Pensacola Has a Serious Crime Problem

February 13th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

August 2015: Update at bottom

For the most part I really like Pensacola.

We have gorgeous beaches, a great University, a thriving downtown area with great restaurants and bars, and it’s a pretty affordable place to live (if you can get a job that is.)

There are a few things about Pensacola I don’t love. The biggest being the ever-present reality that I have to think carefully about going into certain parts of town by myself. When I first moved to Pensacola in 2007 my then boyfriend and I moved into a small duplex on the West side. At the time we were unaware of how ridiculous the crime was in that area. The couple that lived next to us were constantly selling drugs out of their house, and one night we woke up to a car crashing into the side of the duplex. We later found out it was a drug deal gone wrong (they tried to take the drugs and speed away without paying.) Good times! I still remember emailing my professor in graduate school at 3 a.m. and asking that I be excused from class that morning due to excessive nerves.

A recent article citing Escambia county (where Pensacola is located) as being the most violent county in the state of Florida got me thinking about all this again. When I first heard we were at the top of the list I was shocked. I mean, we’re more violent than Miami – really?! Then I realized why I was so surprised. The City of Pensacola, and Pensacola as people who live here think about it (from this point on referred to as Real Pensacola) are two very, very different areas.

City Limits

See – the city lines are drawn such that they include only the nicest parts of Pensacola. Leaving out all the less desirable parts where most of the poor people and minorities live. You know, the one’s that can muck up our pretty statistics. So, the City of Pensacola has a population of about 54,000 people (with 80,000+ more residing in Real Pensacola) and it’s crime dropped 14% in 2013. That’s great and  I’m glad our Mayor seems so productive about reducing crime rates further, but those statistics don’t seem as impressive when they come out the same week as those showing Escambia county to be the most violent county in Florida.

The trend that’s the most disturbing to me is that there have been a string of young females found murdered, or reported missing, in Pensacola over the years. Some of them are still unsolved to this day. In 2010 I was working in advising when news broke of two young females being found brutally physically and sexually assaulted and dumped off of Nine Mile Road.

Jamie and DebraWhile a young man was indicted in the murder of Jamie Broxson, there have still been no arrests made for Debra Jones.

More recently PSC employee Tiffany Daniels went missing on August 12, 2013. Her car was found on Pensacola beach and to this day her friends and family have no idea what may have happened to her. Yesterday WKRG reported that her family now wonders if she may be the victim of human trafficking (Florida ranks 3rd in the states for that.)

Tiffany DanielsWhat I don’t like is that the city of Pensacola acts as the ‘face’ of Real Pensacola and the two are dramatically different. I found interactive crime maps online for each and looked at the number of assaults (sexual and physical) over the last 30 days.

City of Pensacola had 59.

City of Pensacola crime

Real Pensacola had (307 – 59 in city limits) 248.

Escambia County Crime

I don’t like feeling as though I can’t walk out my front door and go for a run without fearing for my safety. I don’t like thinking that there is somebody out there who know’s what happened to those girls and Pensacola has just moved on and stopped showing interest in finding out what happened.

I think it’s time we do better Pensacola.

How safe do you feel in your city?

What initiatives has your city taken to reduce crime rates? 

August 12, 2015: I’m amazed at how popular this post has become! I get emails nearly weekly from people looking to move to the Pensacola area who are worried about safety and which neighborhoods are best. There are some great aspects to Pensacola; the downtown area is thriving, the beaches are gorgeous, and UWF and the hospital systems are excellent. You can certainly find nice areas to live at (anywhere in East Hill, around the mall/airport, and East Pensacola Heights are my favorite) but the crime problem isn’t getting any better. The Pensacola News Journal just released this article discussing how SEVEN people have been killed in Pensacola in just the last two weeks. It’s unfortunate that such a great area is continuing to be invaded by violent crime.

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109 Responses

  • Wow, I had no idea. My city has often been touted as being very crime ridden – shoot we were on HBO once upon a time for gang (Bangin’ in the Rock). I live in the downtown area, considered to be higher crime, but when you look at crime maps, we’re not the ones hit with all the crime. I think people think our area is bad b/c it used to be and there are still lots of vagrants. But I run in the mornings and mostly feel safe – more worried about dogs. BTW, I have friends who live in Pensacola (closer to Perdido Key, but before you cross that bridge). We will actually be visiting Perdido in May.

    • Erica House says:

      I hope I didn’t make Pensacola seem worse than it actually is, because it’s definitely got safe parts to it. I’m shocked there hasn’t been a crime show based around Pensacola yet lol. Perdido is awesome (and gorgeous) and I hope you have a great time visiting!

      • Marie says:

        I’m newer to Pensacola I checked the crime sites before I moved I noticed it was higher by the mall and colleges , I’m near pine forest and nine mile, is that considered the city of Pensacola ? I get it all confused , I feel safe in my complex though but I’m still cautious when I’m out and about . Very scary about the missing girls as well .

