As gorgeous as our weather can be in the Tampa area, the Sunshine State has a dark underbelly. Florida attracts all types of people, and sometimes when so many cultures and attitudes come together in a single place, violent crimes occur. Crimes of violence can include anything from assault or battery to firearms offenses and even certain sex crimes. Unfortunately, when compared to other states, Florida is something of a hotbed for such crimes.
Even more unfortunately, the media focuses considerable attention on pointing this out. For example, a recent list of the 100 “most dangerous” cities in the United States included eleven Florida cities – none in the Tampa area. A more recent study that was released by WalletHub ranked states according to their “safety.” In assigning a safety score, the researchers looked at a number of factors, including road safety, workplace safety and the state’s emergency preparedness.
Florida’s overall score was 39.38, making it, ostensibly, the fifth least-safe state in which to live. One of the factors dragging down the Sunshine State’s ranking was its score on the “personal and residential safety” criterion. In this category, Florida ranked 40th overall. This criterion considered more than a dozen factors but gave double weight to several of them.
Among the factors receiving double weight – and affecting Florida’s ranking, in particular – were the per capita numbers of murders and non-negligent manslaughters, forcible rapes, assaults and sex offenders. This list, as most others available online, should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Florida is still a beautiful state and many violent crimes have explanations, such as self-defense, protecting one’s property or coming to the aid of others. Good people get charged with bad crimes. And that is why there are defense attorneys.