Safe and Dangerous Places in Naples
Those planning family trips to Naples, Fla. should know that crime rates in this city are low. In fact, the Collier County Sheriff's Office reports that in 2009, Collier County had the lowest crime rate of any metropolitan county in Florida. Of the 67 counties in Florida, ten had a lower crime rate than Collier County and the majority of these counties were in rural areas. Despite these promising statistics, there are certainly areas to avoid in Naples. Timing, location and the activities you're planning play a large role in determining dangerous areas and safe areas.
For example, Naples visitors will want to be rather careful when driving, as the county's auto accident statistics aren't quite as comforting. Collier County Transportation officials report 8,000 traffic accidents annually with a range of 36 to 79 fatalities.
Knowing the safest and most dangerous places in Naples gives visitors and residents a new take on what it means to be in the right place at the right time. Refer to the following list before your next trip to Southern Florida.
Five Safe Areas in Naples, Fla.
1. Third Street South Downtown
Third Street South is an upscale, worry-free shopping haven in Naples. Pedestrian crosswalks are clearly designated and cars creep along at a snail's pace to accommodate ambling shoppers. Residential homes along Gulf Shore Boulevard surround the area, and back streets are often the choice for a leisurely, self-guided bicycle tour through town. The Naples Pier, which has its own security guard, the white, sandy Naples beaches are within walking distance, and parking is readily available as needed.
The Third Street Concierge Kiosk, Camargo Pk, Naples, FL 34102; Opposite the Fleischmann Fountain; 239-434-6533
Naples Pier, 12th Ave S (west end)
2. Fifth Avenue South
Located in the heart of the city, Fifth Avenue South is another of the many safe areas in Naples. You can safely stroll the sidewalks day or night. In fact, sidewalk cafes and evening shopping hours are some of the area's biggest draws. In addition, the street is pet-friendly, welcoming four-legged friends and their owners to relax and enjoy the good life. Visitors need only pay attention when they are crossing the street, as the area can be a bit congested with traffic. Drivers are typically patient, allowing pedestrians the right of way. Crosswalks are designated, and the area is home to several hotels that provide convenient access to the heart of Naples. Crime is rare in this upscale area – the only exception being the crime of overindulgence.
Downtown Information Center, 800 Fifth Ave S, Ste 103, (entrance on 8th Street, just south of Fifth Avenue S), Naples, FL 34102; 239-435-3742
3. Cambier Park
Parents and children alike can have fun here without worrying about traffic or crime. Located on 8th Avenue South, Cambier Park features concerts, art shows and family movie nights. The unique playground equipment here is meticulously maintained and features plenty of seating areas where parents can keep an eye on children. An overhead water-mister and nearby drinking fountain help keep the kids cool during summer months. As with any children's public park facilities, close parental attention should be given to the whereabouts of children. There are very few in Collier County, but the sheriff's office does maintain a list of registered sex offenders.
Cambier Park, 698 6th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
4. Crayton Cove
Located at 12th Avenue South and 8th Street South, Crayton Cove gives visitors a taste of authentic nautical life in a safe setting. The area's natural setting along Naples Bay is a beautiful place to enjoy a stroll. It also happens to be the home of Naples' largest fishing fleet. The Cove Inn, one of the city's landmark hotels, is nearby as well. It is conveniently located next to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Station, which offers public seminars on boating skills and seamanship.
Crayton Cove, 12th Ave S and 8th St S, Naples, FL 34102; 239-775-4936
Cove Inn, 900 Broad Ave S, Naples, FL 34102 (Southernmost tip of 9th St on Naples Bay); 239-262-7161, 800-255-4365
US Coast Guard Auxiliary Station, 1099 9th St S, Naples, FL 34102; 239-261-7375
5. Lowdermilk Park
Located north of Naples City Beach at the end of Banyan Boulevard, Lowdermilk Park is the ideal setting for a family day of fun in the sun. The area features designated metered parking, and the facilities are family oriented with picnic tables, a playground, restrooms, outdoor showers and a volleyball court. A popular choice among tourists and locals alike, the Lowdermilk atmosphere is pleasantly refined with a sense of respect and decency in regards to families with children.
Loudermilk Park, 1301 Gulf Shore Blvd N, Naples, FL 34102; 239-213-3029
Five Areas to Avoid in Naples, Fla.
1. Airport Pulling and Pine Ridge Intersection
One of the most dangerous places in Naples is behind the wheel of a car at the intersection of Airport Pulling Road and Pine Ridge Road. A traffic analysis researched and reported by Ryan Mills at The Naples Daily News recognizes the dangers of many intersections in Naples, including this one. Reports show that almost 90,000 vehicles pass through the Airport Pulling intersection daily. The intersection is intimidating and dangerous and should be avoided by inexperienced drivers.
2. Delnor Wiggins Pass
Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park, located in North Naples, is a popular area for beachgoers – that is, as long as they have no plans to swim in the pass. Swimming is strictly prohibited in the pass due to strong currents and unexpectedly deep waters. So, while the park itself is not necessarily one of the areas to avoid in Naples, it is an area where you'll need to be very careful, especially if you're traveling with mischievous kids. Other activities, such as shore fishing and picnicking, are encouraged. Visitors are often unaware that swimming in the pass is extremely dangerous; a drowning death occurred as recently as May of 2010.
Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park, 11135 Gulfshore Dr, Naples, FL 34108; 239-597-6196; 8AM-sundown
3. East Naples
Naples has a violent crime rate of 238 incidents per 100,000 people, quite low when compared to the national average of 676. Gang and drug related incident reports are higher in East Naples, however. So unless there's a good reason to visit the area, it should be considered one of those areas you'll want to avoid while in Naples.
4. Tamiami Trail
Once a rugged trail through the treacherous swamp between Tampa and Miami, Tamiami Trail is now a stretch of highway that is somewhat easier to traverse. Even though it fits the mold of a modern highway, the trail is still one of the more dangerous places in Naples. Riddled with turnaround lanes that are difficult to spot, especially when traffic is high during the winter months, Tamiami Trail should be avoided during the lunch rush, as well as the afternoon hours when locals are headed home after a long work day. The congestion also makes navigating the shopping areas off the trail difficult and frustrating during the high season.
5. The Crystal
Located north of Alligator Alley near Everglades Boulevard, the swimming hole known as The Crystal has attracted locals and visitors for years with its clear, sparkling water. However enticing the waters may seem, a 2010 alligator attack proves that swimming here is a risky endeavor. A 10-foot alligator attacked a young man who is now making efforts to have the swimming hole permanently closed. Predator behavior is unpredictable by nature, and it only stands to reason that wildlife territories are dangerous places for Naples visitors and locals alike.