        • Erica House says:

          That’s a good area! Just steer clear of the west side and any of the alphabet streets. I doubt you’d have any reason to go into those areas anyway so I’m sure you’d be fine!

          • Bre says:

            As a young woman myself moving to the area, do you have areas you’d suggest?

          • Erica House says:

            Yes! East Hill is the best (but most expensive, unless you can find a studio or subdivided house like I did.) Anything around the airport/cordova mall area is nice (east of 9th avenue and south of creighton.) There are good neighborhoods around UWF on 9 mile. Stay away from the West Side (starting with the alphabet streets) and brownsville (east part of downtown) and you will be fine!

  • Amanda says:

    I had no idea…and a couple of my friends just moved there. I live in North St. Louis county which most people consider pretty dangerous. But I feel safer in and around my neighborhood than most places I’ve lived. Maybe I’m a little too confident sometimes but I also don’t want to live in fear. There’s been talk about combining the city and county. I’m not sure how that would affect the police forces, but I hope it only makes things better, not worse. I really hope this post gets a lot of traffic. These are important issues and they shouldn’t be ignored.

    • Erica House says:

      There’s a fine line to me between being safe/vigilant and living in fear. If you really look at things, driving, walking down the street, even sleeping in your own home at night have some element of danger to them. I try to just be as prepared/safe as possible but not let it interfere with enjoying my life!

    • kelly says:

      Hello, I’m African American and my husband has been offered a job a sacred heart hosp. We currently live in south jersey and will be relocating to pensacola fl, I am scared to death, I consider us as middle class and We have 12yr old twins, can you please suggest a place for us that is safe, low crime and not racist, good schools,we live in a suburb area now aand we feel safe, is that possible for us in pensacola fl and my husband is willing to drive no more than a hr to work for us to find a good place to live..thank you for any help you can give me

      • Martha Young says:

        Kelly, I just spent a couple of days in Pensacola looking for a rental home, and I can tell you that there are several apartment complexes on University Drive which are very nice. Top rent for about 1,200 square feet, 3 bd/2 bath was around your current rent. Most of these are newer complexes with all the amenities. Governor’s Gate has a back entrance so you don’t have to fight traffic getting onto University. Newest community is West Wood, which is still under construction. And I think Pensacola is a terrific city…wait til you see the beaches!

    • kelly says:

      Hello, I’m African American and married with 12 yr old twins, my husband has been offered a job at sacred heart hosp in pensacola. We will be relocating to the area from south jersey and after reading so many negative comments I’m scared to death!, I feel safe where we live and really don’t want to leave my home. We are middle class and Im looking to find a area with low crime, good schools,reasonably priced houses for rent, we are going to rent 1st till we know the area. Our home we live in now mortgage is 1600.00 month, can we find a nice area to rent for that or less, please help!..I appreciate your input and honesty!, I just worry about my kids, We are good people and just want to live without any trouble.

      • Erica House says:

        You can definitely live in a nice area of Pensacola for 1600 a month! The area around the mall is great and super close to Sacred Heart. Anything in East Hill is good too but may be out of that price range for a house big enough. As long as you steer clear of the West side you will be fine. Pensacola is an amazing city with so much to do and see, but it does have it’s share of violent crimes that I feel don’t get enough attention.

  • dotsie924 says:

    Oh, geez, what an eye-opening read. I had no idea Pensacola had so much crime. I certainly never felt unsafe while vacationing there.

    As far as my city…I live in New Orleans…need I say more? There are murders everyday. Not a day goes by without a shooting, usually resulting in death. Our politicians don’t really follow through with what they say they will do to help alleviate crime. Our cops are just as corrupt as the thugs on the streets.

    And dats why I live in Metry (Metairie). ;-)

    (and Metairie is getting worse, too!)

    • Erica House says:

      I remember when a lot of Katrina evacuees headed this way they got blamed for our influx in crime. Yeah, because Pensacola was SO safe before hand!

      Didn’t your former mayor just get charged with some felonies?

      • dotsie924 says:

        Houston blamed us for the same thing. LOL. And yes, former Mayor Nagin was charged with 20 of the 21 counts against him. They will announce his sentence on his 58th birthday, sometime in June.

        Are you running the Pensacola Marathon April 13th? I think my friend is running in it..I was thinking of hitching a ride there just because!

  • oh goodness that is scary. Admittedly, living in Toronto I feel incredibly safe. I am lucky to live in a city where I don’t have worry. Hopefully spreading the word will help put a stop to it.

  • Helen says:

    That is scary! I had no idea Pensacola was like that!
    I used to live in an area with high crime rate . I feared going outside (a lot of things happened)! Then, we moved to a better area when I started high school. I feel a lot safer in the new area.

    • Erica House says:

      I’m glad you are living somewhere safer now! It’s unfortunate that people who can’t afford the nicer parts of Pensacola (like me when I first moved here) are basically forced to live in high crime areas because that’s the only places they can afford.

