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 : MEDIUM
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 : LOW
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 : MEDIUM
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 : LOW
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 : LOW
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 : LOW
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 : LOW
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 : LOW
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 : LOW
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Visas - 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.
- Currency - 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.
- Weather - 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.
- Airports - 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 - 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.
New Mexico Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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