• Crime in The Villages retirement community is low, usually imported from other areas

    By: Christopher Heath

    Updated:

    THE VILLAGES, Fla. - There is crime in The Villages, but 9 Investigates found it is usually imported from other areas and looks nothing like what is seen in areas like Orlando, Daytona and Melbourne.

    On average, there are just as many DUI's in The Villages as any similar-sized place in Florida.

    It's just more of the DUI's there happen on golf carts, such is the nature of the ever-growing retirement community.


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    The Villages stretches across three counties, which makes crime difficult to track.

    Harry McClary and Margo McClary have lived in The Villages for the last 20 years and said only once have they ever spotted anything that resembled a crime.

    “One morning I got up and there was a man dressed in black between my neighbor’s cars. By the time I realized it and flipped on the light, he left rather rapidly,” Harry McClary said.

    “We’ve had a lot of golf cart thefts. People will drive down, leave their keys in the golf carts and they’ll be stolen,” said Chief Chris Haworth, of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. 

    Golf carts seem to be the preferred mode of transportation in The Villages and can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Cellphones left in the seat, and golf carts left in the back of golf carts are targets for theft.

    “Nine times out of 10, those thieves aren’t from Sumter County,” Haworth said.

    According to federal crime statistics, violent crimes in The Villages are half of the state average.

    Property crimes and crimes of opportunity are about one-third lower than the state average.

    Part of the reason is older people tend to commit fewer crimes.

    The McClary's point out neighbors tend to be home and on the lookout.

    “You keep an eye out,” said Harry McClary.

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