  • Elizabeth spivey says:

    Yeah it’s pretty ridiculous here in pensacola. About 4 years ago now my best friend and I were waiting at the news journal so we could do our paper route and a guy came up to our car and robbed us at gunpoint. It took me a long time to even start carrying a purse again, and now I carry taser. It was a terrifying experience.

    • Erica House says:

      Wow. And you’ve definitely inspired me to look into getting a taser. I remember a few years ago there were a string of robberies downtown.

  • Insane! stay safe lady!!

    I feel safe for most part in my city, but there are times something happens and it becomes more real that heyy…. crime is out there. Sometimes its in the new and sometimes it isn’t.

    • Erica House says:

      I try to stay as safe as possible but otherwise I try to ignore it. I don’t watch the news which seems to just sensationalize every negative thing that happens.

  • Caroline says:

    Ah scary!! My husband and I have stopped there when traveling from Charleston, SC (where i lived for 25 years) to Galveston, Texas (home for 2 years). I have felt very safe in both cities, but I have been surprised at just how safe Galveston seems.. Especially being 45 minutes from Houston! I hope it stays this way!! I still carry mace every time I run just to be on the safe side :)

  • Danielle says:

    Oh wow, I had no idea! I heard people joke about it but didn’t take it too seriously having just moved from Montgomery, AL. Maybe I should be more careful exploring the area by myself.

    Crestview and Ft Walton haven’t seemed too bad so far…but I also don’t watch the local news haha.

    • Erica House says:

      Crestview and FWB have teeny tiny ‘bad parts’ to them (like the Lovejoy area in FWB) but compared to Pensacola it’s a joke. You’d be fine exploring most of Pensacola since the cool attractions/tourist spots are all in the nice parts. If you ever have any questions about specific areas please feel free to email me!

      • Danielle says:

        Thanks! I’ve had my eye on events that we might both be interested in, too. I’ve been here for a year now, but I’ve been traveling so much I still haven’t done much in the area, sadly.

        • Erica House says:

          Well enjoy the area while you can! Once spring break starts the tourists will descend and doing anything in the Destin/Pensacola beach area is a nightmare until Labor Day!

  • Tara says:

    What I find most interesting is how you talk about politicians drawing city limits only to include the safest areas! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at that. They do that to manipulate elections etc so why not crime rates and other things to make their areas seem better! And I agree it’s often racially spurred. I live in the suburbs of akron ohio a generally safe place other than certain areas in downtown which is where I work. The city was beginning to revitalize some areas right before the recession a few years ago and a lot of great plans got scrapped do to lack of funding. Such a shame! It’s such a balance to be smart and safe but not paralyzed by fear to leave the house. Sounds like you have a good balance

    • Erica House says:

      I think the city limits were drawn way back in the day, before Pensacola grew so much in size, so they weren’t purposefully trying to ‘leave out’ parts/people. It’s time they redraw them though!

  • cj says:

    I love the area, always have. I desperately want to come back but salaries in the area have remained low for the past 10-15 years. You can’t find better beaches and better Southern hospitality. Bravo to all the entrepreneurs who are making it happen.

  • -_- says:

    Shut up and stop

  • -_- says:

    Warrington 3/4 #trezyup #hoesdown

  • Kirk says:

    City of Pensacola is a hell zone. Lived from 2001 – July 2014. All I saw was more and more crime. Bonus is Pensacola Police respond quick when you call them. Park your car outside of the gate at night and find hand prints all over the windows from people looking in. Or wake up to 4 flat tires. Would hear gun shots at night. Area near the intersection of Pace Blvd and West Garden St.

    • Erica House says:

      Yep. It’s disgusting how often there are gun shots heard in Pensacola now. I’d say at LEAST once a week, and almost always exclusively on the West side. I lived off of Fairfield avenue when I first moved to Pensacola for a year and we had a car run into the side of our house that was being driven by a drug dealer who was trying to run away without paying for his latest stash. I hate how the City of Pensacola is trying to portray it as this safe, up and coming town, when in reality if you go outside of the city’s carefully drawn city limits then you are in a whole different world.

      • Catt says:

        you are brave to even say that since this city is steeped in old money and deep corruption. If I had a better place to go, I would.

  • Steve says:


    I have some friends wanting to move to Pensacola. How is the area around Olive and 289? Appears to be East side of Pensacola. North of Airport

  • Dave says:

    Just moved to Pensacola. Put an offer on a home in the bellview area. It seems to be a nice neighborhood. What is your opinion?

    • Erica House says:

      Bellview can be dicey. I lived off of Patricia Lane (Right off West Fairfield) for a year and it was pretty bad. We actually had a drug dealer drive straight into the side of our house one night when he tried to drive off from a drug deal without paying. There are pockets of nice neighborhoods, and we just ended up in one of the worse ones. There are some great house deals there though as a lot of military families come and go pretty often!

