With a thriving tourist industry, Florida ranks fourth in the nation with regard to gross domestic product, an indicator of the economic health and wealth generated in the Sunshine State. Among other accolades, Florida is the top state in the nation with regard to golf courses.
But not every statistic makes Floridians proud. A recent annual report published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ranks Florida as the eighth most dangerous state in the union. For those living in urban areas where crime is high, this may come as no surprise. However, when one considers that Florida is ranked more dangerous than much poorer states, such as Oklahoma, the survey may be cause for alarm.
What makes Florida so dangerous?
The rankings are based on data related to four of the most insidious violent crimes – robbery, aggravated assault, rape and murder – in conjunction with other key indicators, such as education levels and poverty. With a rate of 487.1 violent crimes committed per 100,000 people, keeping one’s wits on Florida streets is critical.
Does stand-your-ground decrease crime?
Lest Floridians despair, crime volume has been steadily falling for more than 20 years. Since 1993 alone, crime has decreased by 43 percent. Similarly, high school graduation rates are also rising, which generally has a positive effect on crime rates. While proponents see dropping crime rates as proof of the success of Florida’s contentious 2005 stand-your-ground law, which permits individuals to use deadly force in self-defense in certain situations, others point to the steady decreases that predate this law by 10 years.
Criminal charges, especially for serious crimes, can affect individuals’ futures for years to come. Those facing such charges shouldn’t waste a minute seeking legal representation.