Welcome to the Sunshine State: the third most dangerous state in America — according to a recently released study.
On June 4, financial website WalletHub published an article, “2019’s Safest States in America,” ranking all 50 states on how safe it is to live there. Florida ranked number 48, above Louisiana and Mississippi.
Fifty-two factors split into five categories determined the rankings. Jill Gonzalez, a communications director at WalletHub, wrote in an email that “personal and residential safety” was considered the most important and made up 40 percent of the resulting ranks. The other categories — financial safety, road safety, workplace safety and emergency preparedness — were weighted equally.
Gonzalez said the data used to make the rankings came from sources such as the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the FBI.
There are several areas where Florida ranked poorly, Gonzalez said. According to WalletHub’s research, Florida has only two active firefighters for every 1,000 residents and 55 emergency medical technicians and paramedics for every 100,000 residents.
Almost 27 percent of the state’s drivers are uninsured — the highest percentage nationwide, said Gonzalez. Although the research indicated Florida has some of the worst traffic fatalities, she said the state also has the fourth lowest number of DUIs per capita.
“We all wish to feel safe in all aspects of our lives, but some states make it easier than others,” Gonzalez said. “Through our study, we wanted to show our readers how their state fares compared to the others and help them make an informed decision, should they choose to relocate.”
Jaime Van der Veken, a 17-year-old UF mechanical engineering sophomore, wasn’t surprised by Florida’s ranking. He heard that crimes like theft occur at a much higher rate in tourist destinations, and it made sense for Florida to be ranked lowly because of it, Van der Veken said.
“[Tourists] are more susceptible to just having valuable things on them and not caring about it,” he said.
Isaac Hayes Jr., a UF Transportation and Parking Services employee and Gainesville native, however, was alarmed. He said the news of the rankings made him feel cautious.
“I feel as if I have to watch my surroundings and look out for others and keep
911 on speed dial,” Hayes said.