The 8 Most Dangerous And Worst Neighborhoods In Tampa

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins
Tampa is a fun and sunny place to live, but there is unfortunately a lot of crime in some neighborhoods throughout the city. Areas such as Downtown and Highland Pines are among the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tampa. Whether it be Drew Park or Sulphur Springs, let’s take a look at the worst places to live in Tampa.

The sunshine state is probably one of the most tourists visited states. A lot of spring breaks for college kids happen there as well as retirement plans as couples get older. One city that has a lot to offer is Tampa. The weather is always sunny, and it is close to the beach and family attractions such as Busch Gardens.

Based on FBI data and statistics, Downtown, Historic Ybor, East Ybor, and Drew Park are the most dangerous neighborhoods in Tampa, FL. These areas consistently rank the highest for violent and property crimes. Also, you may want to avoid Highland Pines and Sulphur Springs. You have at least a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a victim in one of those worst neighborhoods.

However, everything cannot be sunshine and roses. Tampa has a few neighborhoods that would be highly recommended to avoid. So before planning that trip or committing to a winter home in the south, this article will help you steer clear of any turmoil.

Related Content: Best Neighborhoods In Tampa For Young Professionals | Pros And Cons Of Living In Tampa, Florida | Most Dangerous Cities In Florida | Cost of Living In Florida

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Determining The Worst Neighborhoods Of Tampa

In order to come to a conclusion on which is the worst neighborhoods, important key factors were focused on. For the most part, all these neighborhoods had a low level of employment opportunities and decreased proficiency in the schools compared to other schools in the area.

Back in early 2020, the Tampa Bay Police Department had an overall increase of 10% in crimes. Their theory is an increase in gang activity. As you can see, there’s a common theme here of decline.

Factors Used To Determine The Worst Neighborhoods In Tampa

The following are the main key areas used in order to support our conclusions:

  • Unemployment Rate: The health of a neighborhood relies a lot on the family’s ability to provide. This is a crucial statistic when it comes to the number of unemployed residents in these neighborhoods.
  • Density: Is the area popular to visit? If there is not a lot of traffic in the area, chances are it is not getting taken care of. With a lack of care for the environment, people reside in the probability of increased crime is to take place.
  • Real Estate Cost in the Area: An essential factor we considered is when a home is being sold for an undervalued price. This is a key issue that the neighborhood is not a livable area.
  • Median Income: What is the level of commerce? Are businesses thriving? The income for an area is an essential quality to the value of the neighborhood.
  • Crime Rate: This is a significant factor when determining the worst neighborhoods. Through careful research, accurate statistics for this factor have been obtained.

The 8 Worst Neighborhoods Of Tampa, Florida

Below is a list of the eight worst neighborhoods of Tampa, Florida. If you’re planning to move to Tampa or visit, these are the areas that you should either avoid all together or be vigilant in.

1. Downtown

  • Population: 1,897
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,743
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 12,239
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 8

Downtown was not always a dangerous place to be. It was a working town for many decades where people would work their jobs then go home in the evening. Later more residential areas popped up as well as more business and activities. Of course, with more people traveling downtown, the chances of crime increase.

Violent crimes in Downtown are rated about 824% higher than the national average. That’s really high. Although year over year, crime in Tampa has decreased by approximately 7%, it is still not the best place to raise a young family.

Oddly enough, Tampa is known as the #6 retirement city in Florida. The city is trying to turn itself around; however, some areas will not stay open into the evening. There has been a lot of construction going on as well, and more popular weekend destinations, which adds to the people being downtown.

2. Historic Ybor

  • Population: 1,999
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 3,131
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 7,659
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 10

Once known for its famous cigars, Historic Ybor is now known for its bars and nightclubs. The streets are lively with edgy music but may be too energetic for some. The nightlife entices abundant crowds to the area with rampant dance parties that keeps the activities going throughout the weekend. However, the crime in this area is terrible!

Violent crimes in Historic Ybor are just about 955% higher than the national average. And, although year over year crime in Tampa has decreased by a meager 7%, Historic Ybor crime rates are 350% higher than the national average.

Instead, think about moving to nearby cities with lower crime rates like Feather Sound, Cheval, Balm, Fish Hawk, Keystone, or East Lake.

We hardly think it’s worth it to enjoy a night out in Historic Ybor for the price of possibly falling victim to a crime. You could go to Miami, the Keys, or even another part of Tampa and have the same experience. This area is hazardous come nightfall.

3. East Ybor

  • Population: 1,145
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,042
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 7,150
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 12

East Ybor once produced food for the tobacco workers of Historic Ybor. 26% of the population in East Ybor is considered below the poverty line. With East Ybor just located to the east of Historic Ybor as well as being close to Ybor City, it is not surprising that the crimes of these two neighborhoods influence a neighborhood that is closely knitted in history together.

East Ybor crime rates are 275% higher than the national average. And, violent crimes in East Ybor are almost 600% higher than the national average.

The mix of North Ybor, Historic Ybor, and East Ybor allows the crimes to overflow into each other, which creates this sort of self-perpetuating crime that never seems to stop. It’s better just to steer clear.

4. Drew Park

  • Population: 1,613
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 2,104
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 5,698
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 13

An area of the city that hosts the New York Yankees spring training as well as the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers does not seem like a bad area. It was not always like this, though, and the site has a long way to go still. Since 1946, the area has been redeveloped and reconstructed to accommodate tourist attractions and residential areas.

Drew Park crime rates are 225% higher than the national average. And, violent crimes in Drew Park are 605% higher than the national average

Unfortunately, Drew Park still requires the need of special attention from the city. It contains aging and inadequate infrastructure that is deteriorating and is not in compliance with occupancy codes. This has created an unhealthy urban neighborhood that is encouraging criminal activity.

