Orlando's WESH Channel 2 compiled a list ranking all of Florida's 67 counties by the most violence based on the number of 2012 arrests for murder, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault as a percentage of total population. The numbers came from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) released in 2013.
Two neighbors appeared on opposite ends of this list: Santa Rosa County and Escambia County. Santa Rosa County ranked number 65 out of 67, making it the third safest county in Florida. Escambia County ranked number 1, making it the most violent county in the entire state. For comparison, WESH reported Miami-Dade County number 7.
Sheriff Wendell Hall attributed the low crime numbers to a tight control on drugs. He said, "We control our drug issue." He said more violence comes with drugs like burglary, robberies and theft when perpetrators have to support their problem. He also said domestic violence is separate from drug related problems although not always. He said a lot of things [law enforcement] can't prevent, like domestic violence, but added that "if you have a drug problem, you have everything else."
In relation to sexual offenders coming back into the county, Sheriff Hall said his office makes sure laws are strictly enforced. He said some counties may be more lenient. He also said his office does a good job of keeping the public informed.
The impact of this safer environment has one town in Santa Rosa County, Pace, nationally recognized as number five in the top 20 cities to live in Florida according to an article by Erik Martinez, writer for NerdWallet, a financial institution recognized by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal among others. The article addressed three areas: home availability, local cost of living, and population growth. The article said Pace is "a highly desirable place to live" with highly rated schools, recreation areas, law enforcement, and the fact Pace is a short distance from Pensacola. The article went on to say many residents commute to bigger cities to work, but local employment with large companies like Wal-Mart Super-Center, Home Depot, Publix, and Sears was available as well. The article also noted that Pace is home to Stonebrook Golf Course as an attractant to residents.