10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada

Updated On October 10, 2023

Home to the Hoover Dam, Reno, and the world-famous Las Vegas, Nevada has experienced tremendous urban growth over the past few decades, especially with new residents from California.

Despite this rapid expansion, Nevada remains one of the least safe states in America, especially regarding violent crime.

While crime occurs, that doesn’t mean every area of every city is crime-ridden, as there are plenty of areas and suburbs of major cities that are great places to raise a family or visit.

Unfortunately, with so much cash floating around casinos, other areas are ripe for robberies and theft.

If you’re looking to relocate or visit Nevada, keep reading to learn more about the most dangerous cities in the state!

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada

Mesquite, Nevada

10. Mesquite

Mesquite, a small city near the Arizona and Utah borders of just under 20,000 residents, is kicking off the list of the most dangerous cities in Nevada.

This location near both borders is popular for out-of-staters looking to hop across state lines and gamble.

The two boast four mid-sized casinos, which is considerable for a town this size.

While Mesquite doesn’t have the highest crime rate in the state, the non-resident population draws crime.

Again, this is considerable for such a small town with an overall reported crime rate of 12.26 per 1,000 residents.

Lovelock, Nevada

9. Lovelock

The tiny town of Lovelock can be found along Interstate 80 in the middle of nowhere.

It’s approximately 1.5 hours northeast of Reno, and despite its size, the town has significant violent crime levels.

With a population of around 1,800 residents, the crime rate is 63.45 crimes per 1,000 people.

The main contributing factor to the high crime rate is the low household income of $42,000, which is also the lowest on this list.

Carlin, Nevada

8. Carlin

Known as “Where the Train Stops and the Gold Fush Begins,” Carlin is another small town with 2,300 residents between Elko and Winnemucca along Interstate 80.

Although Carlin is a tiny town, the crime rate is over double the national average of 39.08.

In addition, Carlin is number eight on the list because of the 15 violent crimes reported; 14 were aggravated assaults.

This is a considerable metric for such a small town in northern Nevada.

Winnemucca, Nevada

7. Winnemucca

This gold mining town is famous for its Nevada sand dunes and has unfortunately garnered a reputation for unusually high crime.

With a population of just 7,800, Winnemucca has more of a property crime problem, despite the median household income being just above the national average at $66,800 per year.

The overall crime rate is 28.23 due to a massive spike in property crime over the past several years.

Henderson, Nevada

6. Henderson

As the second-largest city in the state and a Las Vegas suburb, Henderson is one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S., with growth rates consistently north of 30% for several years.

Despite this popularity and proximity to Las Vegas, the suburb is safe overall.

However, the violent crime rate is 10.7 per 1,000 residents, much higher than in other Nevada cities.

The overall crime rate is 17.13, which means violent crime is significant compared to property crime and the overall population of 317,000.

Sparks, Nevada

5. Sparks

This suburban community is only four miles east of Reno, so it suffers from many of the same issues as the number one city on this list.

As the fifth largest city in Nevada, Sparks has a similar crime rate to nearby Reno.

Although the violent crime rate is high, few murders occur within the city limits.

Sparks has a population of 106,000, the median household income is on par with the national average at $65,000, and the total crime rate is 23.94 crimes per 1,000 citizens.

Elko, Nevada

4. Elko

Also located in Northern Nevada along Interstate 80 between Reno and Salt Lake City, Elko suffers from a surprising amount of violent crime, despite its 25,000-person population.

Violent crime rates in Elko are 25% higher than the national average and on par with Las Vegas, a city about 75x larger.

With a crime rate of 34.48 per 1,000 people, the leading crimes in Elko include vehicle theft and rape.

North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas, Nevada

3. North Las Vegas

North Las Vegas, the closest neighbor to Las Vegas, boasts a population of around 250,000 and a violent crime rate double the national average, led by aggravated assault.

Although the crime rate is slightly lower than in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas is far above average.

However, over the past few years, North Las Vegas has experienced a drop in crime, which has bolstered new development.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

2. Las Vegas

Las Vegas and Reno regularly vied for the most dangerous city in Nevada designation.

Recently, Sin City has dropped to number two, despite having the state’s largest reported crimes.

