Does The Villages Have a Crime Problem?

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 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.

82 thoughts on “Does The Villages Have a Crime Problem?”

  1. There does not seem to be any violent crimes. Loosing stuff is one thing but being injured or worse is something else. What does bother me is that it appears none of the robberies are being solved. Also, what is the crime rate in surrounding communities?

  2. The Villages remains a low crime area in regards to the total population. I agree that neighbors need to be observant, but I strongly disagree that everyone should have an alarm system.

  3. Jeanmarie Petrino

    I’m very nervous about this. My husband and I just moved in on New Years Eve and one of the first things we hear from our friend that lives down here is that there was a break-in in Fernandina, which is our new neighborhood. Moving and trying to sell our other properties is stressful enough, we really are not prepared for this.

  4. The recent burglary while the homeowners were asleep is particularly scary. Had the homeowners woken up, the situation could have easily escalated into something much worse. Personal safety should be everyone’s primary concern and installing an alarm system would certainly be a good deterrent. There are many options available and differ in affordability. Something to think about.

  5. crime rate going up because of the younger kids entering the squares at night, drinking and swearing, hanging around in groups being disrespectful, smoking pot etc. I would NEVER live in the villages, NO security at all!!!! This is what is coming into the villages now. Soon it will be a slum place!!Got a good start now

  6. Most people that come from north of the Georgia line in other words other states think they are in ( Old People’s Disney land) they leave there garage doors open at night,sleep with their windows open,doors unlocked. leave cars unlocked garage openers,car keys,Cps like that is a safe place.

    The “Daily Sun News” doesn’t put anything bad in the news paper only all the fun things people can are no more safe here then you would be Leesburg or Ocala.

    They don’t tell you about all the golf cart and car wrecks either running right in front of your car or turning left on a red light.

    Get your self an “Home Alarm system” on all your doors and windows, car alarm or start using them when your at home or in your cars like you would in the City! Facts.

  7. I think it might help if the developer and the Media stop bragging about the income of the Villagers. I don’t know how true the figures are but they are above any of the people in my area. It tends to make others think we are all very rich. This is not the case. We are just average retirees; there’s just too many of us. We’ve gotten too big.

  8. Let’s all be more aware, in order to protect our neighborhoods from crime. I received an email from a friend yesterday, on this subject. has provided a service in the past, regarding News we won’t get from local media (until it’s brought to our attention otherwise). Spread the word.

  9. I am having some serious issues with the lack of security there, the power of the developer, the types of crime going on where it could easily escalate to physical violence beating doors down while homeowners are asleep etc.

    The Villages has become an open entertainment area for people in surrounding areas and the lack of enforcement in there is really disturbing. All ages are there all the time and clearly this is not really a age restricted development. Anyone can rent in there at any age level and visit the various centers.

  10. Whether you live here in The Villages or not you should aiways be alert to what is going on around you, security starts at home, being aware of and questioning unusual behavior from anyone you don’t recognize in your neighborhood is just good sense. As everyone should know to lock doors and windows when not at home or in bed,have police and fire numbers in your phone or readily available. It just takes common sense to be safe . Oh and a 357 magnum at the ready can’t hurt!!!!

  11. All so interesting, Ryan. We had no idea of these recent crimes, and we now will be more alert throughout our neighborhood. In the meantime, this information gives further cause to appreciate our Constitutional 2nd Amendment Rights.

  12. Seriously folks before panicking on rumors wait for police reports. With 45,000 homes to have a home arbitrarily chosen for a kick-in breaking on the chance of finding some cash and cheap jewelry lying around during the middle of the day is a little hard to believe without seeing a police report. In some cases it seems the resident dogs were awfully quiet.

    That said you and your neighbors should always be vigilant in your neighborhoods, don’t flash cash around in a store or bank, keep away from anyone young or old who has been drinking heavily and acting strange, and don’t fail to reort anything suspicious to community watch or police. Keep house and car doors locked, as well as close your garage doors. Where there are visitors in your neighborhood be equally aware.

    No need to arm yourselves based on a relatively few instances, true or not. As for the squares don’t be afraid to come out and enjoy. Regardless of a few instances the more people enjoying our facilities the safer they are.

    This is just plain common sense. For those of us from areas with a far greater preponderance of crime, even if those areas were not high crime areas this is still a very very low crime area and with the cooperation and awareness of al our residents and visitors I will continue to be so for many, many years.

