New Mexico : Safety by City
- Elephant Butte
- Las Cruces
- Los Alamos
- Red River
- Rio Rancho
- Santa Fe
- Silver City
- Truth or Consequences
Deming, New Mexico, is 36 miles from the Mexican Border, but it might not feel like it with the strong Border Patrol presence here.
That is because of its remote location between Las Cruces and Lordsburg, each 60 miles away.
Deming is also a main thoroughfare, located along Interstate 10 and offering direct access to I-25 to get to the northern part of the state.
While many drivers might just stop for gas or a snack in Deming on their way to somewhere else, there are unique traits of this town of 15,000 that you shouldn’t bypass.
It wasn’t until I started writing about rockhounding that I realized what a fun hobby it is, and now places like Deming pique my interest in places like Rockhound State Park and the City of Rocks State Park.
This isn’t just a mining country—you can also find gems here.
Deming’s cultural aspects are proudly displayed with one museum nicknamed the “Smithsonium of the Southwest,” and a nearby state park where you can learn about legendary Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.
When you see the unique characteristics of this small town, you’ll find it hard to believe it was once supposed to be a “New Chicago,” as the railroad brought great promise of a big city near the border.
Warnings & Dangers in Deming
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Deming is at the low end of a medium risk. There are just safety concerns you need to know here so you can enjoy the benefits of this land. We'll discuss those as we go through this article.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Corre Caminos is the bus system that goes back and forth between Columbus and around town. While it's a nice benefit to have, you still need to get to Deming, and that will require a rental car. Taxis and rideshares are also available. The risk is low with any option.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
You're more likely to have migrants or poverty-stricken people asking for money or food than be pickpocketed, so you can treat this with a low risk, but just be prepared. If you're stopping to get gas, lock your car even when pumping gas. Don't leave your valuables in the car when you go inside the gas station.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Extreme heat and winds are challenges here. The summer monsoons can create massive, short-lived storms. You should also be prepared for wide swings in temperatures from day to night.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Over the past decade, Deming has seen anywhere from 4 to 14 robberies a year. The risk is low, but that is a large number of robberies for a town this small. Just use common sense and stay in well-lit areas designed for visitors.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The terrorism concerns here are mostly for Border Patrol, who try to stop illegal immigrants or drugs from getting through the border or making it past their checkpoints in the United States. You definitely don't want to pick up hitchhikers or stop to help someone broken down on the side of the road. Treat it with a medium risk.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Again, scammers won't be as prominent as people begging for help. With a 30% poverty rate in the town and a surge of migrants in 2023, this town has taken on a huge task of trying to help people. It's always best to donate to a homeless shelter rather than give money to people on the street.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Most crimes against women are domestic in nature, so a tourist shouldn't be too worried about risks. Of course, you still need excellent situational awareness and common sense. Learn about desert survival skills and be prepared with emergency kits for car issues or injuries.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2022 Water Quality Report gives passing grades to all categories. Water conservation is the bigger issue here, and you should use as little tap water as you need. That means limiting showers to five minutes or not letting the water run while you brush your teeth.
Safest Places to Visit in Deming
DemingNMTrue.com is the official tourism website for the town.
The website has a virtual tour of the city and an updated blog for the latest events and newest attractions.
Spend an afternoon at the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum to explore their fascinating exhibits covering local archaeology, culture, and history.
See Mimbres pottery dating back over 1000 years!
You’ll quickly learn why this is called the “Smithsonium of the Southwest.”
Wander down historic Gold Avenue in downtown Deming to take in the shops, restaurants, murals, and Deming Arts Center.
Be sure to stop for a meal or snack at one of the local eateries.
You simply must try the famed New Mexico red or green (or both!) chile concoctions, which is a staple for meals here in Deming.
Cool off at one of the newest attractions in Deming, the Inflatable Water Park.
It’s just what it sounds like, a playground of inflatable sections on top of the lake at Voiers “Pit” Park.
Search for unique minerals and rocks at the popular Rockhound State Park or City of Rocks.
Camping and hiking are available too.
These parks are rare in that they let you take a certain number of rocks with you when you leave.
Sip award-winning New Mexico wines at local vineyards like Lescombes Family Vineyards, just a few minutes from Deming.
This brand is spread throughout New Mexico, but only Deming has a tasting room.
Luna Roosa Winery is another popular sipping spot, with a fourth-generation winemaker tending to the vines.
Relive Deming’s railroad days at the Deming Visitor’s Center.
Christie Ann Harvey, executive director of the Greater Luna County Economic Opportunity Council, said, “It’s probably the best place to go for visitors.
They have all kinds of information—maps, trips that you can take, the state parks we have here, the mountain ranges, as well as local businesses.”
Gaze at the stars through high-powered telescopes at the Deming Astronomy Club Observatory, with free public viewings.
In this remote location, very little light pollution offers breathtaking views of the night skies.
Step back into history at Pancho Villa State Park, site of a famous 1916 cavalry raid by Villa’s forces.
The park is just south of Deming in Columbus.
Places to Avoid in Deming
It’s not so much that there are places to avoid in Deming, but there are some things to be aware of to avoid being put into a bad situation.