  • Kirk says:

    Forget the Bellview area. Try Gulf Breeze. Even in the better areas of Pensacola the crime will come to them. Boat load of homes for sale in Pensacola. Took me 5 months to sell my home in the downtown area, sold for less than I paid for it 10 years ago. Never have lost money on a home sale before.

  • Christina says:

    Hi, I am thinking of moving to Flordia this fall. I have been doing research in the Pensacola area. I come from a super small town….>10,000 people so the crime statistics are something that I am not sure of. We have very little crime here so I’m aware that where ever I move will have more crime. I am a single mother to a 9 year old girl. I am a registered nurse. What area do you think is the most safe to move my daughter to?

    • Christina says:

      Sorry, I meant <10,000 people :)

      • Erica House says:

        Anything East of 110 is great. North of 1-10 is good. The neighborhoods within a 5 mile radius of the mall are all good and middle income (plus in the heart of the city so a 15 minute drive from everything!) You really just want to avoid West Pensacola, Southwest/downtown area, and the area around the naval base can be questionable.

  • Azzah says:

    Erika I am 66 years old and was thinking to move to Pensacola . Where are the affluent middle to high class area. . And where are the extremly nice gated areas .? Thank you for opening
    My eyes about the crime rate. Scary

    • Erica House says:

      I don’t know of many/any gated communities in Pensacola. I know there are some in Gulf Breeze. The “best” neighborhoods to live in are East Hill and North Hill. North Hill is very small, and within a few blocks to the north and west of it your in the ghetto. East Hill is by far my favorite neighborhood in Pensacola. It’s right by the bay so there’s a great park with a paved 1 mile loop, dog park on the beach, tennis courts and playgrounds. The houses are gorgeous, many 1920 style craftsman, with new construction becoming more prevalent. Great schools, a few parks, a few small restaurants and within a 15 minute drive from hospitals, the mall, target, publix etc. I lived there for 3 years and the worst crime I heard of were some car burglaries.

      • Alyssa says:

        Hi there!!! We are moving from VA to Pensacola with our 8 kids!!!! What can you tell me about Milton??? We are moving from a small town and my husband will be commuting to the base near myrtle grove- pleassee any and all info would be helpful!!! Thanks Alyssa —

        • Erica House says:

          I don’t have as much experience with life in Milton, only visited a few times. It’s very small, and definitely less crime overall than Pensacola, but I believe there are some neighborhoods that aren’t quite as safe as others. Wish I could help more!

          • Hello, my husband and I are thinking about moving to Pensacola from California. We have 6 kids from ages 1 to 16. Do you know anything about Cantonment area? Or what about Beulah? Thanks

  • Kirk says:

    Really doesn’t matter where you live in Pensacola as the crime will find you. They all know the better neighborhoods are better for burglaries. Friends I still have in Pensacola have alarm systems with camera’s. Best to own a couple of large dogs. I am just glad I finally was able to move. The area I am living now has very little crime and once again I can sleep with my windows open and not have to worry about some clown coming in.

    Not to mention Pensacola has the worst drivers I have seen in my life. Geez they drive better in Mexico.

  • Laura says:

    Hi Erica,

    Due to visit friend at Pensacacola Naval Base. Researching hotels in area. Have learned area surrounding base is unsavory. Can you kindly recommend hotel(s)/lodging located in safe areas of Pensacola?

    Thank you very much,


    • Erica House says:

      The area around the base can be sketchy! Unfortunately to get to a really safe area you’ll probably be 20 minutes away from NAS. There’s a hotel downtown on Palafox that’s in a good area. There is an Extended Stay hotel on Barrancas that I’d feel comfortable staying at that’s as close to NAS as possible. Barrancas is a pretty busy main road so there’s not a lot of houses around for people to just be hanging out at.

      • Laura says:

        Hey Erica,

        Thank you very much for your reply, I greatly appreciate it. I don’t mind being 20+ mins. away from NAS if that means being safe! I haven’t booked hotel as of yet, looking at hotels located in the Cordova Mall area. Going by reviews online, this too appears to be a safe area. What are your thoughts?

        Thank you so very much,


        • Erica House says:

          Cordova Mall is a good area! Much better than University Mall (I think there was a shooting at a hotel near University Mall a few years ago!) Cordova Mall area is great because it’s so close to shopping and restaurants (if you like Mexican food I’m obsessed with Tijuana Flats in the mall parking lot.) Jason’s Deli is right down the street about 1/2 mile from Barnes and Noble that’s a very healthy, very delicious salad bar/sandwich shop (with free soft serve ice cream which wins everything.)

          • Laura says:

            Good Morning Erica,

            Thank you very much again! I greatly appreciate receiving your seasoned insight in regards.

            Kindest Regards,


            PS Love that you are “Kitty Mama” such as myself :)

  • Demi says:

    Hi! Planning to move to Pensacola in less than a month with my fiancé, looking for a nice area to stay in. Recently started to research the crime in the city and I’m cringing and terrified now.. I’m a registered nurse and if you could suggest some nice safe areas I would really appreciate it.