    So relax and be aware.

  13. My husband and I were thinking about moving to the Villiages, we always thought it was a gated community 55 plus…we didn’t know that anyone could come in…Now that I know I will not be moving to the Villiages.

  14. Is there any way to make the “rules” a little more stringent about who comes into the Villages? Like Debbie said- this is supposed to be a 55+ community. Perhaps people without VILLAGES ID’s should be charged the going rate at the movie theaters, etc. I don’t know what the solution is- but it does seem like there are an awful lot of children/teens just “hanging out”- not necessarily visiting. I also know there is some rule about a certain percentage has to be under 55 soas not to be discriminatory- but who checks that? We moved here because we wanted to be in a retirement community- and up until now- we HAVE felt safe. This really concerns me.

  15. I have to agree with a lot of the comments. However what really gets me is that we are left in the lurch and not told what’s really going on around here. I’m thankful for Ryan Erisman trying to keep us informed.

    Safety is always important. It’s up to us to keep our homes/neighborhoods safe.

    I wouldn’t say this is a gated community because anyone can get in. Card Key for the gates. That’s a flunk. No card, just push a button and you are in.

    What about the workers around in the Villages. Lawn service, flower planters, tree trimmers, bug guy, builders, gas, electric readers. Most aren’t from here. It’s just a job for them. And with their ability to travel all over the Villages, they get to see lots. They are in houses, out of houses, seeing what’s in the garages. You name it, they’ve seen it. If they wanted to case your house that would be easy to do right then when they are doing something for you.

    All I can say is, if you know there is going to be a stranger coming to do something for you, don’t have cash or other valuables laying around for them to see. If you do have nice art or other possession sitting around, don’t point them out to them. We all like to show off our goodies but be careful who you are showing.

    So, after all this is said and done. We must be vigilant in the care of our property as we would anywhere. Lock your doors. Lock window when you are gone. Make sure someone picks up your papers if you are going to be gone. You put safety features in your house to make it easy for you to get around; don’t forget about making your home safe too.

    Well we have a neighbor watch. I’m still not sure what they do except call and tell you that you left your garage door open. A lot of the rules are not enforced. Things like parking on the street at night. Parking on the lawn, or having decorations out too long. All and all people do try and stick to the rules. But how many rentals don’t know the rules?

    The Villages is the friendliest place. It is a Disney Land for seniors. It’s what we make of it. We have to all protect what we have. Even fun places have problems.

  16. My concern is lack of security at the residential entrances. Any one can gain entrance access. At any time

  17. If you want to live somewhere that is 100% safe good luck to you finding it! We can’t expect to live in a “bubble” folks and sometimes we think we do here in The Villages. Common sense people, we live I’m a community with a population that rivals many large cities. I personally feel very safe here, but that does not mean I don’t take precautions. As far as a “gated community”, that would be impossible in a place this size, and besides that gives you nothing but a false sense of security. If someone really wants your “stuff” they are going to get it!
    Stop being paranoid and enjoy living here, be sensible and let’s all look out for each other!

  18. Ryan, we really appreciate your informative articles. We just closed on our house Tuesday and this is very concerning to us. We were led to believe that this is a safe area and a gated community. We don’t understand why anyone is getting access into the community and why resident ID’s and/or guest passes aren’t being checked. With all the residents, isn’t there a way to insist on enforcing the community rules and not allowing other people from entering? I realize workers have to get in, but those people should have to register at the gate. That should stop unauthorized people from getting in so easily.

  19. My suggestion is don’t flaunt your wealth. It is great to wear fine jewelry and dress upscale but if you venture in to parts unknown (neighboring towns) you can see the lower standards of living that exists
    all around us.. Be vigilant!

  20. I thought there were gates for every community in the different village areas with guards checking who is coming in an and out of each village.

  21. Thanks Ryan …… Glad to hear the truth about what happening in our neighborhoods as we sure dont get it from the newspaper….people watch who is visiting your neighbors …keep a eye out for service people around … Take a lic plate down if u quesition some thing that doesn’t seem right!! Be smart ! Enjoy your life here … But be careful too.

  22. My husband and I were thinking of looking in the villages. Now after hearing these stories I don’t think we will be going to the villages.