First, Deming has a poverty rate twice the national average, topped by record unemployment numbers.
Tourism is one of the main ways money keeps the community going.
In mid-2023, the surge of refugees across the border led to hundreds of them being dropped off by Border Patrol or the government in random Deming locations.
The town pooled the little resources it had to help.
“The first day, the chief and I got called out to come out, we just came by ourselves thinking, ‘Well, we can knock this out,'” Deming Fire Department Chief Raul Mercado said.
“And we saw the amount of people and we were like, ‘Holy s—‘ Then we called back and had everybody come out and help us.”
While there are political and societal debates to be had, for a tourist, you should just know that you might see groups of people who look more intimidating than they are.
It could be a family that hasn’t eaten in weeks and doesn’t even know what city they are in.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Deming
- Deming does have its own police department that handles issues outside of the Border Patrol or Highway Patrol scope. You can follow them on Facebook under “City of Deming Public Safety.” The main phone number is (575)546-3011.
- To get a better grasp on crime rates closer to your visit, check out the monthly police blotter on the department’s website. It’s a detailed list of all calls for service.
- You can use Deming/Luna County Crimestoppers to report suspicious activity or any information you might have about a non-urgent crime. For example, if you see people spraying graffiti, you can share that information with as much description as possible without having to leave your name. Call Crimestoppers at (575) 546-7800 or download the TipSoft app to send information through your mobile device.
- Use the NM Roads website to check road conditions on the interstate and other highways throughout the region. You can also call 1-800-432-4269, which is the New Mexico Road Advisory Hotline. Most phones can also access that number by simply dialing 511.
- Fishing at “Pit” Park is popular, but you’ll need a fishing license from the New Mexico Department of Fish & Game. It’s easy to purchase online.
- Most of the parks where rockhounding is allowed have a limit on what you can take with you. The general guidance is 15 pounds per person. Check with the park rangers before you start collecting to see what the specific rules are or if the limit has changed.
- You might come across some javelinas, which are wild boars that roam in groups. They look cute but can be aggressive. The challenging part is, they are moody and change personalities quickly. Just leave them alone if you see them and don’t try to push them out of your way.
- Shake your shoes each day to make sure no spiders or scorpions have moved in. When you’re out in the desert, assume any cool, dark places, like under a rock, have these dangerous critters.
- If you are going stargazing, bring a flashlight with a red filter so you can still see the path but won’t create light pollution. I also recommend bringing a backlight with you, since scorpions glow in blacklight. They are especially active at night.
- Do not underestimate the summer heat here. Temperatures can get into the triple digits and the sun is intense. Keep drinking water throughout the day and refuel with salty snacks to replace what you are sweating out. Never hike between 10 am and 4 pm in a desert summer.
So... How Safe Is Deming Really?
Deming police haven’t released official crime data since 2020.
Even then, violent crime rates were 60% higher than the national average but 20% lower than the New Mexico state average.
This is very much a city where you should stick to places where tourists are welcome.
Don’t try to see the refugee camp as it’s off limits to the public and it’s certainly not a tourist attraction.
Knowing conversational Spanish will go a long way here, too.
You want to use extra caution with your vehicle.
Lock it every time you park and don’t leave anything inside of it.
Even a cooler could suggest there is food and beverages available for starving refugees or locals.
If you’re just driving through, remember this is a transient area with crime rates that will fluctuate based on who is driving the same route you are.
Don’t leave your purse in the car while you pump gas, as a common tactic is for thieves to sneak into the unlocked passenger side door while you’re pumping.
Before visiting Puerto Palomas in Mexico, you should check the U.S. State Department Travel Advisory page.
While the popular border town offers many great cultural trinkets for tourists, it can also be a dangerous place.
Here’s the travel warning in place as of October 5, 2022.
Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.
Violent crime and gang activity are common.
Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations.
Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours.
Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.
U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.
Nobody will stop you from crossing the border, even with a travel advisory, but you should ask Border Patrol about the safety in Palomas before you go to get the best experience.
How Does Deming Compare?
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- Visas - If you are traveling to Mexico, you will need a Mexico Tourist Card. To get back into the United States, or for international visitors only coming to the U.S., you need a visa or visa waiver with a valid passport. There are border patrol checkpoints in this region of New Mexico and all cars will be required to stop. Don't pack your passport or other ID where it is hard to find.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar can be used here, even though it's close to the Mexican border. Exchange currency in a larger town or at your home bank, but most debit cards can be used at ATMs.
- Weather - Deming will have mild weather in the winter with chilly nights. Summers can get close to triple digits, and the record highs are near 110°(F). It will be a dry climate here, which means cooler evenings can feel bone-chilling. Bring sunscreen and sunglasses. If you want more protection from the sun, bring a few hats and long-sleeved clothing that is breathable fabric for a hot summer day.
- Airports - You have a straight shot east on the interstate to get to Las Cruces International Airport, which is only served by Advanced Airlines. The airport in Albuquerque is three and a half hours north. Tucson International Airport is three hours west.
- Travel Insurance - Comprehensive travel insurance is worth the investment for all the protection it offers, from canceled flights to urgent health care needs. Extra car rental insurance will help with roadside emergencies or car accidents.
Deming Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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