Is New Mexico Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On March 6, 2022
New Mexico, United States
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 80 / 100 based on 4 user reviews.

New Mexico is called the land of enchantment.

Much of it is desert, but it’s a beautiful desert with a lot of interesting things to see.

New Mexico is the fifth-largest state in size, but 37th in population, so it is one of the least densely populated states in America.

If you want to get away from it all, you can do so in New Mexico.

Albuquerque is a big city that has a lot going on.

Santa Fe is a major art city.

You can also explore extra-terrestrial conspiracy theories in places like Roswell.

Native American culture is strong here as well, and there is a lot of interesting history to explore.

Carlsbad Caverns and White Sands are two national parks that are major attractions.

New Mexico is pretty safe too, partly due to a small population.

There may be more natural dangers than dangers from other people.

Warnings & Dangers in New Mexico

Overall Risk


New Mexico is a rural, sparsely-populated area and that may skew the stats somewhat. Crime per 1000 people is well above the national average in many areas, but is that because there is a lot of crime or because there are few people? The number of crises is low. New Mexico has one of the highest crimes per thousand rates but has the fewest number of crimes of any state. There are a lot of safe areas and general precautions should keep you safe.

Transport & Taxis Risk


There is a good bus system in the state, and major cities. A light rail offers service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Public transportation is used a lot and is safe. There are taxis from the airport which are licensed and safe. Smaller towns and rural areas do not have taxis and may not have bus services.

Pickpockets Risk


There has been a rise in pickpockets in Santa Fe recently. Crime is not as common as it used to be, but it still exists in tourist areas. In crowded areas, they are more likely to strike. The most common crime is where someone picks up something that someone has left behind, or left unlocked.

Natural Disasters Risk


There are not many natural disasters in New Mexico. Weather can be inconvenient and disastrous for the unprepared, but there is little risk overall.

Mugging Risk


There has been a slight rise in this type of crime in the Santa Fe area, but overall there is little risk of being mugged in New Mexico. The rate of violent crime is high, but the overall number is not. Tourist areas rarely have this sort of violent crime.

Terrorism Risk


Sparsely populated areas like New Mexico rarely have terrorists. There is a growing concern about domestic terrorism from extremist groups, but they are rare in New Mexico.

Scams Risk


In tourist areas, there might be an odd fake tax or fake ticket for sale, but this is rare. The most common scam is done by telephone, targeting elderly people giving out personal information that can be used for identity theft. As always, if someone presents a deal too good to be true, it probably is not real.

Women Travelers Risk


New Mexico is a liberal-type state and it is not uncommon to see a woman traveling alone. Even so, common sense should prevail. There are still some criminals out there, and no matter where you are, there are some places you should not go at night alone.

Tap Water Risk


Tap water in New Mexico is very safe. It is a desert area, and there is a concern at times about having access to enough water for the population, but the quality itself is not an issue.

Safest Places to Visit in New Mexico

The safest place to visit in New Mexico could be the national parks, like Carlsbad Caverns or White Sand National Park.

There are also lots of beautiful state parks and other natural areas that usually do not have a lot of people around, and are safe.

Some public land areas are free for any kind of use – such as camping or general exploration – and these are safe.

Albuquerque is a large city but has a low crime rate in most areas.

Santa Fe has some bad areas, but the arts districts are very safe.

Small towns have charm and are interesting to visit as well, and they are safe for the most part.

Los Alamos is a small town that has an incredibly low crime rate.

Places to Avoid in New Mexico

Rio Rancho is on the north side of Albuquerque and is the third-largest city in the state.

It is densely populated and has a high crime rate.

Deming is a rural town of 14,000, and it has one of the highest crime rates and has high unemployment and poverty rates.

It is rated as one of the worst places to live as well.

It is also close to the border.

Beland, Anthony, and Sunland Park are also towns with high crime rates and lots of poverty.

Very rural areas can also be dangerous for those not prepared.

There may be no help for 100 miles, and there may well be no phone signal either.

Santa Fe has a lot of great areas that are safe but also has some bad areas to avoid.

There are also quite a few Indian Reservations.

These areas may not be safe for outsiders, so make sure you have permission first before getting into their spaces.