    I would feel much safer in a gated community. Sorry to hear this.

  23. When I moved here in September,I was under the impression that the squares were to be used for residents and guests.why are gates so easy to access by outsiders.I am really not happy about this situation.

  24. Why can’t the gatekeeper on Pinellas stop visitors and question where they are going. Right now they just keep the gate open and wave people through. Someone said this was a state road – so why have a gate at all.

  25. When my wife and I visited The Villages a year ago, we noticed that we didn’t see any police or security anywhere. Who is responsible for enforcing the law in The Villages? It’s obvious that the developer does not want any bad news going out but it would be in the community’s best interest to hire security to police the town squares and neighborhoods if local police won’t/can’t.

    The problem, as mentioned, is no worse than any other large community. Since anyone can get in (the neighborhood gates are unmanned and don’t stop anyone), residents need to take the necessary steps to ensure their own safety.

  26. We the Villagers have worked hard all our life’s were here to enjoy our life’s , I have a problem with the developer. I understand they are trying to sell homes but I would have more respect for them if we knew exactly what to expect by putting the truth of everything that happens in the Villages in the Developer own News paper, developer own TV station and developer own radio station. I mean it’s our life and our right to know the truth about whats going on in our community , so we know how to protect ourselves. The developer certainly has made enough money that now they should focus on not only the friendliest place but also a safer place by hiring private security to reduce the crime in the Villages. It’s their moral responsibility to protect the Village residents that help make them wealthy individual . I for one will like to know the truth about what crimes , what accidents , what type of incidences are occurring in the Villages , like they would be reported in other communities across the United States.

  27. IF anyone who lives here in The Villages, or is considering moving here, thinks that there should absolutely be no crime here, is being extremely unrealistic. It does not matter where you live—crime is going to happen. But just like everywhere else, you need to take proper precautions, and be on the lookout for anything that seems suspicious.

    This place—is what we make of it. It will be as good or as bad as we allow it to be. I have been all over this beautiful country of ours. There is NO perfect nirvana. Having looked most everywhere—this is one of the very few places, (and I could argue the only place) that offers THIS much opportunity, of things to get involved with or in. And if they tightened The Villages up to the point that it would take—in order to reduce any crime here to near nothing—I believe that most of us would NOT be happy with what it would take to get there. Because,—then, who wins? The bad guys! And it is us—the retiree that worked all of our lives to be here—who would suffer.

    1. Home invasions crosses the line for a place where I want to live regardless of all the things to do there. It simply is not secure there and to stay safe you would have to put security gates on your doors. No thanks……

      1. Just because there were a few problems, that’s not a reason to give up on the Villages. Yes there have been problems but over all these people didn’t take the proper protective measures that everyone should use. Like locking there doors.

        The Villages has so much to offer. And there is still a lower crime rate. It’s nothing like other cities.

        You should visit it for a few days before you make up your mind. The villages isn’t for everyone. But those that are here love it.

        1. If you are already invested there I understand some of these statements but, for us, renting once in awhile is enough for us.

        2. I already live in Florida for over 20 years now and I don’t know where you hail from but, the issues there give us real reason to look around in other areas. Home invasions are not the only issue I have, developer control and lack of disclosure are big deals and also kids running around all over all the time. I prefer a more age restricted area where kids visit certain amount of time a year, There they come from all over and whenever to all the town squares and it is just to Disney for me.

  28. The concept there is open for business to the outside in order to support the lifestyle in there and the 4 town squares that depend on the people to stay open. Unless, they secured the infrastructure to the neighborhoods I would not be interested in living there. For someone to bust your door down while you are in the home asleep is beyond what I want to contend with for any amount of activities. The developer is not fully disclosing to the owners there what is going on and that is unacceptable. Controlling all the information that is distributed there from only using realtors he employs, controlling the newspapers and radio output this developer has created a socialistic atmosphere under the dome there. If, they cannot or will not address this situation the plans for further growth there will exascerbate the situation even more. I may visit The Village but won’t be buying a home there.

  29. I read most of the comments. I am in the market to move to a warmer climate from North Carolina south. I looked at Wilmington nc last year and was impressed. But I have been following a website that shows crime in an area if your choice and Wilmington and surrounding areas are not even as safe as the area on Long Island that I live now. If anyone has suggestions, I am very open to hearing them.