    • Erica House says:

      Demi – While Pensacola can have very bad areas it also is a great place to live. I actually miss it SO much more than I thought I would! Anything in East Hill (East of 9th, North of Cervantes, up until about Texar) is the best neighborhood in Pensacola. Super safe, parks everywhere, and within 5 minutes from downtown/target/malls/hospitals. East Pensacola Heights (the eastern portion of pensacola right across the Bayou from East Hill) is also pretty good. Anything near the Airport/Mall is great as well.

      • Demi says:

        Ok so I’m really bad and have no sense of direction. But I’ll try to figure out some good areas… I’m so excited about moving there but so nervous about finding a nice area!

  • Demi says:

    Hi Erica.. just wondering if you know anything about the Cantonment area?

  • Keith Duggin says:

    Hello. I came across your blog and was curious about Pensacola. My wife, two-year old, and myself are moving to the area in a few months. I have found some decent priced places to rent, but am skeptical of the areas they are in. We are originally from Memphis, TN and currently live near Miami so we know plenty about crime. We have had our house and car broken into while living in Memphis on numerous occasions and I was once “almost” attacked by three guys in downtown Memphis, but was “saved” by some undercover cops that just happen to be walking by at that exact moment. I’ll never forget it! Anyways, most know about how bad Miami can be, but we have never had a problem here. We both lived and grew up in nicer areas of Memphis, but that didn’t mean crime didn’t happen. As for Miami we live in a somewhat problematic area, but we have not personally had any issues. Sorry about my life story, but I saw that you suggested the East and North hill areas. What about Gulf Breeze? I came across a couple decent priced houses to rent there as well as Perdido Key. Would either of those places be to far to commute for my wife who will be working at Sacred Heart? Any info is much appreciated. Thank you for your time. -Keith

    • Erica House says:

      Gulf Breeze and Perdido are wonderful areas, but they are quite a drive. Obviously ‘quite a drive’ is relative and coming from a big city your wife may not think it’s an issue. The problem for Gulf Breeze will be the Spring/Summer beach traffic. It can get VERY congested from March-August. It may take her 40+ minutes to get to work pending on where you all are in GB. During the Fall it’s more like a 20 minute commute. Perdido doesn’t have quite as much tourist traffic but it’s also about 25ish minutes from Sacred Heart. Both are very safe places to live and right by the beach. I would definitely prefer to be closer to the heart of Pensacola just to be within 10 minutes of the downtown area (lots of free concerts, festivals, etc.) the mall (across the street from Sacred Heart), Target/Publix, etc.

  • Margarita says:

    Glad to see you’re still responding to this post! My husband and I have 10 days to find a rental and I thought I wanted to live closer to downtown but driving through today and reading this has me scared.

    You said to stay away from the alphabet streets so I take it F street is questionable (saw two houses there today, yikes) but what about Gadsen and Reus? Seems like it’s just “on the other side of the train tracks.” Slightly sketch, but more affordable? The other current option we’re finding is 11th and Lee which falls in your ” nicest parts of Pensacola” boundaries.

    Know of any rentals in the area? We seriously drove around looking for signs in East Hill and North Hill for two hours today and nada. Zillow isn’t being much help either.

    I need a neighborhood I can run in early in the mornings to beat the humidity as I’ll be training for Marathon No. 1. Help!

    • Erica House says:

      Gadsen and Reus is great! I lived about a half mile from there for a year and loved it. It’s so close to EVERYTHING. Great running routes just north in North Hill and over to the east in East Hill. 11th and Lee would also be a great area. Driving around as you did is great as I noticed the people who rent out homes in East Hill rarely listed them. Be sure to check craigslist! That’s where I found all my rentals at.

  • Erica Miller says:

    Pensacola is an extremely complicated area. I have some advice. I am 23 and a graduate student here. I am also Caucasian and female, and I live with another woman my age. I live on the west side, actually, near Gregory and K Street. Not all of the letter streets are horrible. They get consecutively more rough though. However, I’ve never heard gun shots nor have I had neighbors who sell drugs–that I’m aware of. The loudest thing is on the weekends families walk by to church or the community center, and their kids are pretty loud. My house was built in 1938, the locks and windows aren’t as sturdy as newer house, and I suppose someone could break into my house but in hasn’t happen in the years I’ve lived there. A lot of Pensacola citizens are white southerners and have a tendency to be a little racist, assuming that all large minority or lower-income areas are crime ridden (statistically they are), and I’m not saying that is not true in a lot of cases as a result of impoverishment. I live in a poorer area, but I have good, decent, hard-working neighbors. My neighborhood is very mixed. East of 110, is usually a safe bet, but the area that is around the actual interstate on both the east and west side is pretty worn down. Stay south of Cervantes on the west side (actually, I’d say Belmont on the west side) and on that side–stay east of Pace Street. The North Hill area is fine. Pensacola is really spotty. Definitely stay off of Fairfield and Massachusetts and out of Brownsville. The best thing to do is drive through the area, check out the real estate costs online for surrounding housing, look at crime maps, and talk to neighbors. Even some of the nice areas can be suspicious though. The Bluffs off of scenic are pretty infamous, and while many offenders live on the west side, many of the Caucasian offenders live on the east side. You should be able to look at their charges and the year they were charged. Aside from crime, I’d like to leave one more piece of advice for newcomers and citizens in general–I’m in the process of searching for a new place myself. My place is too much with the energy bills. While older houses may be enticing, rent them only if you have looked at the energy costs. Many of them have lack insulation, and many of them use gas power. While gas is “greener” and more eco-friendly than electric, the cost in this area in beyond belief. If you can, get a place with all electric and with central a/c, not window-units. My gas costs was close to $280 every month this winter, my house is 800 sqft,, and we kept the heat at 70–we don’t have a dry, so that was only heating and the rare occasions we used the stove. Trust me, a cheap rent might seem like a good idea, but you’ll pay more in the long run. Also, do not rent from Progressive Management or go through Donovan Realty. Try to get a place with a private owner/landlord who live here.

