Is Taos Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On July 14, 2023
Taos, United States
Safety Index:
77
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
100
* Rated 100 / 100 based on 5 user reviews.

Taos, New Mexico, captivates travelers with its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant arts scene.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, nature lover, or history buff, Taos offers a tapestry of experiences.

In fact, this place is so appealing that movie star Julia Roberts bought a home here and even had her marriage ceremony on the property.

Taos is also close to the Taos Ski Valley mountain region, where you can have four seasons of high-altitude fun.

New Mexico is known as the Land of Enchantment and nowhere is that more prominent than on the 84-mile Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

The road takes you around the 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak and goes through stunning rock formations to lush valleys.

Immerse yourself in Native American culture as you explore the ancient adobe buildings of Taoe Pueblo, or seek out artists creating unique southwestern U.S. products.

Don’t get me started on the food scene.

New Mexico is famous for its chile varieties, and Christmas here doesn’t always mean December 25th.

(To order a “Christmas chile,” you’ll get a mix of red and green versions.)

As a lifelong American, Taos is one city I’d move to if I could afford the increasingly expensive cost of living, but it’s also a tourist’s dream come true.

Warnings & Dangers in Taos

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

There's a low risk in Taos and so, so much to do. While there are some more risky activities, like skiing and rafting, all safety measures are taken by expert staff and you can get as ambitious or relaxed as you'd like.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

This is another category with a lot of options. The North Central Regional Transit District (RTD) covers the bus system here. It also offers the "Blue Bus" that goes to the ski area in winter. Tripcarma is used for rideshares in rural areas, but Uber and other taxi services are available. Rental cars are available at all airports and in the larger towns. All options are low-risk.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

The police departments here don't release specific pickpocket crime data, but being a huge tourist area, treat it with a medium risk. Thieves will be looking for a crime of opportunity. Don't give them one.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW

Taos and its surrounding areas are susceptible to wildfires, especially during dry and hot seasons. Don't go into the mountains or wilderness without checking the fire risk. Flooding brought on by severe storms can pose dangerous risks from excessive water runoff and lightning. Taos experiences cold winters and significant snowfall due to its elevation and mountainous terrain. Heavy snowstorms and blizzards can occur, resulting in hazardous road conditions and potential avalanches in mountainous areas. You have to stay weather aware here.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

Through 2020, Taos hasn't had more than 10 robberies in a year since at least 2011, and no more than five since 2017. That's a low risk.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

As popular as this area is, it's also very remote and spread out. There isn't a risk of a tourist attack on Taos. Los Alamos would be the closest hard target, about 64 miles away, but it's also heavily secured.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

Rental scams are the main problem to avoid as a tourist, but you can fix that by only renting from people who have rental licenses. Check each company on the Better Business Bureau website. Watch out for common scams, which you'll find on social media sites for local law enforcement. The risk is low, but that's only if you stay informed.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Women or solo female travelers should have a low risk in Taos, but you need to use the same safety precautions as you would in any tourist region. One of the biggest outdoor risks would be going hiking or skiing alone since you wouldn't have anyone to help you in case of an emergency.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

The 2022 Water Quality Report shows one violation, which involved an excessive amount of fluoride in the water. The utility company is now closely monitoring the fluoride category to keep it under regulated levels. You can read the full report online or call (575)751-2047 if you have more questions. There's a low risk of using tap water on vacation. Fluoride is most dangerous with excessive exposure over a long period of time.

Safest Places to Visit in Taos

Taos.org is the official tourism website for the town of Taos and covers everything from the mountains to the Rio Grande Valley.

You can download a free tourist guide without giving any personal information.

Ski Taos is the site for the ski and outdoor region.

First, you need to know the lay of the land.

There is the town of Taos, Taos Pueblo, and Racho de Taos.

  • Taos is a town known for its rich cultural heritage, art scene, and outdoor activities. Taos is a tourism hub that is famous for its historic adobe buildings, such as the Taos Plaza and Kit Carson House, which reflect the town’s Spanish colonial and Native American influences.
  • Rancho de Taos is a small village located a few miles south of Taos. It is primarily known for the historic San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, which is one of the most photographed and painted churches in the United States. This area is also more rural and secluded than the town of Taos.
  • Taos Pueblo is an ancient Native American community and UNESCO World Heritage site located just north of the town of Taos. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States, with a millennium of history. The Pueblo consists of multi-story adobe buildings and is known for its traditional way of life, cultural events, and handmade crafts.
  • Taos Ski Valley is a small alpine village in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Taos Ski Valley is also the name of the resort offering challenging ski terrain at 9,200′ elevation. The village accommodates visitors looking for a perfect mountain getaway.

