With a population increase of over 12% in the past decade, Ocala is quickly becoming one of the most popular Florida cities for families, retirees, and young professionals. Known as the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala is home to more than 400 thoroughbred farms and hosts many races throughout the year. If you are thinking about moving to Ocala, then you may be curious about how safe the city is for you and your family.
Ocala was recently ranked as one of the top 20 most dangerous cities in Florida, which has many people wondering, is Ocala, Florida a safe place to live? Although the crime rates are high, there are steps being taken to get the city back on track and keep the residents safe. Here’s a detailed look into the Ocala, FL crime rate.
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Understanding the Ocala FL Crime Rate – How Crime Rates Are Calculated
Is Ocala, FL safe? The first step to answering this question is to analyze the Ocala, Florida crime rate. Crime rates come from the FBI and are based on data that is collected from law enforcement agencies across the country. To calculate crime rates, the FBI takes the total number of crimes in a given area and divides it by the total population of the area. They then multiply this number by 100,000. This is why crimes are reported as “X crimes per 100,000 people.” This makes it easier to compare crime rates across different cities.
Ocala, Florida crime statistics can be helpful at times, but there are many ways that this system fails. The FBI actually discourages the use of crime rates to compare cities, metro areas, and states. Crime rates can be misleading and are city-wide. They give no insight into your risk of crime in one neighborhood compared to another. Ocala has an area of nearly 50 square miles, and some of those areas are safer than others. Crime rates do not explain the fact that different neighborhoods (or even different streets) can have different levels and types of crime. In many cities, less than 10% of the city’s total area can account for half of all violent crime.
It is also important to note that the FBI switched reporting systems in 2021. The new reporting system is much more detailed and requires more work on the end of law enforcement agencies. Because of this switch, nearly 40% of police departments did not submit crime data in 2021. This could lead to an inaccurate decline in crime in many areas. On the other hand, cities that did switch to the new system could show a misleading rise in crime rates as the new system collects data on more crimes.
What Is the Ocala Crime Rate?
Now that you know how crime rates are calculated, let’s take a look at the crime rate in Ocala, FL.
Ocala, FL Crime Rate:
- Overall crime: 3,834 crimes per 100,000 people (78.1% higher than state average and 63.4% higher than national average)
- Violent crime: 674 crimes per 100,000 people (75.7% higher than state average and 73.8% higher than national average)
- Property crime: 3,160 crimes per 100,000 people (78.6% higher than state average and 61.4% higher than national average)
As you can see, the crime rate in Ocala, Florida is higher than both the Florida crime rate and the national crime rate. Although these numbers may be alarming at first, Ocala is a safe place to live. Most of the crime is committed in a few areas where there is more nightlife and gang activity. Ocala has a very lively downtown area, which accounts for a lot of the city’s crime due to crime in the area after dark. As long as you are aware of your surroundings and stay out of high-crime areas, staying safe should not be an issue.
It was also reported in the Police Department’s annual report that Ocala experienced a 9.94% reduction in overall crime from 2021 to 2022.
Ocala Crime Map & Crime Reports
One great way to assess crime in the area is to take a look at an Ocala crime map. The Ocala, FL crime map below gives a good picture of crime in Ocala. The red and orange areas represent higher-crime neighborhoods, while the yellow and green areas represent lower-crime neighborhoods.
As you can see, most of the crime in Ocala, Florida is concentrated in a few areas. Once you get out of Downtown Ocala, the crime drops drastically.
You can also check out Ocala crime reports live on the police department’s website. With this Ocala crime map, you can see where crimes are committed as they happen.
Violent Crime in Ocala
Violent crime includes Ocala shootings, murder, homicide, assault, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping.
- Ocala murder rate: 5 per 100,000 (15.3% lower than state average and 23.6% lower than national average)
- Ocala violent crime rate: 674 crimes per 100,000 people (75.7% higher than state average and 73.8% higher than national average)
- Chance of becoming a victim of violent crime in Ocala: 1 in 148
As you can see, Ocala, Florida murders are lower than both the state and the national average, while overall violent crime in Ocala is higher than the state and national average. The Ocala Police Department has many programs and resources to prevent violent crime, such as domestic violence, child safety, and sexual violence.