  • Amit says:

    Hey Erica,

    I am looking forward to join UWF sometime soon. What would be good areas around UWF that you consider safe, and have good schools, with reasonable cost of living? Would Pace/Milton be a better option? I am just concerned about the bridge being a bottleneck. What do you say? Thanks!

    • Erica House says:

      Almost all of the neighborhoods within a 5 mile radius of UWF are great. I don’t know what the k-12 school system is like though. I don’t have a lot of experience with the Pace/Milton area but I have heard traffic on the bridge can get backed up. Otherwise it is MUCH cheaper to live in those areas, and from what I know pretty safe as well!

  • Lori says:

    “Your friends are like elevators; they either take you up, or they take you down.”

    • Lori says:

      This post was a mistake!! I had something already copied and I put the wrong thing on here. I was writing to say that my daughter in law just got into Pensacola tonight. My son is stationed at the Naval Air Station for A school and the apartments she chose on line turn out to be in a not so great area. I am very concerned for her as she will be alone for a while. she is going to try to find someplace else to live. How can we find a safe place for her to live close enough to the base? If you have any advise, please email me at crossroads45 at Thank you!!!

      • Erica House says:

        Unfortunately I don’t know of any places very close to the base that I’d feel safe living in alone. I will say she should check out the Perdido Key area. Only 10 minutes from the base and MUCH nicer.

  • Ann says:

    As of May 2015, just how scary is it for a female to walk around Pensacola?
    We are being transferred here and googled info about Pensacola and your website was the first hit on search.
    We have two teen daughters and want to know whether it is safe for them to go to the movies, the beach, or down to the festivals at Seville quarter. We are an active family and do not want to barricade ourselves inside a home with burglar alarms on all the time. After reading your blog I reached out to my boss to cancel my transfer, and our home purchase. Since your original post is old, is it still unsafe to be around Pensacola? Thanks for info.

    • Erica House says:

      Ahhh I think I scared you too much with my post! Pensacola is still a wonderful city, I was just frustrated with how the city portrays itself as ‘cleaning up the crime’, but what they really mean is ‘cleaning up the crime in the teeny tiny part of Pensacola within city limits.’ If you look at crime stats online you can see it’s pretty bad there, but it’s not all bad. Living in east hill for years I had ZERO issues. I lived alone, ran alone, and felt fine even walking at night. I would feel comfortable letting teen daughters go to the beach and to festivals at Seville, with the worst thing they’d face likely being drunken tourists (or locals.) If you live anywhere East of 110 you’ll be in pretty good shape. The area around the mall and airport is great, and within 10 minutes of the mall, restaurants, movie theater, hospitals, etc.

      • Ann says:

        Whew, I am glad you wrote that. We have two choices for housing and don’t know which to pick. One is in Navy Point by the boat ramp so the kids could use their kayaks, but you have to drive in and out through Warrington by the Walmart there, which I heard is a bad neighborhood. The other house is more inland up by the Marcus golf course, but it is a bit more remote on a septic tank. Of course the inland house would have less risk of flooding than the place by the boat ramp, I am not sure about flooding or possible hurricane damage in the future as seas rise.
        I watched your video of your place and it is so cute, I would have LOVED something like that when i was single, jusf perfect for one person.
        Thanks for the advice.

  • Amelia Jayne says:

    I have lived in Pensacola my entire life, as well as generations before me. There is bad and good anywhere you go. I do agree that Pensacola can be a wrought place, especially the west side where I live. What I do not agree with is your statement about all the “poor people, and minorities mucking up your stats.” That is a very ignorite comment to write. Most of “those people” are good hard working people, who brings soul to my home. To judge people based off of their income or ethnicity is partly why the world is so bad. Yes crime is more open on the west side but do not delude yourself into believing east hill isn’t just as bad. Trust me I know I’ve lived there as well. I have a love hate relationship with my native town. Just the same you should not judge until you have walked in someone’s shoes.

