A Small Town in Florida Has Suddenly Become the Second Most Dangerous in the State


Florida is renowned for its sunny beaches, theme parks, and diverse culture. However, it is also home to some of the most violent and crime-ridden neighborhoods in the country. According to the most recent FBI data, Florida has the third-highest violent crime rate in the country, trailing only Alaska and New Mexico.

While some of the most infamous crime hotspots are located in huge cities such as Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando, one little hamlet has lately emerged as the state’s second-most dangerous locale, exceeding even some of the most populous urban areas. Pahokee is a rural village in Palm Beach County with approximately 6,000 residents.

Why is Pahokee So Dangerous?

For decades, Pahokee has struggled with poverty, unemployment, and social problems. According to the United States Census Bureau, Pahokee has a poverty rate of 40.9%, which is more than double the state average of 15.4%. Pahokee’s median household income is $26,731, which is less than half the state average of $59,227.

The unemployment rate in Pahokee is 10.6%, higher than the state average of 4.8%. These economic difficulties have fueled a culture of violence and criminality in Pahokee. According to the FBI, Pahokee had the second-highest violent crime rate in the state in 2019 at 2,025.6 per 100,000 people, trailing only Florida City at 2,776.8. Pahokee also had the state’s highest murder rate in 2019, with 11 homicides, at a rate of 183.3 per 100,000 people. To put things in perspective, the national murder rate in 2019 was 5 per 100,000 people.

Gang activity, drug trafficking, domestic disputes, and a lack of law enforcement resources have all contributed to the violence in Pahokee. Pahokee is located near Lake Okeechobee, a key hub for smuggling drugs from Mexico and Central America into the United States.

Pahokee has a history of feuds between distinct communities, such as Muck City and the Ridge, which have culminated in shootings and killings. Additionally, Pahokee has a small police force, with only 12 officers patrolling the town.

What Steps Are Being Taken to Improve the Situation?

Despite the terrible statistics, there are some signs of optimism and progress in Pahokee. The municipality recently obtained federal and state subsidies to support economic development, infrastructure, and public safety.

For example, the US Department of Agriculture awarded Pahokee a $1.4 million grant to repair its water and sewer system. Pahokee also got a $500,000 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to renovate its downtown and create new jobs.

Furthermore, various local efforts and groups are attempting to curb violence and crime in Pahokee. One of these is the Pahokee Promise, a partnership of community leaders, faith-based organizations, and nonprofits dedicated to providing mentoring, education, and assistance to at-risk adolescents and families.

Another example is the Pahokee Blue Devils, the town’s high school football club, which has produced multiple NFL players and provided a positive outlet and opportunity for many young men to pursue their aspirations.


Pahokee, Florida, has high crime rates due to economic issues, insufficient police enforcement, and communal feuds. Recent federal and state infrastructure and economic development awards suggest hope despite the grim numbers.

Local programs like the Pahokee Promise and community-driven projects provide mentoring, education, and chances to combat violence. The Pahokee Blue Devils football program benefits the community. While difficult, these efforts give optimism and a route to improving Pahokee’s safety and well-being.

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