The violent crime rate is 5.36, meaning you have a 1 in 190 chance of becoming the victim of a crime in the city limits.

Due to the high concentration of people, many businesses, like casinos, nightclubs, and bars, are crime-inducing, all playing into the Sin City theme.

Reno, Nevada

1. Reno

Earning the top spot as the most dangerous city in Nevada is Reno, a city in Northern Nevada near Lake Tahoe.

Although Reno has significantly fewer residents than Las Vegas, it has developed a reputation for crime in recent years.

The city reported a violent crime rate of 5.66, higher than Las Vegas, and an overall crime rate of 27.75 per 1,000 citizens.

Like Las Vegas, the business types contribute to the crime rate.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Nevada

1. Safeguard your Hotel Room

Due to the casinos, Nevada is a haven for transients passing through, betting the mortgage on red, especially in Reno and Las Vegas.

Even if the hotel has robust security measures, there are additional steps to ensure the room is safe.

For instance, always deadbolt and lock the door, and you can take this a step further by purchasing a jammer, a portable mechanism to slip under the door.

In addition, always give the impression that you’re inside even when away, like placing the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and keeping the blinds closed.

Additionally, never allow strangers to enter the room, even if they claim to work for the hotel.

2. Be Cognizant of your Surroundings

The glitz and glamor of neon casino lights make for a fantastic social media photo.

While you should take pictures for lasting memories, keep an eye on all belongings while doing this to ensure you don’t take a selfie and turn around to find your bags have vanished.

Also, you should talk to locals to learn more about the casino culture, but if you have a terrible feeling or someone is acting suspiciously, walk away!

3. Stick to Crowded Areas

Sticking to crowded areas is the Golden Rule when visiting Nevada cities.

Roaming past the tourist attractions and crowds can land you in incredibly dangerous neighborhoods with gang activity.

In addition, these streets are less well monitored (if at all) by police than the tourist areas.

Therefore, if you end up in an area with few people, move to a more crowded section of town.

4. Skip the Bling

A night on the town usually equates to wearing your flashiest outfit.

Although Las Vegas and Reno are considered cities of excess, avoid wearing expensive watches, necklaces, and other jewelry.

This type of show often draws unwanted attention, thus making you a prime target.

If you purchase expensive items while visiting, put all valuables in the hotel room safe or even keep them at the front desk as a caution.

However, this may still put you at risk unless the hotel has documentation of the package receipt.

5. Be Smart When Booking

Before booking a hotel room or Airbnb, read online reviews and conduct research, explicitly searching for safety-related reports to determine which hotel scores the highest.

Gathering first-hand insights from previous patrons is always a beneficial practice.

Although hotels may implement top-notch security efforts, it’s impossible for them to ultimately ensure safety while on the premises, but booking in a respectable neighborhood helps.

Nevada Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Nevada Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest city in Nevada?

If safety is at the top of your mind when visiting Nevada, or you want to relocate to a completely safe area, Boulder City is the best bet.

Located only 26 miles south of Las Vegas, Boulder boasts a violent crime rate of just 0.57 incidences per 1,000 residents, which is less than half the national average.

Does Nevada have a high overall crime rate?

Historically, Nevada’s violent and property crime rates have been higher than the national average, but recently, both have been declining.

While there are plenty of crime-ridden areas across the state, the state’s combined property crime rate is just 19.3 crimes per 1,000 residents versus 19.6 nationally.

What is the wealthiest area of Nevada?

Located in Northern Nevada, Incline Village-Crystal Bay is the wealthiest area of the state, with a per capita income of $52,500 and a median household income of $69,400, above the national average.

Incline Village sits along the shores of Lake Tahoe, a popular tourist destination.

3 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Nevada

  1. A
    Alfredo says:

    Nevada may have experienced urban growth and be home to popular attractions, but it remains one of the least safe states in America due to high crime rates. While not all areas are dangerous, visitors should take precautions when traveling or relocating there.

  2. H
    Hadley Acosta says:

    I appreciate the heads-up on the potential risks. It’s a reminder that even in popular tourist destinations, there can be areas to avoid. Stay safe, fellow travelers!

  3. A
    Alexa Richardson says:

    As someone planning a road trip through Nevada, this post was an eye-opener. I’ll definitely be reevaluating my itinerary to ensure a safer journey.

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