    • Erica House says:

      I’m very sorry you don’t understand sarcasm. My words from the post, “See – the city lines are drawn such that they include only the nicest parts of Pensacola. Leaving out all the less desirable parts where most of the poor people and minorities live. You know, the one’s that can muck up our pretty statistics” were referring to how the CITY of Pensacola has bragged about it’s ‘cleaned up, lowered crime!’ persona, but really they are the ones who are choosing to just ignore the ‘untouchables’ in Pensacola’s population. Considering I lived at the poverty line the entire time I was in Pensacola I certainly have no reason to judge others who are living the same.

  • Ann says:

    I think this blog is important for people who are moving here and do not know the streets and neighborhoods. I am sorry but if you have children, you have more safety concerns than as a single you could perhaps just move in anywhere and lock yourself in. As newcomers to the area, we may not know anywhere except the tourist area around Pensacola beach, not the individual suburbs. For myself I used the link above that Kirk posted about crime, to put a street in we were going to move to. We had specifically told the realtor we wanted a really safe street where kids could ride a bike. When we saw a neighborhood watch sign on the house, we input the street and found there was a murder there within the past year, and on the past May 31 there was a riot with shots fired. Had it not been for finding this blog, we most likely would have moved there, so we are grateful for any advice.

  • Your Friendly Military Pissed-off Vet says:

    The house I have been renting for some time now just recently got robbed while I was away one day. I have been seeing a lot of news reports of young teens being arrested for burglaries and grand theft lately, and just a WARNING TO THOSE WHO WANT TO CHALLENGE THE SYSTEM AND BREAK INTO GOOD PEOPLE’S HOMES IN THE FUTURE, SOME OF US GOOD PEOPLE HAVE WEAPONS AND WE WILL RETALIATE IF NEEDED. I’ve just purchased a few firearms which I carry on my person at all times, and if you are looking to obtain some “free” electronics and expensive merchandise to fund your bad habits and coke yourself out, feel free to stop by my home so I can end your miserable existence.

    I have lived in Pensacola since 1994 and have seen this city take in and spawn some unneeded characters that don’t need to be wasting our precious air. It’s amazing how things get tough and some people resort to leeching off of other people’s hard work and earnings. If you can’t learn to support yourself through righteous means you might as well stop breathing!

  • Catt says:

    Thank you for writing this article. Although the wages here are low, even for professionals, I have a home here, love the beach and enjoy the weather. I used to love the University of West Florida until they began treating alumni poorly and then found out there have been at least 7 bodies found there on or near campus woods, several rapes and at least one woman abducted and still missing after all these years. Interstate 10 is nearby which may explain why there are so many missing women. A cop told my husband that men are found dead here often and some raped but that is kept out of the news. Also the corruption is deep but that is many towns.

  • makai says:

    Hello, my husband and I will be stationed at NAS Pensacola and I have been looking at the warrington area/ 10 minutes away from base. Is flooding a problem? And are there any streets/ areas to stay away from (like the mobile home area)? Thank you :)

    • Erica House says:

      Warrington is okay – but you definitely need to drive around and get a feel for the specific area you’d be living at. The housing prices are great there (I was looking in the area to rent) but it can be a bit seedy. I’m not sure about flooding. I’d assume it can be an issue as virtually every area in Pensacola is open to flooding during hurricane season! I had a foot of water in my house last Spring and my car had two feet of water in it. I was living about 1/3 mile from the water downtown though.

  • Brandon Street says:

    Erica my family and I are going to be relocating to Pensacola Florida in a few weeks for work we have found a house for rent on Flax Rd right off Langley ave in your opinion is this a safe place for my family to be ? I have 5 small children and want to be somewhere where they can feel safe. Any thoughts would be great.

    • Erica House says:

      It’s a great area! I used to run around the airport ever weekend as part of my long runs (starting from downtown Pensacola and running up Spanish Trail right past Langley.) It’s a central location to virtually anywhere you’d want to go in Pensacola (mall, hospital, shopping,…) and one of the areas with the lowest crime in the city.

  • q says:

    I spent a month and a half in Pensacola in 2014 and really enjoyed it. I mostly liked the part near downtown east of the letter streets, the little cottages behind the Crowne, above the Coffee Cup on Cervantes, and the part across Bayou Texar behind around Scenic Diner. If I can find something I can afford in those areas, would those be relatively quiet in terms of street crime and break ins? They struck me as nice areas, but I’d like to have your take on it. Any other areas you can recommend as affordable and low crime?

    • Erica House says:

      All great areas! There is a large homeless population downtown, but I lived there for 2 years and never had any issues with them. Aside from the areas you mentioned the absolute safest would be East Hill, and anything around the mall/airport.

  • Linda says:

    Thank you for keen insights from all. We’re thinking about relocating sooner, rather than later. Why wait until retirement? If we have to continue working until then, may as well be near the beach! Thanks again.