According to the Ocala Police Department’s 2022 Annual Report, the city experienced a 17% decrease in violent crime from 2021 to 2022. The overall violent crime rate in Florida has also been on a steady decline for the past few decades. Violent crime arrests have dropped by 49.5% since 1990.
Property Crime in Ocala
Property crimes include burglary, theft, larceny, motor vehicle theft, arson, vandalism, and shoplifting.
- Ocala property crime rate: 3,160 crimes per 100,000 people (78.6% higher than state average and 61.4% higher than national average)
- Total property crimes (2020): 1,936
- Chance of becoming a victim of property crime in Ocala: 1 in 32
Although property crimes are frustrating, it is important to remember that they are not generally a threat to your safety. 1,663 of the 1,936 property crimes in Ocala during 2020 were categorized as theft. Theft can be prevented by locking up your valuables and parking your car in safe, well-lit areas.
Dangerous Areas of Ocala
There are a few bad areas in Ocala that are best to avoid if you can. Most of the high crime areas of Ocala are centered around the downtown area. The City Center is generally safe during the day, but there are many bars and nightclubs in the area, which can lead to an uptick in crime after dark. Both Toms Park and Northside Park are popular areas for residents and tourists to explore throughout the day, but at night, these areas become sparsely populated and are not safe to walk through alone.
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Located in southern downtown, Tuscawilla Park is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Ocala. There are many car break-ins reported in this area, as well as gang activity after dark.
Safest Neighborhoods in Ocala FL
All of the safest neighborhoods in Ocala, FL are outside of the downtown area. The Camp Roosevelt area is located just a few miles from the City’s Center but is a very safe place to live. This Ocala neighborhood is within walking distance of the top-rated Shady Hill Elementary School as well as the popular Country Club of Ocala.
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Another one of the safest Ocala neighborhoods is Fore Ranch. This HOA community offers affordable houses and provides residents with amenities such as a fitness center and a swimming pool.
Ocala Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Ocala FL
Here are just a few tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of Ocala, Florida crime.
- Consider installing a security system to protect your home and your family.
- Don’t leave your valuables in your vehicle.
- Stay safe when traveling in the downtown area, especially on high-crime streets such as E Fort King Street and SE 39th Avenue.
- Be aware of your surroundings on public transportation.
- Try not to walk alone, especially at night.
- Consider carrying pepper spray.
- Plan out your route before you travel.
- Lock your doors immediately after getting into your home or vehicle.
- Don’t hide your house keys outside.
- Walk on well-lit streets and avoid alleyways or wooded areas.
- Don’t carry large sums of money or wear valuable jewelry.
- Don’t accept any rides from strangers.
- Ensure that you have the phone number of the local police department.
- If you are on a campus such as the College of Central Florida Ocala Campus, make sure you know the phone number of the college police.
- Increase lighting around your home.
Lastly, make sure you trust your instincts. Don’t go anywhere you feel unsafe and use your best judgment.
Ocala Police Department
The Ocala Police Department was established in 1869 when the city elected Burrell Dawkins as the Town Marshal. Today, the OPD has 187 sworn officers and 100 full and part-time civilian employees. This evens out to 3 officers per 1,000 residents living in the city. The Police Department has many programs in place to prevent crime in Ocala, FL. These programs include:
- Polar Patrol: Outreach event to educate youth in Ocala about staying out of harm’s way.
- OPD Community Fun Day: Event with games and activities as well as crime education.
- Senior vs. Crime: Provides assistance to seniors and individuals facing issues with service providers and contractors.
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Ocala police reports are public information and can be requested on the department’s website at any time.
Ocala Police Department, 402 S Pine Ave, Ocala, FL 34471, 352-369-7000
Ocala Crime Rate FAQ
Is Ocala FL Safe?
Yes, Ocala FL is a safe place to live. Although there are a few high-crime sections of the city, most areas are completely safe.
What Is the Crime Rate in Ocala Florida?
The overall Ocala, FL crime rate is 3,834 crimes per 100,000 people.
Is Ocala FL Dangerous?
There are a few high crime areas of Ocala, such as the City Center and Toms Park. But most areas are not dangerous.
So, is Ocala, FL safe? There are many safe places to live in and around Ocala, Florida, and the city’s crime rates are on the decline. When you are ready to make your move to the city, then get in touch with our experienced movers in Ocala. Give 2 College Brothers a call today at 352-448-9095 to discuss your move and receive a free quote.