Safety Tips for Traveling to New Mexico

  1. Keep your car and hotel room locked. Avoid being a victim by protecting your property. Many petty criminals are just looking for an easy target and will check to see if doors are locked. They will almost always pass up a locked car. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity.
  2. Stay hydrated. Remember you are in the desert. The sun can get very hot, and the air is dry even in winter. You can get dehydrated even when the weather is not cold. Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol a much as possible.
  3. Extra supplies. Bring more water than you think you need, and extra food if you are traveling in rural areas. The weather can turn cold at night even in summer, so bring extra blankets as well.
  4. Watch for wildlife. There are a lot of remote areas great for exploring. These areas also house rattlesnakes and scorpions. Snakes will not usually bite you unless you step on them, so watch your step in the great outdoors.
  5. Don’t be flashy. There is a lot of poverty in New Mexico. Don’t flash your cash, expensive jewelry, or electronics. Don’t attract attention to things that thieves might like to steal.
  6. Check out your car. Especially if you are going to a remote area, make sure everything is operational and in good shape. Sometimes there is no one around for many miles and there may not be a phone signal. A breakdown here would be worse than in a big city.
  7. Watch the weather report. It is a dry area for the most part, but storms can pop up anywhere at any time of year. Watch out for lightning and flash floods that accompany these storms. Keeping an eye on the weather will help you remain prepared.
  8. Watch out for altitude sickness. There are mountains in New Mexico, and it is called the high desert because of its altitude. If you are not used to altitudes, you might have trouble in some areas. Hypothermia is a greater danger here as well.
  9. Be watchful. Most tourist areas are safe, but be aware of the criminal element that is everywhere. Don’t leave property lying around, and watch out for suspicious-looking people. Don’t put yourself in danger by going out at night alone, or going too far off the beaten path.
  10. Follow your instincts. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, there probably is. If you feel uncomfortable and have no idea why you should get out of that location fast. It’s better to be wrong and safe than right and sorry.

So... How Safe Is New Mexico Really?

It is really hard to say how safe New Mexico is.

The small number of people makes the few crimes seem greater in a crime per 1000 people statistic.

New Mexico has the lowest number of crimes of all the states but has the highest crime per 100,000 people in the nation.

New Mexico also has the highest rate of car thefts per 1000 people in the nation.

New Mexico’s violent crime rate of 822 per 100,000, and its property crime rate of 397, are both more than double the national average.

Even so, the total number of crimes committed is well below the national average both for violence and for property crimes.

The overall murder rate has gone down some, but at 4.8 per 100,000 people, it is still above the national average.

In Roswell, you have a one in 17 chance of being a crime victim.

In Albuquerque, it is even worse, at one in 16.

Encanto Village, Quail Ridge, and Alta Monte are areas of Albuquerque that have bad reputations.

These are not tourist areas though, and there is no need to go there if you are just visiting the city.

Taos has the highest property crime level in the state, well above the national average.

These numbers make the state sound dangerous, but may not be all that dangerous in reality.

Many areas are completely safe.

Staying out of bad areas is the key.

While the crime rate may seem high, the total number of crimes is not all that high.

There are not a lot of reports of crimes specifically targeting tourists, but that can happen.

The remote areas are pretty safe because they are remote and there are not many people there.

Big cities like Albuquerque or Santa Fe, have their share of crime, but they also have security around tourist areas to keep them safe.

How Does New Mexico Compare?

StateSafety Index
New Mexico65

Useful Information



You need a visa to get into the United States. If you are coming from the south you may get a little more scrutiny than you would at the airport. Your visa can be used for identification, but usually, a driver's license is sufficient for identification.



The standard of currency is the U.S. Dollar. In some southern areas, they might accept Pesos, the Mexican currency. Exchange can be made at the airport or almost any bank.



It is desert, so it is dry most of the time. It can get very cold in winter, and the air is dry, so it can be deceptive. In the northern areas, there can be snow in winter. Summer is very hot, so light clothing and lots of water are needed.



Albuquerque has an international airport. Taos and Santa Fe have national or regional airports. They are all on the edge of town and taxi service is available into town.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Things can go wrong anywhere at any time. If something bad happens, you can lessen the blow and make a recovery if you have travel insurance.

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New Mexico Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -1° C
Feb 1° C
Mar 5° C
Apr 9° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 17° C
Oct 11° C
Nov 4° C
Dec -1° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

New Mexico - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Elephant Butte73
Las Cruces46
Los Alamos71
Red River72
Rio Rancho72
Santa Fe32
Silver City72
Truth or Consequences74

Where to Next?

