Planning to visit Gainesville, FL? Considering moving to Gainesville and not sure if it’s right for you? One of the biggest concerns you may have is crime. After all, Florida cities tend to have high crime rates compared to other major cities. While the Gainesville crime rate may seem high compared to the national average, looks can be deceiving! Most communities in Gainesville are actually very safe with little crime as long as you know the bad areas of Gainesville to avoid and take reasonable steps to protect yourself.
Here’s what you want to know about crime in Gainesville, how it compares, the safest places to live in Gainesville, and the neighborhoods to avoid.
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Understanding the Gainesville Crime Rate
When you see city crime rates, it’s important to know what the numbers mean and what types of crimes are considered so you can effectively assess your level of risk. Crime rates are used to compare crime to the national average and between cities and they’re expressed as a per-capita amount of crime. That means the number of crimes per 100,000 people.
These crime rates all come from the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (2019). They are based on 8 index crimes, including property crime and violent crime. Index crimes are well tracked among all cities, well researched, and considered serious. Most offenses are not included in these crime rates like public intoxication, drug offenses, disorderly conduct, and simple assault.
In addition to the Gainesville crime rates below, you may also find it helpful to check a Gainesville crime map to compare neighborhoods within the city. You can use this Gainesville crime map to see crime in Gainesville reported by the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
Crime Rate in Gainesville vs National Average Crime Rate
To understand the scale of crime in Gainesville, you can start by comparing it to the national average. The national crime rate is:
- 2,580 total crimes per 100k people
- 2,362 property crimes per 100k people
- 382 violent crimes per 100k people
What is the crime rate in Gainesville, FL?
- 4,175 total crimes per 100k people
- 3,488 property crimes per 100k people
- 687 violent crimes per 100k people
You have a 1 in 24 chance of being the victim of crime living in Gainesville, FL.
While the Gainesville crime rate is much higher than the national average, it helps to compare it to other major cities. For instance, its crime rate is comparable to Miami and Dallas but 68% higher than Tampa. However, Gainesville has 21% less crime than Cincinnati and a whopping 42% less crime than Salt Lake City, Utah!
The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) has a case closure rate well above the national average in every category.
Overall, crime in Gainesville dropped 8.4% from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020.
Violent Crime in Gainesville
In 2019, there were 928 violent crimes in Gainesville. This included:
- 588 aggravated assaults
- 185 robberies
- 153 rapes
- 2 homicides & non-negligent manslaughter
You have a 1 in 146 chance of being the victim of violent crime in Gainesville. The Gainesville murder rate is 1 murder per 100,000 people. That’s far below the national average of 5 homicides per 100,000 people.
Gainesville violent crime increased 3.9% from 2018 to 2019. The biggest increase was in robberies, up 26%.
During the first half of 2020, the Gainesville Police Department reported five murders, up from just one in 2019 during the same time period. However, reported rapes declined from 80 to 58 during this period.
Across all of Alachua County, there were 1,591 domestic violence incidents in 2019. It’s important to note that a large share of violent crime in Gainesville is domestic violence which means the victim knew the attacker and they were not random crimes. About one-third of aggravated assaults in Alachua County were domestic violence.
Property Crime in Gainesville
In 2019, there were 4,712 property crimes in Gainesville. This included:
- 3,803 larceny or theft
- 501 burglaries
- 408 car thefts
- 6 arsons
You have a 1 in 29 chance of being the victim of property crime in Gainesville.
Gainesville property crime increased 9.4% from 2018 to 2019. The biggest increase involved car thefts which rose 19% and thefts from unlocked cars (up 9.5%).
Dangerous Areas of Gainesville
A lot of the crime in Gainesville is concentrated in just a few neighborhoods. The following are some of the bad areas of Gainesville with high crime rates.
University of Florida Campus
In 2019, UF reported 379 safety-related incidents involving students, more than almost any other U.S. college or university that reports safety and crime data. Most incidents involved sexual assault, car theft, stalking, fondling, and aggravated assault.