  30. I’m looking into living at the villages.i assumed it would be safe due to the age of the residents.what is a 30 yr old doing living in a retirement home?

  31. Zande is 100% spot-on. My intent here was certainly not to dissuade people from choosing The Villages. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a safer place to retire.

    Just pointing out that its not Mayberry anymore, so people should prepare accordingly.

  32. I have lived in the Villages for 5 years and heard about the break-ins in the neighborhood where the last of the houses were near completion. The burglaries are where the new villages are being built, Collier, Fernandina, etc. Don’t you think that the many, many workers who drive through the new neighborhoods are burglarizing the new houses? Yes, there may be some in the old villages, but most are south of 466A. So new people and not-so-new people, lock up, leave some lights on (with timers), etc. You know what to do.

  33. What I don’t understand is why the gates are up, but not used. When my realtor showed us around, she used her gate key to get in. Were we purposely deceived? We are in the new section, which was just mentioned as the major target. Yes, we do take precautions, but we shouldn’t have to be so stressed over a place we thought was our dream home. Workers should get temporary passes, which would register when they are in the community. Or, they should have to go through the manned security. I have visited friends in other gated communities and I always had to register. They recorded my license plate as well as taking my name. If something happened, they would go after the people who were in the community during that time period. I realize that things will always happen in any community, but those gates should be used properly.

  34. For a population of over 100,000 people, the crime rate practically does not exist. Really, are we so naïve to believe that there is ANYWHERE crime does not exist?? The Villages turned all the roads over to the counties several years ago making them public roads. The counties in turn police them. We have community watch that does a drive-by several times a day. We have wonderful neighbors that keep a watch out. Would you want cameras owned by the villages watching your every move?? I don’t think so. You need to take some responsibility and be aware that there is crime everywhere. Get a good security system and/or cameras to police your own property. The villages in the older section do not have guard shacks at all. We are no different then anywhere else. The guard shacks and passes are a deterrent only. Get realistic and realize that the Villages is a fantastic place to live and that these incidences should not deter anyone from staying here or moving in.

    1. What has the developer done to address this home invasion problem? It sure looks like he is restricting media information about many things in there and if you live there and look at this as a minor thing in relation to the amount of people in there is fooling yourselves. Bill, you are so correct and intelligent people would be extremely concerned about the lack of disclosure in there on many serious issues that affects the investment in The Villages.

  35. I’m confused. What obligation does a developer have to notify potential crime problems? Building and environmental related yes, but social, I don’t think so. I have been in many developments window shopping and not one mentioned crime and I know for a fact that many of the areas had problems beyond what the villages is experiencing. What’s that phrase caveat emptor? Do your homework and discovery can be made. The one point I have seen made in the comments that I agree with is that the police do not appear to be making a concerted effort to solve these events. Successful prosecution would discourage future attempts. Also, more of a police presence is needed even at the risk of appearing that the area is not safe.

    1. Folks, the elephant is in the room and if measures aren’t addressed by the homeowners to their association there in numbers you can expect more of the same plus more…..with more development coming there in Pinellas County
      by this owner, developer and even more strangers coming in there for no good purposes to rip you off in your sleep or otherwise. Criminals bold enough to break a door down while owners are asleep and secured or so they thought in their homes with locks etc. tragically, someone is eventually going to get killed or seriously injured.

      If I was a homeowner there I would be rallying the homeowners and demanding something be done to secure that place and demand more support from the local police regarding all those public streets in there after all you are paying taxes where is the police protection in there? I would not sit back and just say, well, crime is everywhere….that is a head in the sand attitude that can get you killed.

  36. When I moved here 2 yrs ago from S Fl, felt uncomfortable no alarms in homes. But then seemed safer here. However once I realized the number of outsiders coming and going for work, became concerned again. In other areas often was workers doing landscape, lawns, repairs or construction who were behind these types of crimes. Kicking in front doors was becoming common under guise of lawn blowers and construction. Sad to see it happening here. Squares, esp Brownwood needs more police presence in eves. Substation appears closed most of the time. Young kids in groups will ruin business if not controlled by police.

  37. While I realize that the developers would not disclose the crime, I would think they would be honest about the gates. Why have gates if they’re not being used? To me, this is misleading to a new buyer. One of the easiest ways to help solve the current crime issue is to secure the gates and make it necessary to register if you are not a resident.

