St. Johns' Most Dangerous Neighborhood

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - In addition to being the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine is full of charm. With its quaint shops and quiet, cobblestone streets, it's where people go to get away.

But northeast Florida's most visited tourist area is less than 2 miles from St. Johns County's most dangerous neighborhood -- between 500 and 700 West King Street.

Robert and Erika Dwinell, who recently visited from Pennsylvania, said not only did they have a good time, they felt it was safe to walk around, even at night.

"It's pretty amazing," Robert Dwinell said. "We enjoyed it."

Channel 4's Jennifer Bauer poured through police reports from the first half of 2009 and found the highest concentration of robberies, home burglaries, assaults and vandalism occurred in that two-block area.


Of special concern is that the St. Augustine Boys and Girls Club is located at 555 West King Street, where dozens of children spend time every day.

Sgt. Chuck Mulligan said the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office would never label a certain area of town as "most dangerous," but deputies do use use crime statistics to identify high-crime neighborhoods so they can increase patrols to keep people safe.

"What we look at is the types of crime, the number of crimes and the severity of the crimes," Mulligan said.

Mulligan confirmed that West King Street is an area that deputies keep an eye on.

But Mulligan wanted to put the the concept of "dangerous" in perspective, since St. Johns County in general does not have much crime.

Between January and June 2009 in the two-block area there were three aggravated assaults, one strong-armed robbery and three burglaries.

Data: Addresses Of Reported Crimes InSt. Johns County, January-June 2009

"St. Johns County has been fortunate, that overall, per capita, our crime rate is lower than a lot of other areas," Mulligan said.

And you don't have to be a local to recognize that.

"There was not one point last night that we felt in any danger," Dwinell said.

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