  • Dabosslady says:

    You really have your nerve! This is what you said “Leaving out all the less desirable parts where most of the poor people and minorities live. You know, the one’s that can muck up our pretty statistics”! Im a minority and for the record I have never been in jail, I don’t sell drugs, and I don’t have a criminal record! So first stop grouping ALL minorities together and If I recall there white criminals, drug dealers, rapist etc… So watch what you say!! Its people like you with that ignorant mindset that stops America from moving forward!

    • Erica House says:

      Clearly you didn’t catch the sarcasm in that sentence that every other person who read, and commented, on the post did. *I* don’t feel that way about the poor or minorities, I was insinuating that the city of Pensacola does based on their negligence of the areas in which those people live.

  • Javappie says:

    Woah. I have lived in Gainesville for over 3 years and all we had to worry about were rowdy college kids.. I have been considered moving closer to my family in MS, but staying in Florida, so Pensacola is the cloesest option. Seeing this post while doing crime research, I might change my mind.. Where I am now I feel incredibly safe.

    I do want to ask: are there free health clinics in Pensacola? Any healthfood/Organic grocery stores/farmers’ markets? How is the university? If you pay $800 for an apartment (which is, woah, kind of high!) is it worth it? Know anything about the neighborhood which has E Olive Rd in it? (I am looking at houses there since they’re somewhat cheaper.)

    Thanks so much for this article!

    • Erica House says:

      There is a ProClinic in Pensacola I went to (was uninsured for 10 years.) I really liked their services! I think $60 for an office visit and bloodwork was very reasonably priced. Evermans downtown is a great health food store, and Fresh Market in central Pensacola had a lot of organic options. The University is amazing. The area around E Olive is good, a bit more lower class (hence why it’s more affordable) but relatively safe. I lived in a duplex off Johnson Ave while I was in graduate school and never had any problems.

  • Martha Young says:

    If you’re still open on this topic, Erica, can you tell me how hurricanes affect the areas you list as being good ones? And would you recommend an apartment complex or a single family home rental (since we’re looking to rent long term rather than buy a home)?

    • Erica House says:

      I’d always recommend a single family home versus an apartment, especially for families. The hurricanes can be brutal. I lived 2 miles from the water (in downtown Pensacola) and my entire house and car flooded the last year I was there.

  • Maria C. D. says:

    Hi, What about the areas near the Naval Air Station? Are they safer than what is called the West Side? Thanks…Maria

    • Erica House says:

      It can be rough. There’s a lot of lower income neighborhoods around the Air Station. It’s very similar to the West Side. I’d definitely drive around a bit to get a feel for the area. I, personally, wouldn’t live there.

    • The safest areas around NAS would be Hwy 98, Gulf Breeze Parkway, Blue Angel Parkway, and Predido Keys

  • Jeremy scott says:

    I was looking to move there however I think I will end up in the “poor” neighborhood. I can afford only up to $900 a month for a 3 bedroom at this point. I am from Florida but it seems like it’s all gone bad now. I saw a place on overlook dr.. I live in Maine right now and I have until June 1st to move somewhere. I would like to get back to the gulf, but I just don’t know where to go anymore. I have 3 kids, 13,17,18, any thoughts or input? The northeast is just too much for me. Thanks

    • Erica House says:

      Overlook drive isn’t the greatest area. For $900 though it will be tough to find a great location. If you don’t mind living a little further out then Pace/Cantonment might be better. I’m not too familiar with those areas though, but I do know they are more affordable than Pensacola (and only 20-30 minutes from downtown Pensacola.)

  • As a native of Pensacola, living here all my life, except for 5 years when I lived in California for the navy, I can say that Erica’s description is pretty spot on.

    If you want a nice area that is safe, North Hill is a very good area to live. It’s small but upscale.

    East Hill is an even BETTER place to live. East Hill is the upscale/rich part of Pensacola. Were talking $600K+ homes. I’m including Scenic Highway in the East Hill area also. Again, $600K+ homes in that area.

    If you can afford to live in the downtown area, it is very nice and very safe. And I’m speaking about Downtown PROPER. From about Baylen street to 9th Ave, and Garden to Palafox Pier.

    The Cordova Mall/Scared Heart/Airport area is very nice and safe also.

    Also the area around UWF/West Florida Hospital is nice and safe. Olive Road has tons of apartments and is a safe area to live.

  • Raplh Jones says:

    While East Hill has had a reputation as being a nicer part of town, isn’t always deserved. I have a friend who recently moved there and has had nothing but trouble. He only stays there about half the time as he works offshore. That may be part of the problem. He has had trouble with break-ins into his car and his place. I have obvious drug deals going down right near where he lives. I think your promotion of East Hill does a great disservice to people who might be surprised what they find in East Hill.

  • Blake says:

    Hi, I’m a speech-language pathologist relocating for work. Does anyone know anything about Langley Ave at Schwab or Okaloosa Ave?