    I agree about what goes on at night in Brownwood. Even on New Year’s Eve, a bunch of teenagers were disruptive and finally asked to leave. This was not done through the police, but rather through the entertainment people. That’s not their job to have to enforce the rules. We didn’t see any police presence at all! Someone mentioned making arrests to show others that they can’t get away with it. I totally agree!

    1. Those homeowners in there have a right to full disclosure on every issue in The Villages by this developer because he markets that place as this all inclusive dome of enchantment to buyers with anything and everything you could want in retirement. But, in reality he has not been forthcoming about many things.

  38. I agree with Ali. We need to stick together and demand protection. We are paying high prices for our homes and amendments. What some people don’t realize, in addition to not feeling safe and potentially having serious issues, is that the values of our homes will go down as well. If an area goes downhill, so does the value of your home. We need this problem addressed and solved. I do agree that some of these crimes are being done by workers, but I think other people are involved as well. A functioning security gate would help. I also agree with previous comments that any non-resident, worker or not, should have to stop and register at the gate. Also, we are paying high costs for amenities. How are we not only allowing other people to use them but we are accepting them being obnoxious while people are performing. Not only do we not have the relaxed entertainment we are paying for, but that is disrespectful to the performers as well.

    1. Beth, you are so right. Your home values will plummet if something is not done and the residents have to rise up in the numbers to have any impact for change to tighter security in there. This issue is being taken to lightly by people who own property in there as if it is the same everywhere. This kind of crime can scare potential buyers in there even though it is being downplayed. How many people in there have to be attacked and their homes broken into for it to be important? I’ve heard enough and sooner rather than later to act and hold those accountable for not making changes according to your documents in there. To make an impact you need numbers of residents in there to rise up….the more the better like they did about that wall that was put up….by that developer/owner. You always have more power in numbers……

    1. Absolutely, Hector just get a gun….and once a few of them are taken down that will certainly get the attention of someone there…..chuckle ali

  39. We winter at different Rv/mobile home parks that are only 55 or 65+ communities. No kids or two week visits with grand parents only.
    24 hour gate guards and no crime.
    Most of these are under 2000 residents, but it can be done.

    We were planning a house buying trip to the villages, but crime and teenagers hanging around will kill those plans.
    The housing costs and fees in the villages are bad enough, now these negatives.

  40. One thing to avoid unwanted entrance is Dead Bolt locks.

    Another is steel doors and reinforcements on sliding glass doors.

    Also I have noticed that there are many doors with either an upper half of glass on doors or side glass panels. In these cases (such as in my house) it is imperative to get a deadbolt lock that requires a KEY to unlock it from the inside, instead of a latch. This way even if a burglar breaks the glass to unlock the door knob & deadbolt locks, they won’t be able to unlock the deadbolt (as a key will be needed) and the will probably leave to look for an easier entry access. The same is applicable to the door from garage to the laundry room or other access to the home interior.

    Sliding glass doors also have enforcing rods, securing these access points, short of breaking the glass which makes a lot of noise.

    Also posting signs that warn of an alarm or of Security Cameras In Use, make it a guessing game whether true or not, and burglars will typically look for the easiest less risky place to hit, as more often than not they have no idea what is in any individual home, until they are inside. Security lights around the house also help, lighting up whenever anyone approaches within 10-15 ft of the perimeter.

    Get your neighbors phone numbers (and make sure they have yours) so you can warn each other of any suspicious activity around your home.

    Good luck.

    1. We are more concerned about the lack of control in the Town Squares with teenagers and the influx of kids that have nothing else to do in this isolated area. The Villages are not secured and the police in the area are not handling the issues in there.

      We will continue to visit but, no longer want to pursue building or buying a home in there. With its out of control growth in there and lack of security and the public road running through it it will never be properly secured to protect my life or investment in there. What is being marketed in there is a fairytale and if you do move in there you better be prepared to get cameras, security doors and all deterrents you can buy.

