key West Tap Water Safe To Drink?

The tap water in Key West, Florida is safe to drink. The biggest concern with tap water is immediately after a hurricane, which can disrupt the flow of clean water.

While the tap water in Key West meets the EPA health guidelines, it can still contain contaminants present in trace amounts that could potentially cause health issues over the long-run.

If you have any concerns about the tap water in Key West, we suggest that you use bottle water for your drinking needs.

Is Key West Safe From Hurricanes?

Key West is not safe from hurricanes and is actually very susceptible to them, due to its coastal location on the southern tip of Florida.

Since 1871, 25 hurricanes have passed within 75 nautical miles of Key West and 15 of those have been major hurricanes.

Key West averages a direct hurricane hit every 5.96 years and Key West averages a major hurricane hit every 9.93 years.

In 2017, Hurricane Irma touched down on Key West. It forced a mandatory evacuation of all residents and visitors of Monroe County. It destroyed or badly damaged 4,000 homes and more than 1,800 boats.

When is hurricane season in Key West?

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

Is it safe to visit Key West during hurricane season?

It is safe to visit Key West 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 Key West?

Alligators are a rare sighting in Key West, which lacks river, canals, ponds and lakes that alligators like to dwell in.

Crocodiles are also a rare sighting and many residents say they have never seen an alligator or crocodile in their many years of living in Key West.

Tips to stay safe while visiting Key West, Florida

  • Check the weather forecast a few days 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 let your phone or your headphones get in the way of your situational awareness.
  • Stick to well-trafficked and brightly lit areas during the nighttime.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers and always keep an eye on your drink.

A Few Things You Should Do While Visiting Key West According To Locals

  • The Hemingway Home and Museum – A must visit attraction for all Ernest Hemingway fans.
  • Truman Beach Point Trail – A nice trail that runs around the fort and gives you beautiful views.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park – If you’re looking for some history and great snorkeling.
  • Green Parrot – Awesome place to grab a beer or drink.
  • Grab food from Little Pearl, Santiago’s, El Siboney, Blue Heaven, Nine One Five, Garbo’s, Moondog Cafe, Conch Republic or Bagatelles.
  • Rent a scooter – Best way to experience and explore the island

How Dangerous Is Key West?

Key West is not dangerous at all and is a relatively safe city. It’s violent crime rate is on par with the national average and the state average.

Quick Facts About Key West

Fact

Key West, Florida

United States

Population, Census, April 1, 2020

26,444

331,449,281

Population, Census, April 1, 2010

24,649

308,745,538

Black or African American alone, percent

14.0%

13.4%

American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent

0.1%

1.3%

Asian alone, percent

2.0%

5.9%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent

0.1%

0.2%

Two or More Races, percent

1.3%

2.8%

Hispanic or Latino, percent

23.7%

18.5%

White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent

59.6%

60.1%

Foreign born persons, percent, 2015-2019

21.0%

13.6%

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

$611,400.00

$217,500.00

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

$2,949.00

$1,595.00

Median gross rent, 2015-2019

$1,816.00

$1,062.00

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

91.7%

88.0%

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

35.6%

32.1%

Persons  without health insurance, under age 65 years, percent

23.7%

10.2%

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

66.6%

63.0%

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

$69,630.00

$62,843.00

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

$44,387.00

$34,103.00

Persons in poverty, percent

11.3%

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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