5. Highland Pines

  • Population: 1,170
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,676
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 5,557
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 14

The Highland Pines neighborhood of Tampa is one of those that have also fallen victim to the poverty aspect of the crime. While it’s a lot more likely you become a victim of property crime versus violent crime, we still highly recommend you don’t move to this area if you are thinking of relocating to Tampa.

To put it in perspective, Highland Pines’s crime rates are 200% higher than the national average. When it comes to violent crimes, Highland Pines ranks 465% higher than the national average.

An additional complaint of the Highland Pines are is that cops don’t respond nearly as quickly as they should. Due to the crimes in other areas, the police have a slower response time. Therefore, you should think about visiting another site just to make sure that you can get help if you need it right away.

6. Sulphur Springs

  • Population: 11,408
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,130
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 4,573
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 18

A well-known neighborhood was once a main tourist attraction for the area. This area is filled with landmarked hotels and arcades, as well as a famous mineral spring. So, it is hard to say what went wrong with this neighborhood.

While there’s still much crime in this area, Sulphur Springs crime rates are actually 45% lower than the national average. And, Violent crimes in Sulphur Springs are 37% lower than the national average. That’s pretty good compared to the other areas on the list.

When the great depression hit, lots of residents lost their homes, and the tourist attractions began to struggle to the point of some being sold and demolished. Surrounding areas started to aid in pollution to the springs, which was then causing sinkholes. With the changing economy, the neighborhood was not prepared and fell into a world of crime.

7. Ybor City

  • Population: 5,216
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,142
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 4,059
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 20

Ybor City has been known to be an unpredictable part of town. However, it has been trying to improve over the years. There’s not much to do there unless you enjoy the nightlife. This city has dozens of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Ybor City crime rates are 110% higher than the national average. As far as violent crimes, Ybor City ranks 285% higher than the national average.

Even though Ybor City has been trying to improve, there are still some areas of it that have some issues with crime. This city is charming and historic by day but has a different appeal of nightlife that it can transform into. This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit, as it can be a fantastic experience. However, you need to make sure you do this with a friend and not alone.

8. North Tampa

  • Population: 7,465
  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 1,162
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100k: 3,965
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 20

North Tampa has struggled with poverty over the years. Approximately 35% of its population is below the poverty line. When dealing with poverty, this can correlate to other aspects like crime. Poverty increases adverse conditions like homelessness and food insecurity. When someone is facing these struggles, especially when trying to provide for their family, they resort to criminal activity.

North Tampa has a Livability Score of 65/100, which is considered average, in comparison to all other neighborhoods in the US. North Tampa crime rates are 150% higher than the Tampa average.

However, we still deem North Tampa safe to visit as the likelihood of you becoming a victim of a crime is unlikely. Most of the crimes that happen are robberies and burglaries. Make sure you lock your hotel room and don’t venture out at night.

What To Do If You Find Yourself In A Bad Part Of Tampa

Even though it’s highly recommended, most people don’t research the areas in which they are planning to visit. If you’re one of those people who don’t research the locations beforehand, you have a higher chance of finding yourself in a predicament that you didn’t want to be in. So, in this case, what do you do?

Remain Calm

If you find yourself in a bad Tampa area, there is no use in panicking as you will need to think clearly. Chances are, you’ll be just fine. Take a deep breath, and find a safe place to research Tampa’s safer areas, and head that way. It’s that easy.

Stick Near Crowds And Don’t Isolate Yourself

Most of the crime that takes place in Tampa is in alleyways or on private roads. If you’re walking alone and accidentally stumble into a bad area, stay in the area with the most car traffic. If it’s dark, take shelter in a nearby store and call for a cab.

Leave Without Raising Alarm (Or raise alarm if needed)

If you pass by a questionable group of people, mind your own business. What they are doing has no meaning to your life, so ignore it. If it’s a crime, don’t scream at them that you’re calling 911. Simply walk away quietly, and call 911 when you’re out of sight and out of earshot.

If you are being attacked, scream, make as much noise as you can. If you can, hit them in both ears as hard as you can at the same time, poke them in the eyes, and hit them as hard as you can in the throat and run. You’ve just taken away their balance, eyesight, and breathing for at least 15 seconds. Run and call for help.

Don’t Go Out After Dark

You don’t want to be caught outside at night n any bad neighborhood. Make sure you schedule your activities so that you’re inside at least before 7:00 PM. If you can’t do that, then make sure you have reliable transportation and go with a friend.

Go Out With A Friend And Don’t Leave With Strangers

We can’t tell you what to do, so if you decide you’re still going to go out for a night on the town in a bad neighborhood, do not go alone. Also, don’t leave with any strangers, for any reason? Afterparty? No. Does the person seem friendly, and you feel bad telling them no? Doesn’t matter, do not leave with them. It’s a better idea not to get intoxicated while in this predicament. Stick with water and lemon.

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Our Takeaway

It’s not always possible to avoid the bad neighborhoods of any given city. You could be driving through a few blocks of luxurious homes and then end up in a rough community less than a mile away. However, it would help if you researched the area before visiting so that you can become somewhat familiar with the area.

Now, if you’re visiting Tampa, it’s better to just avoid the worse areas altogether. For the lesser of the evils, we recommend you stay inside if it’s dark, and you don’t venture out alone or leave with a stranger. Also, don’t go for strolls through alleyways! Some of this is common sense, but we felt the need to reiterate it as most people think about having fun while they’re on vacation, not the dangers.

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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