This Florida city has the most gun violence in the country, survey says
By Howard Cohen

Some mixed news for Florida from a new survey on gun violence across the United States.

Ocala, a city in the central part of the state, notched the highest volume of firearm-related incidents in the country, overall, at 28.9 incidents per 10,000 people, according to Gun Violence Archive data comparing a four year period of 2014 to 2018, and studied by researchers at Security.Org

Detroit followed Ocala and St. Louis came in third among the 10 major cities with the most firearm-related incidents.

The Ocala numbers — 26 incidents in 2014 to 141 in 2018 — marks more than a 442% increase, the most in the country, according to the data. No other Florida city ranked among the Top 10 in that incidents category.

Ocala also placed among the cities with the most gun-related injuries among 10,000 people, ranking No. 7 with 11.3. St. Louis topped that list with 18.6, followed by Baltimore, Maryland (13.7) and Gary, Ind., (13.3). Miami, by comparison, was No. 103 in this category.

When incidents turned fatal, Ocala also came in high, at fifth in the nation in the number of gun-related deaths at 5.6 per 10,000 people, while West Palm Beach ranked ninth with 4.8 deaths. Miami and Homestead ranked Nos. 74 and 75 in that category, respectively. Coral Gables was ranked No. 553.

St. Louis and Gary were Nos. 1 and 2 on the deaths list, with 9.1 and 7.2 deaths per 10,000 people between 2014 and 2018, respectively. Jackson, Mississippi, and Birmingham, Alabama were Nos. 3 and 4.

Miami-Dade cities did not rank among the Top 10 in any category in the surveyed period.

Miami, for instance, ranked No. 148 among gun-related incidents and such incidents declined by 7% from 187 to 143. Homestead was next closest at No. 228, Miami Gardens was at No. 231 and Miami Beach was at No. 306.

In Broward, Fort Lauderdale ranked No. 325 among incidents. Hollywood ranked No. 531. Pompano Beach at No. 401, for example.


But Fort Lauderdale ranked seventh among the cities with the largest decrease in the survey period, dropping from 78 gun-related incidents in 2014 to 26 in 2018, a nearly 67% decline.

Corpus Christi, Tx., and Flint, Mich., ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the largest declines at at nearly 77% and 74% dips, respectively.


So where are these incidents happening?

The five most common places where gun violence occurs are residences, businesses, schools, restaurants and hotels.

Florida was Nos. 1 and 5 in the most common place, residences, with Ocala at No. 1 (6.1 incidents per 10,000 people) and Orlando at No. 2 (4.1).

Two Florida cities, Ocala and Pensacola, tied for fourth among incidents in business locations. Greensville, South Carolina was No. 1 in that category.

Daytona Beach and West Palm Beach were Nos. 2 and 5 among schools in major cities, with 1.2 and 1.0 incidents per 10,000 people.

For instance, in April 2018, a 17-year-old student was shot in the ankle by a 19-year-old man at Forest High School., the Ocala Star-Banner reported.

Jackson, Tenn., was No. 1 in the schools category with 1.3 incidents per 10,000 people.

Meantime, Ocala was third in the restaurants category, behind No 1 Charleston, West Virginia and No. 2 Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

And Pensacola was No. 1 among hotel incidents, with 1.7 per 10,000 people.

“These days, Florida and gun violence are often spoken about in the same breath: In the wake of the February 2018 Parkland school shooting, Florida passed a bill allowing teachers to have a gun in the classroom as a means of defense,” Security.Org reported in its study.

“From skeet shooting to self-defense, guns are woven into the United States’ DNA,” the report reads. “While it’s nearly impossible to nail down an exact number, Americans own an estimated 393 million guns – a number that accounts for nearly half of the entire world’s firearm ownership. America’s current population is approximately 326 million people, which means there are officially more guns than people nationwide,” The Washington Post reported in June 2018.

The survey’s results were released Friday.