New Mexico is a great example of how statistics on crime can be misleading.
It has the second-highest crime rate in the nation, but its number of crimes is near the bottom.
It is also one of the least populated states in the nation, which is how the stats get skewed.
California has the largest population and nearly 10 times the number of violent crimes.
Even so, New Mexico‘s 778 violent crimes per 100,000 population are near twice the national average and more than 300 per 100,000 higher than California.
With that in mind, we try to consider more than just the numbers in our list of safest cities in New Mexico.
- 10 Safest Cities in New Mexico
- Five Safety Tips for Traveling to New Mexico
- New Mexico Safety Overview
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Safest Cities in New Mexico
Los Alamos is famous for being part of the development of the atomic bomb and is in a very rural area.
It has a population of 11,000 and a very low crime rate.
Its total crime rate is 80 percent below the national crime rate.
There were only 83 crimes, and only 11 of those were violent, reported over the last year.
Unfortunately, 10 of those 11 were rape cases.
The theft was the most common property crime.
The city ranks high in amenities, low crime, employment, and schools.
This small town is just far enough from Albuquerque to be out of the city, but close enough to still enjoy big-city amenities easily enough.
It is a historical town, with people documented in the immediate area since the 1500s.
It has a population of 8,500 and has a violent crime rate of 138 per 100,000, well below the state and national average.
Its property crime rate of 711 per 100,000 is also below average.
Most of the violent crimes were assaults, and there were no murders here last year.
Rio Rancho is even closer to Albuquerque and has similar statistics to Corrales.
It is the second-largest city in the state with 100,000 people, but its crime rate is rather low.
It had a state-best of 190 violent crimes per 100,000, well below the national average.
Almost all of the violent crimes were assaults.
Its property crime rate of 1474 per 100,000 is fourth in the state and just a few points over the national average.
It ranks high in amenities, housing, employment, and crime safety, giving it a high livability rating.
Lovington is a rural town of 11,000 in the southeast corner, very close to the Texas border.
It has a very low overall crime rate with 272 incidents reported last year, which is just below the national average.
There were only 12 violent crimes last year, giving it a 106 per 100,000 ratings.
That is almost a fourth of the national average of 388.
Property crime was a little higher than the national average but lower than the state average.
Lovington ranks high for lower crime, housing, and cost of living, but ranks low on employment.
Anthony is a town in the lower southeastern part of the state, the city limits are on the Texas border.
It is just north of El Paso.
The town of 8,000 has a total crime rate of half the national average.
The property crime rate of 722 per 100,000 is far below the national average of 1,958.
There were 67 property crimes last year, and 40 of those were burglaries.
There were 32 violent crimes and 29 of those were assaults.
The rate of 312 per 100,000 is just below the national average.
It ranks well on cost of living, low crime, and amenities, but ranks poorly in schools, employment, and housing.
Grants is a small rural town of 9,000 people on the western side of the state near the Arizona border.
The crime rate here is not all that low, but there are not many crimes committed.
Last year there were 49 violent crimes, and 44 of those were assaults.
There were 185 property crimes reported, and 170 of those were thefts or burglaries.
Perhaps because of its size, the crime rate is higher.
Its 234 total crimes give it a 2,615 in 100,000 rating, which is above the national average.
Its violent crime rate of 492 per 100,000 is just above the national average.
Grants rank high in amenities and cost of living, but low on employment, housing, and schools.
Sunland Park might not sound like a good candidate for a safe town because it borders Mexico, and is just a few miles from the city of El Paso.
Its overall crime rate is half the national average.
There were 96 violent crimes reported last year, and 90 of those were assaults.
That is a little higher than the national average, however.
The property crime rate is very low at 624 per 100,000, while the national average is 1958.
There were 115 property crimes last year in Sunland Park, and 100 of them were burglaries or thefts.
It does not have a high livability score because of housing and unemployment.
Raton is a town of 8,000 and six miles south of the Colorado border.
There is very little crime, with just 66 total incidents reported last year.
That still makes for a 1,111 per 100,000 people rating, which is less than half the national average of 2,346.
There were 16 violent crimes, all of which were assaults.
There were no rapes or murders.
There were 50 property crimes, and that was less than half the national rate as well.
All but one of the property crimes was burglary or theft.
It is in a remote area but built right next to Interstate 25, making it easier to travel.
Las Vegas, New Mexico
Las Vegas, New Mexico has little in common with the city of the same name in Nevada.
It is a small town of 14,000 about 100 miles northeast of Albuquerque and 29 miles east of Sante Fe.
Its violent crime rate approaches the national average, but its property crime rate and overall crime rate are much lower.
There were a total of 56 violent crimes last year, giving it a 438 per 100,000 rating, which is above the national average of 388.
There were 177 property crimes, 121 of which were theft, giving it a 1,383 per 100,000 rating, far below the national rate.
There were 233 total crimes reported, and that would be well below the national rate as well.
Aztec, New Mexico
Aztec, New Mexico is in the northwest corner of the state, 30 miles or so from the famed four corners of four states.
Its crimes per 100 000 are not all that low, but it has very little crime.
Last year there were 25 violent crimes and 23 of those were assaults.
There were no murders or armed robberies.
There were 100 property crimes and all of them were theft-related.
That results in 1,975 crimes per 100,000, which is close to the national average.
The violent crime rate is at the national average, and the property crime rate is about 25 percent below.
Five Safety Tips for Traveling to New Mexico
- Keep hydrated. It is a very dry area and nasty hot in summer, and you can get dried out and overheated fast. Always carry water with you if you are driving, and drink a lot of water. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible.
- Natural dangers. In many parts of New Mexico, there is more danger from snakes and other wild animals than there is danger from other people. Especially if you are in an area far from the beaten path, keep an eye out for snakes and wild animals.
- Respect local customs. There are Indian reservations throughout the state and you may find yourself in one. Just be aware of where you are. The same is true for small towns that have slightly different cultures than what you may be used to.
- Do not be obvious. Try not to look like a tourist. While many areas are safe, there are bad people looking for an opportunity. Try to blend in and look like a local person as much as possible.
- Keep it locked. No matter where you are, keep your car and your hotel room door locked. Again, many criminals are looking for an opportunity, and few will bother trying to break a lock.
New Mexico Safety Overview
READ THE FULL REPORT: New Mexico Safety ReviewSafety Index:
- OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
- TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
- PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
- NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
- MUGGING RISK: LOW
- TERRORISM RISK: LOW
- SCAMS RISK: LOW
- WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most dangerous cities in the state?
Gallup, on the western border, and Espanola in the north both have a one in nine chance of being a crime victim.
Gallup had 10,590 crimes per 100,000, and Espanola had 11,027.
Taos had 9000 per 100,000, and the next highest was 7200.
What city has the most murders?
Taos had the most with 35, followed by Gallup with 31 and Artesia with 26.
No other city has half that many.
How many cities had no murders?
Of the top 25 safest cities by crime rate, 11 had no murders last year.
How does New Mexico rank in traffic accident deaths?
There were 1,850 traffic-related deaths in New Mexico in 2020, which is 85.5 per 100,000.
That is the fourth-highest in the nation.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the No. 1 cause of injury and injury-related deaths in the state.