When it comes to murder, the greater Orlando area has an average rate of killings compared with similar-sized communities across the U.S., says the Orlando Sentinel. Inside the official four-county metro area lie neighborhoods where the deadly violence rivals those in the nation’s most dangerous cities, the Orlando Sentinel has calculated. Pine Hills’ roughly 40,000 people live with a murder rate that rivals Newark, N.J., and trumps Washington, D.C. An area west of Orlando’s central business district has more than double Detroit’s murder rate. In a clutch of apartment complexes, the concentration of violence is worse.
“I kind of see more of the same,” said University of Central Florida professor Jay Corzine, who has been studying the local surge in violence. There are no clear signs that violence is ebbing, particularly as the economy sours. The easy availability of illegal guns makes things worse, said Paul Rooney, Orlando deputy police chief. Bar brawls that once were fistfights are now gunfights.