For many years, The Villages really lived up to its monicker, “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown”.
If you were to ask any resident the top 4 or 5 things they like about the place, the words “low crime” are often included in their statements describing why they love The Villages.
And while the community does have a pretty low crime rate, crime does exist.
Most of the crime seems to be alcohol-related, including DUI’s and sometimes domestic disputes and battery.
But, the community has had its share of thefts and other crimes.
Just to give you one example, back in 2014 there were 8 burglaries in the span of about 60 days, with one taking place between 3 and 4 a.m. while the homeowners were asleep in their bed and resulted in the theft of a 50-inch TV, a Macintosh computer and a digital camera.
There have been other rashes of burglaries at various times.
Stolen carts and golf clubs happen fairly regularly as well.
In the December 2015 update to my book (I update it every 2 years or so), I shared a few of the crimes that had occurred in the few years prior to that update:
– Shortly before Christmas one year someone was arrested for stealing UPS pack- ages from the doorstep of a home in The Villages
– A man was arrested for stealing a purse and six credit cards from City Fire in Brownwood
– There were two recent carjackings that ended with crashes in The Villages
And, here are a few of the most notable crimes that have occurred in recent years:
– A group of Polish and Russian gypsies were arrested for stealing jewelry and silverware from homes in The Villages
– In the course of the same month, a Villages man was arrested after he physically assaulted a woman who was sitting in a chair he had saved at Spanish Springs Town Square
– An employee of McCall’s Tavern confronted two teenagers who were driving recklessly around Spanish Springs Town Square. The teens attacked the employee, and he died a week later from his injuries.
– A married Villages man was arrested for firing 33 shots into his neighbor’s home after she declined his repeated sexual advances. He later admitted to having a crush on the woman. (Luckily no one was injured)
– An employee of an electrical contractor stole rings valued at $13,500 from a home he was working on in The Villages to feed a prescription pill addiction
– A 60-year old Villages resident entered the VA Outpatient Clinic armed with an AM-15 rifle, at least two additional magazines containing 26 rounds of ammo each, and a 9-mm handgun. After confronting a Dr. in an exam room, a series of struggles ensued. The suspect’s gun was discharged multiple times, but thankfully nobody was hit. The gunman was restrained by clinic staff and patients and is in custody.
I’ve told people all along, first impressions aside, The Villages is just like any other place with a population of 125,000+ people.
There are always going to be people out to take advantage of such a high concentration of middle to upper class unsuspecting victims.
As one resident put it to me:
“The Villages has over 125,000 residents. It’s a cross section of America and much of the World. Are we really without any of the problems faced by other municipalities?”
Absolutely not, and the bigger it grows the more apparent that is to those who are paying attention.
In the past, much of what happens has gone unreported by the local media for various reasons which makes it really tough for residents, let alone prospective future residents, to get a handle on how much and what kind of crime problems The Villages really faces.
This has changed recently with new sites like Villages-News.com coming online and covering this stuff, but not everybody knows where to look.
Basically my goal is to let current and future residents know that just because you live in or plan to move to what people describe as “Disney World for adults”, you cannot let your guard down.
Keep your doors locked at all times. Get a security system. Look out for your neighbors. Program the phone numbers for local police into your phone.
All things that seem like basic common sense but we are all guilty of forgetting sometimes.
And the same goes for wherever you decide to call home.