The heart of Taos (the town) is Taos Plaza, which is also the downtown area.

Once designed as a way to keep predators out, it’s now a place of community gathering for summer concerts, farmer’s markets, and unique shopping and dining.

The tourism website has a map of all the historic churches in the region, with two dozen options from Cerro to Santa Cruz.

Mass service days and hours are listed as available.

The Earthship Visitor Center is available by tour appointment only, but it’s worth taking the time to learn about Earthship architecture and sustainable living principles.

Earthships are unique and environmentally friendly homes built with sustainable and recycled materials, designed to be completely off-grid and self-sufficient in terms of energy, water, and waste management.

Rafting tours on the Rio Grande are a favorite summer activity, but the tour options range from historic walking tours to ghost tours to Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad tours departing out of Chama.

There’s so much more to do here that it’s hard to squeeze it all in, but you can call 800-732-8267 or email ask@taos.org with specific itinerary questions.

Places to Avoid in Taos

Taos’ crime rates are low enough that you don’t need to worry about a bad part of town or dangerous neighborhoods.

That said, don’t go driving through neighborhoods where you don’t have any business in the first place.

Most of the “places to avoid” would be where drug or gang activity is happening.

With all the drug issues in the state, from drug cartels to deadly levels of fentanyl to violent crime connections, this isn’t a place to experiment.

If you need a prescription while you are here, just go to a registered pharmacy.

Don’t trust any drugs sold on the streets or in unregistered pharmacies.

Avoid trying to find and get near Julia Robert’s second home in the Taos area.

I was able to find it easily enough on a map, but it’s not near a main road and the driveway is gated behind the entrance to the dirt road.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is a fascinating site, standing 650 feet above the river on the second-highest bridge on a U.S. highway.

You can walk onto the bridge, but the sidewalk is narrow until you get to the scenic vistas.

The rest area also has a hiking trail near (but not too close to) the edge of the gorge.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Taos

  1. Three law enforcement agencies oversee this region: Taos Police Department, Taos County Sheriff, and Taos Ski Valley Police. It’s wise to find them all on social media and store numbers in your phone in case you need to contact them for a question or safety issue.
  2. If you have any information or suspicion of a crime, call 575-758-4258 to reach Crimestoppers. You can leave an anonymous tip while sending in pertinent information, photos, and videos.
  3. Look at the Emergency Management page of the Taos County website to find the link to the AlertMe App. This is how you can get emergency notifications for weather, fire, and other safety issues during your visit.
  4. The website nmfireinfo.com is where you’ll find details about wildfires burning in the state or the potential for fires to start. Note the fire restrictions, especially if you plan on camping in the wilderness.
  5. Taos has a mix of metered and free parking in town. You will need coins to feed the meters, but I love that they give a 10-minute grace period for expired meters here.
  6. Taos is almost 7,000 feet above sea level, which could cause some people to experience altitude sickness. If you’re coming here for a mountain trip, give yourself a day or two in the lower part of the region to acclimate. When going up the mountain, keep drinking water and give yourself plenty of extra time, since the air is thinner and breathing can be challenging.
  7. If you’re here for the ski season, the best ticket prices come when you purchase them at least 72 hours before you plan to ski. Look for special deals throughout the year. Most gear can be rented here, so you don’t need to pay extra to bring your own skis if you don’t want to.
  8. I promise that I’m not trying to make you spend more money, but if you’re going to take a river rafting trip, please use an experienced guide service unless you’re an expert. Rafting is one of my favorite outdoor activities and I’m saddened to see that three deaths happened in June 2023 on the Rio Grande near Taos. It’s also important to follow all the instructions from your raft guide, even in rough waters or emergencies.
  9. As a great step to avoid any kind of rental scam, you should read the rules of Short Term Rentals on the Taos town website. Like many resort towns, Taos is restricting and controlling the number of STRs and the rules around them. If you come across a rental listing whose owner isn’t following these rules, it’s likely a scam.
  10. If you hear an unsettling noise and you can’t quite figure out where it’s coming from, you might be one of the few who can hear the Taos Hum. Many studies have been done to figure out the cities, like Taos, that have these mysterious hums, but nobody is sure why it happens or why only certain people can hear it. You can’t do anything about it, but you can at least know you’re not going nuts!

So... How Safe Is Taos Really?

Taos is another one of many cities in the country that hasn’t provided official crime data since the pandemic year of 2020.

On top of that, the crime rates appear higher than they really are, since the numbers only account for crimes vs. the population.

