I have lived in West Palm Beach for almost my entire life and it's not as bad as people are making it out to be. After reading some of the other comments I do have a few responses:
When I was in elementary and middle school, West Palm was less developed and there were a lot less people. Once more people started to move into the area, it became more crowded, as to be expected. Prices started to go up and we had a lot of people coming down here from New England, especially New York. In my experience, a lot of people move down here and expect it to be like how it was where they were living before. You can't realistically expect to move to a completely different region of the country and for things to stay the same. Yes, we wear flip flops all the time. It's in the 80s and 90s for a good majority of the year and our dirt isn't dirt- it's sand! If you want high fashion, then go back to New York. I'm just trying to get through the day without passing out from heat exhaustion!
Crime has gone down here. But just like anywhere else, you trust your instincts, and don't do stupid stuff like leaving your doors unlocked or leaving your wallet or shopping bags in plain view in your car, walking down alleys at 2am or associating with drug dealers or gangbangers, and you should be fine.
South Florida is different from many places in that there is a lot of cultural diversity and a lot of immigrants, especially from Caribbean countries. It's the closest area in the United States to these places. If you don't like immigrants then don't move here. Plain and simple.
My hometown has it's flaws. The construction does get annoying and sometimes there's just way too many people in one area. It has definitely been affected by the recession. But I love the weather, I love being within 10 minutes of the beach, and I love how my friends come from all different walks of life, countries, and cultures. Obviously, it's a personal decision as to whether one would choose to live here, but that's my two cents.