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Tower Road Corridor & “Mike Zone”
This area is known for a high rate of crime. There are 15 apartment complexes within just a few miles along the Tower Road corridor. Majestic Oaks and Tower Oaks average more police calls than any other complexes in the corridor: 5 police calls on average per unit per year! The most common non-medical police calls are disturbances, domestic disturbances, and armed disturbances which account for 11% of all calls. Assault, battery, burglary, sexual assault, gunshots, and stabbings are also fairly frequent.
The “Mike Zone,” as it’s called by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Department, includes some of the poorest neighborhoods in Gainesville and it has more crimes than anywhere in unincorporated Alachua County.
The Mike Zone includes:
- Harbor Cove
- Holly Heights/Gordon Manor
- Linton Oaks
- Tower Oaks
- Majestic Oaks
Among the crimes that occur here more frequently than anywhere else in the county are: murder, attempted murder, shootings, sexual assault, robbery, assault, burglary, and domestic disturbances.
There are also high-crime areas just outside the Mike Zone including the Arredondo Farms mobile home village.
While one of the most dangerous places to live in Gainesville, this area often goes unnoticed by others in the community because the Tower Road corridor is best known for a handful of affluent communities like Haile Plantation.
Safest Neighborhoods in Gainesville
Don’t be fooled by the high crime rate in Gainesville; most crime is concentrated in the areas above. Gainesville is a safe place to live with many safe neighborhoods for families, singles, retirees, and young professionals. Here are some of the safest Gainesville neighborhoods to explore.
- Haile Plantation. While located in the Tower Road corridor, Haile Plantation is one of the most desirable places to live in Gainesville. It’s home to miles of trails, an equestrian center, a downtown village, great schools, and over 2,600 households.
- Oakmont. This is one of the best Gainesville neighborhoods for families! This master-planned community in Southwest Gainesville features a new clubhouse with a gym, playground, beach entry pool, tennis courts, and more.
- Newberry Oaks. Want to avoid an HOA while still living in a safe Gainesville community? This neighborhood is right by the Equestrian Showcase with newer homes and excellent schools.
- Carol Estates. This neighborhood is a good choice if you want safety, convenience, and affordability. The homes are a bit older but you’re just a few miles from UF and the UF Health Shands Hospital.
Gainesville Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Gainesville
- Students should be extra vigilant on the UF campus. You can use the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol (SNAP) for safe transportation home at night. The University of Florida Police Department offers these campus safety tips.
- Make sure you always lock your car doors, especially parking in apartment complexes or parking structures. A great deal of property crime in Gainesville involves theft from unlocked cars.
- Lock your door at night and invest in window locks and exterior lighting to reduce the risk of burglary.
Gainesville Police Department
- Chief of Police: Tony Jones
- Sworn officers: 298 (90 civilian personnel)
- Non-emergency number: (770) 534-5252
- Address: 701 Queen City Pkwy, Gainesville, GA 30501
The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) is a community-oriented police department with three bureaus:
- Operations Bureau with Patrol and Patrol Support
- Youth and Community Services Bureau focusing on crime prevention, school policing, and initiatives like the Disproportionate Minority Contact Initiative
- Investigations Bureau which includes the Criminal Investigations Division, Special Investigations Division, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Forensic Crime Unit
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Gainesville Crime Rate FAQ
Is Gainesville, FL safe?
Gainesville is a safe place to live outside of just a few dangerous areas. It has a very low murder rate with most crime easily preventable.
What is the crime rate in Gainesville, Florida?
The Gainesville crime rate is 4,175 crimes per 100,000 people. The property crime rate is 3,488 crimes and the violent crime rate is 687 crimes per 100,000 people.
What are the bad areas of Gainesville, FL?
The “Mike Zone” which includes the many apartment complexes along the Tower Road corridor is the most dangerous place in Gainesville. The University of Florida also has a high rate of on-campus crime.
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly high crime rate in Gainesville. This beautiful Alachua County city offers a great quality of life, family-friendly amenities, and tons of fun, safe neighborhoods with crime largely confined to one or two areas. Ready to see for yourself what Gainesville has to offer? Call 2 College Brothers today to request a free Gainesville moving quote to get started.