      1. I hear your observations and respect your opinion, though I can’t share it. Name 2 places (since the White House may well qualify as 1, though even there, there are people who try to jump the fence) in the world that is 100% safe, where the Police will solve ALL crimes (well, if it is safe enough to meet your needs, there would be no need for ‘Police’ except to give speeding tickets, and perhaps you would have a problem with that too.) If you find Shangrila, please let the rest of us know where it is so we can move there too… But they better have Golf and the 101+ other activities, and for the most part ‘friendly people we can all enjoy here in The Villages. In the meantime, YES there may be some element of crimes here in The Villages (like there is everywhere, though not as much per capita as anywhere else, or even as in the US as a whole), but for what we get (protected property values vs most other places, secure real estate investment, affordable housing, professional services and top-notch community management, we are glad to be able to have retired, purchased our home here and have been enjoying The Villages lifestyle since 2003, and since we are only in our 60s we’ll probably be here till we croak. Hope you find a place that meets your stringent criteria.

        PS. We go to the Squares often and while true that there are young (non-Villager) teenagers there as well (as after all that part is a PUBLIC place), we have never come across any that were disrespectful or bothersome. For the most part they are also very friendly, if you just bother to talk to them. Of course while they too are seeking to have a good time (like us) they do have much more energy than we do, so they may seem more ‘unruly’, but let them enjoy their youth, we have already enjoyed ours. They say that if you want things to change, you have to change your point of view. If you try to see The Villages with a POSITIVE instead of NEGATIVE mindset, you may see The Villages (and just about anything really) in a much more enjoyable light.

        Best wishes, wherever you choose to retire.

        1. Thanks Bill for your insight and I must say since you are there it is good you are happy there. While I do agree no perfect place exists I want security and a 55 age restricted community and many places here in FLORIDA fit that criteria and obviously, you know very little about Florida especially since you ended up in the middle of nowhere. I know that area well from the 70’s and I will tell you nothing else exists for kids to do but, come there and create a ruckus. They will not restrict those town centers and that is a problem for me. I enjoy visiting there but, you either live in a restricted age community with security or you don’t. I don’t think I am being strict in my criteria I can pay what you pay there and get it in many areas here in Florida

          1. Yes, I probably have not lived in FL long enough, as I have only been a Floridian 1975-1980 and 1985 to present, having lived and worked in Tampa, Miami, Lakeland, Bartow, Brandon and The Villages, but not everyone can travel around the State as perhaps you have been privileged to. As I said, Best Wishes wherever you decide to retire. As long as you are happy with your choice, that is all that matters.

            1. We already live in Florida on the East Coast close to the Intercoastal and ocean. So, we are used to huge natural bodies of water and currently live in a guard and gate community and in 6 years have never had any crime issues. We are downsizing and we are building a home not far from this one in a guard gated community that is age restricted. We just decided we didn’t want to be landlocked.

              I wish you well there and you have been there a long time it sounds so my best to you.

  41. The roads are public and each neighborhood in there will have to watch out for each other if they want to live there. No real security exists there except what you create for yourself. You are paying for amenities that others are using for free that don’t live there. The town squares are part of that public amenity to everyone and anyone under 55. The only thing you can really secure is your own investment there and in your immediate neighborhood and that depends on how dedicated those homeowners are to securing their neighborhood in there and the costs to live there it is my belief you have a right to expect more than you are getting. Unless, the homeowners stand up in the masses for change in there the lack of disclosure, security and overall unrest will continue in ‘The Friendliest Hometown’ as will moving out.

    1. Some may have got caught, but if you look at the archive news, this has been going on for some time. I agree with a previous post, you pay a lot of money to live there, and I don’t see where you get a secure lifestyle for what you pay. I would rather live in a small community with a TRUE gated community. Plus on your tax accessments you pay a maintenance fee plus a bond fee. I have no idea what the maintenance covers, because you are responsible for all of your own. Other communities don’t impose bonds, the developer covers the development fees. It’s a win win for the developer, you pay everything, and they reap all the benefis.

      1. The only true gated community is one without a CDD involvement. Once they are incorporated by a developer your security goes down the tubes and the roads become public and many developers do this and access the homeowners all the infrastructure costs. Most developers do this to offset the costs to them so, you really have to get involved in what you are buying into by looking at all the documents about how the community is funded, the integrity of the developer vs. the hype and do your own homework and make up your mind if its for you or not.

        A community that is set up where the homeowners have no real say when they pay what they do there is a concern and you can’t depend on realtors who work for the developer to be up front you have to dig deep yourself and go through the public records and check the crime stats for yourself.

        Then you decide do I want to bother with this?