4 Reviews on New Mexico

  1. A bit of Roswell, anyone?

    New Mexico has plenty of places where you can have fun. The biggest problem is the lack of phone signal in a lot of areas. You need to come prepared for anything here or risk spending the night in the middle of nowhere if you’re traveling between places. Be careful as the aliens are on to you 😉

  2. C
    Chris mars says:

    The good bad and ( ugly)

    Travel to New Mexico 20 years ago and yes it was an enchanted place went back this year for the first time and you want to talk about a full 180° turn well it happened. Places like Santa Fe we’re 20 years ago things were a lot safer I found it that you feel like you’re living in Mexico and in Albuquerque alone I walked from a hotel to a restaurant and heard constant gunfire so what I did is look at what changed in New Mexico and the only thing that changed was the political structure where Democrats are in control of the big cities and found it no different than the cities of San Francisco Chicago New York just in a smaller scale being you only have about a million people but when you start looking at crime statistics 100,000 people policy has definitely changed and you can just tell that by communities that are all gated. I could never figure out why someone would let their community go to crap and as far as being woke oh they are woke in New Mexico so don’t wear fancy jewelry or even a $300 watch cuz you’re liable to get it taken great job to all the politicians that have ruined my retirement state now I must find somewhere else

    1. S
      Suzanne Castillo Devlin says:

      New Mexico IS the land of enchantment!

      I am a native New Mexican but haven’t lived there full time since I was five.

      I have returned almost every year since I was 16 and for the last 3”!years I’ve been vacationing in Santa Fe or Tesuque but always visit family in Belen, Los Lunas and Albuquerque and have never heard him shots or felt threatened by anyone at any time.

      I have been to strip malls, and trading posts on Central Avenue in Albuquerque and restaurants all over the city and even a casino near Albuquerque and never had one single time when I’ve felt threatened in any way.

      I’ll be eighty next year so last year was my last trip there since it’s become more difficult for me to walk but I love the Land of Enchantment and it’s people. Such a beautiful state with such delicious unique cuisine like delicious sopaipillas, Mew Mexico style flour tortillas, green chile stew, flat enchiladas, natillas, CD calabacitas, carne adovada and of course my favorite red and green chile.

  3. A
    Anonymous says:

    Real stuff bout my state

    I live in New mexico since I was a teenager first up north by four corners their are amazing things to do if you visit like annual free concert and fireworks display at towac that has casino and campgrounds with a teepee you can rent like 20 and natives mind their own and can and well let you have it (do you blame them ) that got raped of their lives and made to live on some of the worst land you can’t ever produce tumble weed) but they have no problem making money from you from selling Indian taco please don’t taste at any fair or place in towns I’m talking bout Jerez on side of road best ones ever on you way up to natural hot springs or best camping hiking and art you’ll see FYI no liquor on any rez it’s a federal law Farmington got best 5dollar camping at Farmington lake and has beach area with free bungalos also has one of the best free off road dirt bike atv parks super cool river walk with police every where Navajo Damm FYI coldest dang water all yr.

    Has so many ruins best fishing and in Aztec has connection to the aliens thing pre roswell 2 great casino Live horse races and the coolest air b&b you hike up a cliff to sleep in a super renovated cave called kopailli caves has riverfest splash park car race track Aztec and now Bloomfield part of the tri city’s let’s say avoid ain’t noithing their any way but the wooden nickel and you better be ready for some wild wild west leave that place to the locals but I’ve had a few fun nights their .and you wanna know any thing about anyone their the manager Dora at famers market only store in town she gots anything you wanna know they got Connie mack world series largest aquatic pool in New mexico and have 2 dollar night òn weds.they do most swim competitions their for state and have national Jr roedo with plenty of rv park space you can imagine nice tennis courts and is one of the cleanest towns you don’t see homeless people their cops are highest. Paid in country.

    Just dont feed the locals lol see the sights and go.they seem so friendly which they can be just know they sizing you up and please don’t. Get into any trouble their our state theme is come on vacation and leave on probation not welcome to new mexico land of enchantment sign. Says but we say welcome to land of entrapment speaking of entrapment also FYi any where in or near Aztec don’t do 1mile over .Cuba 10 miles before and after do the exact speed and same goes for sanisidro.

    And coming into Bernalillo from any direction west north south or east and that’s northwest corner of state but I’ve wrote book already bout my state but I’ve always felt safe here and I’ve traveled coast to coast but police scare me the most. they don’t give two shits about that contsuiton also mutten green çhile burrito love it on fry bread either way love it. And God forbid don’t tell us we speak good English for being from mexico oh wow we don’t look Mexican please snap new mexico don’t require visa to come or go we don’t use pesso and break bad is a sad reality that put us on map most people I knew never watch it. And I can name a 100 more things to do. But I’m a local who hates it but don’t leave air great light traffic most of state.foid best in country

New Mexico Rated 4 / 5 based on 4 user reviews.

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