The numbers don’t include the thousands of visitors who pass through each year.

What police will admit to in 2023 is that crime is increasing and staffing police departments is becoming more challenging.

At one point in 2022, Taos Police only had 16 of the 24 approved police officers.

“Violence in our community and across the nation is at an alarming pace,” Taos County undersheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.

“It appears that the term ‘gun violence’ is used very broadly.

For me, any kind of violence is an unnecessary, dangerous, and reckless act.

Until laws on the books get enforced to maximum penalties, and we abolish the catch and release system we have that allows repeat offenders to remain in society for years at a time until conviction, I don’t anticipate anything is going to change [nor will we] see a reduction in violent crimes.”

It’s important to know that New Mexico is plagued with drug crimes, from deadly doses sold on the streets to drug kingpins operating out of secret homes to violent crimes related to drug battles.

In one instance, a woman was kidnapped, doused in bleach, forcefully injected with heroin, and thrown over a bridge.

She was able to survive and the police think it was because her friend didn’t pay a drug dealer.

For tourists, you should know that most of the crimes I’ve researched were among people who knew each other in some way.

Even a shooting in a store parking lot that caused uproar in the community was not a random act of violence.

That said, in the summer of 2023, a shooting between police and a suspected criminal ended up with both an officer and the suspect being shot.

The suspect died.

Traffic in the tourist district was diverted for much of the day.

You should know that theft, car break-ins, and car thefts are going to be a problem here.

The risk is easy to control with smart safety practices like locking car doors and not carrying valuables around with you.

The most “touristy” parts of the valley and mountains will be guarded well to keep the popularity of the tourism industry growing.

How Does Taos Compare?

CitySafety Index
Taos77
New York City67
Detroit56
San Diego67
Miami55
Honolulu65
Chicago65
Cordoba (Argentina)61
Toronto (Canada)81
Melbourne (Australia)80
Montreal (Canada)81
Sydney (Australia)80
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

International visitors are required to have a visa or visa waiver in their passport. You'll need to show each one at the Customs and Border Patrol entry point, whether it's at the airport or the border.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar will be accepted here. If you are a bank customer at a branch in Taos, you can exchange currency here. Currency exchange is not available at the Albuquerque airport, so take care of that before you arrive if you don't have a bank here.

Weather

Weather

You don't need to pack anything special as long as you pack for the season in which you are visiting. Obviously, skiers will want the right gear to handle frigid temperatures. With so much hiking to do, bring hiking boots you've already worn to prevent blisters. You do need sunscreen and bug spray.

Airports

Airports

Taos Regional Airport is eight miles from the town with service through Taos Air. There are limited flight destinations. Albuquerque International Sunport is about two and a half hours south.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance should be paired with travel health insurance and adventure insurance to cover all steps of the trip and activities within. There is no free healthcare in the U.S. and a skiing accident could cost thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Taos Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -4° C
Feb -1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 8° C
May 13° C
Jun 18° C
Jul 21° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 16° C
Oct 10° C
Nov 3° C
Dec -3° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
581217222830282519116
Low
°C
-12-9-5-138111061-6-11
High
°F
414654637282868277665243
Low
°F
101623303746525043342112

New Mexico - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Alamogordo73
Albuquerque31
Carlsbad74
Chama73
Deming62
Elephant Butte73
Farmington52
Gallup46
Las Cruces46
Los Alamos71
Raton68
Red River72
Rio Rancho72
Ruidoso72
Santa Fe32
Silver City72
Socorro73
Taos77
Truth or Consequences74
Tucumcari73

Where to Next?

5 Reviews on Taos

  1. M
    Margaret Clark says:

    As a longtime resident of Taos, I can attest that like any community, there are areas to be cautious of, but overall, it’s a safe place to live and visit.

  2. H
    Hannah Swanson says:

    I visited Taos last summer with my family, and we felt completely safe exploring the town and surrounding areas. It’s a beautiful place with a welcoming atmosphere.

  3. B
    Betty Jennings says:

    I recently moved to Taos for work, and I’ve found it to be a peaceful and tight-knit community. I’ve never felt unsafe walking around, even at night.

  4. T
    Tristan Hodgson says:

    While every town has its issues, Taos generally feels safe. Of course, it’s always wise to stay informed about your surroundings and take necessary precautions.

  5. D
    Daniel Russell says:

    I’ve been living in Taos for over a decade, and while there have been isolated incidents, I still consider it a safe place overall. It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and trusting your instincts.

Taos Rated 5 / 5 based on 5 user reviews.

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