        1. Totally right on. We looked at that area, and after you factor in the bonds, maintenance fee on your real estate tax, amenity fees, just a lot of money for what you get. For what I would spend in The Villages for these fees, I would rather live somewhere where there was a gated community, and lawn care was included. Not to mention that the homes are average construction, yet they charge a premium price for the homes and lots. The bond interest is 6+ %, which is paid on your tax bill annually. Where can you get 6% return on savings in todays economy? I guess that is why the developer is a billionaire.

          1. Muttonhead, where are you looking to buy? What areas are you finding out there that I may need to go check out I would sure appreciate the info. ali

          2. Muttonhead, you are right on all points. One person is making money in there on everyone else the developer and the people he hires to sell it. The homes just aren’t that impressive for half a million dollars or more. The costs associated with living there with no security, no accountability just presents so many discrepancies for me to launch in and buy there. As long as you stay in the dome it appears a certain way but, when you venture out from there it gets seedy. This is where the crime is coming from and the easy picking of those in The Villages that think they are protected. The cost/benefit analysis isn’t coming together. If the issues are being ignored now in there and the homeowners aren’t demanding solutions to protect themselves and their property they worked their entire lives to have then someone is going to get left holding the bag.

      2. If the information that is broadcast,written and distributed throughout The Villages reported all statistical information instead of select happy things maybe people who live there wouldn’t be so suspicious and wonder what they have to hide all the time. The reason is simple. They don’t lie in there they just don’t disclose everything to give the appearance that everything is wonderful. I wonder what those poor people who were asleep and someone busted their door down would say or if they even still live there.

        Not having all the information about a place is a big disservice to future homeowners who move in there and are totally drinking the kool aid that is served up. Then they discover what a little up front research could have revealed. If you have all the information you need on an area then you can make an intelligent decision about it based on facts and you are more likely to be happy where you choose to move. Become educated about the area and how it compares to what you expect from it vs. the cost of it and if you are truly getting what you think you are.

        Statistics show they sell a lot and hundreds of homes in there are for sale that are not that old. Look, also, at how many are rentals vs. owners. Is that something you can deal with? Is this really a 55 plus community is something else you need to research. Go there and spend a week and evaluate on your own how it is in the day and what goes on at night or not. Nothing like seeing it for yourself. An educated decision is always the best not one based on the appearance or propaganda that is going around.

      3. We are selling our home and storing our things and will be renting for 6 mos to a year before considering a purchase in The Villages. I am doing exactly what I recommend any potential buyer do before possibly making a mistake. You can rent furnished places up there or anywhere while you review the area and take a closer look than an initial visit will render. Get the feel of the area and other areas for comparison. That is what we are going to do. My next move is my last big move and I want to make sure it is the right one. I don’t want to be impulsive about it but, methodically researched and realistically evaluated and sure about the decision.

        I’m not going to drink any Kool Aid. I will be having a glass of wine knowing I made the right decision for me after I have done the homework and experienced the area all seasons.

  42. We are new to the Villages, wondering if we made a mistake. We weren’t aware of the lack of security there. Whenever we were looking, the realtor used her “key” for the gates. She never told us that anyone can use the roads, whether it not they belonged there. I think the realtors need to be more upfront with people.

  43. It is not possible to secure public roads and it simply won’t be happening in The Villages. If the neighborhood roads are not public they can be therein, is my question. Does anyone know if they are private or not?
    I would be attending city meetings demanding to know what my taxes are being used for if not protecting those public roads and communities within them. Does the developer live in there? What will happen when he is done building in there and moves on?

  44. Folks, you have every right to be concerned and take action with all the transient people in and out of that place. But, it is a public road and you cannot deny access to anyone of any age, race etc. without facing litigation so, if you love it there you will have to come up way that you can live with. If, you are afraid every day, have to arm yourself with a weapon and get alarm systems and cameras etc., then you really have to review how you really want to spend your retirement and where.

    People love it there and are okay with not being informed and good for them. I say if you are considering buying in there do your homework through the public records, check out the sinkhole issues in those counties and the crime stats- and then make up your own mind after you have done your own research in an unbiased way. You cannot rely on sources that are making money promoting The Villages.

  45. Ask questions, go there several times during different seasons to see the seasonal influx of people and what you think of that and if its okay with you. Rent for awhile before buying in there to really have a chance to see how it really is from people who live there and experience what it is all about. Renting is much less painful than moving there and realizing it wasn’t what you thought, heard or read.

    After being exposed to all the available homes for sale outside the control of developer that are resales, visiting the restaurants and seeing what it is really all about and if it is for you then and only then can you truly know if this is your place for retirement or not. The Villages is a tourist destination and many of the residences are rentals.

    I have been there twice for a week each time and while it is interesting to see and visit I have been researching facts from fiction and omission and I have serious reservations and concerns and so should you if you are considering a purchase .

  46. We recently spoke to someone from the Villages about the gates not being locked. While the initial roads are public, the roads leading to the individual villages are still private. She said the gates are open right now due to the building and get locked after a certain time at night. When we said we arrived home very late one night and the gate was open, she said it was probably an oversight on the management’s part and she would remind them to lock the gates after the workers are done for the day. She also insisted that once all the building is finished, the gates leading to the individual villages will be secure. Hopefully she’s right. There will still be public roads and squares to deal with, but hopefully the gates will be locked and will be a deterrent for people and help protect us and our homes.

  47. To say there is not violate crimes in the Villages might be an incorrect comment. There may not be many but there have been some. I did a search on murders in The Villages, FL. Here is a couple of what I got. I’m not attaching the entire article because they are long but you can go see them yourself.


    Florida justices uphold death for triggerman in The Villages murder

    November 10, 2010|By Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

    The state Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and death sentence for the killer in the first-ever murder in The Villages.

    Renaldo “Pooney” McGirth, then 20, became the youngest person on Florida’s death row in May 2008 when he was sentenced for the first-degree murder of Diana Miller on July 21, 2006. He and two friends had tried to rob Miller, 63, and her husband, James, at the retired couple’s home on Wesley Street in The Villages.
    James Miller, now 72, also was shot in the back of the head but miraculously survived.

    McGirth’s accomplices in the robbery and murder, Jarrord Roberts and Theodore Houston Jr., received lengthy prison sentences for their roles in the crime. All three were caught after a 100-mph chase with police.

    They had Sheila Miller with them. She insisted she was a kidnap victim and was not charged.

    McGirth shot Diana Miller in the chest after she told him she had only had $70 in the house. He insisted that he knew they were wealthy because they were retired accountants and lived in the affluent retirement community.

    Diana Miller then turned to her daughter and said, “What have you told them?”

    Diana Miller survived the first shot and McGirth then forced her to sit at a computer and order mobile phones and sneakers online. She tried, but bleeding profusely, could not complete the Internet transactions.

    OCALA – Two of the men charged in the July 21, 2006 murder of a woman and the kidnapping of her daughter in The Villages will face a jury on Monday, despite defense requests to postpone the trial.
    Circuit Judge Brian Lambert denied defense requests for additional time to prepare for trial in a hearing Thursday.

    Renaldo McGirth, 19, Theodore C. Huston, 18, and Jarrord M. Roberts, 21, are charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, kidnapping with a firearm and fleeing police.
    The state is seeking death against McGirth and Roberts. Their trial starts Monday. Huston is being tried separately. McGirth is represented by Candace Hawthorne and Brenda Smith, and Roberts is represented by Henry Ferro. Lake County lawyer Michael Graves represents Huston.

    The police allege that the three men went to the home at 269 S.E. 179th Wesley St. in the The Villages to visit their friend Sheila Miller, 40. Once there, the men allegedly shot her mother, Diana Miller, 63, in the chest and head. Sheila Miller’s father James Miller was shot in the head but he survived the robbery.
    The men then allegedly kidnapped Sheila Miller and drove to a Gainesville mall and tried to use several ATM cash machines to get cash out on stolen credit cards. Marion County sheriff’s deputies later arrested the men after a high-speed car chase.

  48. GATES being locked. That’s a joke. If you forget your Card, you just hit the button and go in. Most of the workers (if not all) know how to get thru the gates. And you can do it at any time. Some of the gates aren’t even manned. If they are manned, how can the guard/greeter know whether they have a reason to be in the villages house area. This is not a gated community. Anyone can get in at any time.

  49. Someone should be held accountable then for leading prospective buyers to thinking it is gated. I was told the same thing as the person who previously wrote. If they are out-right lying about the gates, then something should be able to be done. Where is the homeowner’s association through all this? Why aren’t they investigating the lies?

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