Arizona : Safety by City
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Welcome to Tempe, Arizona
Tempe is a mid-to-large-sized college city in south/central Arizona, a state in the southwest United States.
The roots of its name can be sourced to the Vale of Tempe, near the Greek Mount Olympus.
The city covers a bit more than 40 square miles at an elevation that ranges 1,140 feet to nearly 1,500 feet above sea level.
Tempe is located in eastern Maricopa County, close to Scottsdale, Chandler, the Maricopa Indian Community, and other sunny, temperate locations.
The City of Tempe is considered a statistical and geographic component of the sprawling Phoenix metro area that is also the state capital.
Tempe offers a bit of an urban & suburban desert flair to its more than 180,000 residents (2020 Census).
Tempe’s warm, inviting outdoor-living climate attracts multitudes of visitors, with an average of 300 sunny days each year.
Tempe is also home to swarms of students attending classes on the main campus of one of the state’s (and nation’s) largest state universities – Arizona State University.
ASU (Arizona State) was founded in 1885 as a teacher’s training institute (known as a normal school when originally developed) – 2 dozen years before Arizona became the last of the contiguous states to be adopted in 1912.
The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serves Tempe, with additional travel services available at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in nearby Mesa.
Transportation options from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to Tempe include tram, taxi, shuttle, bus, or town car.
Geographically, Tempe is primarily flat, except for Hayden Butte, which is located near Sun Devil Stadium.
Sun Devil Stadium was once the NFL’s Arizona Cardinal’s home stadium (until 2005), the home of Superbowl XXX, and Arizona State University’s infamous ‘A’ logo.
In addition to Old Main on ASU, Tempe has many properties that are included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Warnings & Dangers in Tempe
OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM
Tempe is a small city with an above-average overall crime risk. The crime risk is dependent on the location within the city and in proximity to Arizona State University. But it is wise not to travel alone in unfamiliar areas – especially in the northern areas of Tempe. The current trend, noted by the City of Tempe, shows about a 10% decrease in property crime but a 24% increase in violent crime from 2019 to 2020 within city limits.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
Tempe offers light rail and bus services every day, with schedules available online. Taxis and other vehicle transportation choices are also available. Tempe's transportation choices provide residents and visitors the use of bike racks and are wheelchair accessible. According to the local government, the Tempe transit system served nearly 3 million individuals in 2021.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM
Pickpockets, and other criminal types, search for anyone who is not paying attention and is distracted by being new or engaged in the discovery of a new city or location. Heed the warnings and be cautious.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
Arizona's most frequent natural disaster risk occurs in the form of thunderstorms, which create floods and even hail storms. Tornados have occurred in Arizona, although they are rare, with only six since records have been kept (1950).
MUGGING RISK: MEDIUM
The risk of being mugged in Tempe depends on many factors, including the location, and the time of day, for instance. Commercial areas and Arizona State University's surrounding neighborhoods may pose above average danger, especially for those traveling along on foot, after hours.
TERRORISM RISK: MEDIUM
Like most cities across the country, terrorism has been on the rise in Tempe and other Arizona locations. The Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center was created to monitor and prevent terrorism in the state. It is the agency's objective to provide Arizona residents and visitors a safe and secure city in which to work, shop, play, and visit.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
In the 20th century digital landscape, scams (cyber & otherwise) are found across the internet, in business practices, shopping offers, travel sites, and other consumer frauds. The Arizona Attorney General offers important guidance regarding some potential scams and rip-off schemes previously and currently being perpetrated on the public.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: HIGH
There are typically higher risks faced by most female travelers. Although there are more solo women travelers across the world (and in Tempe) than ever before, they often face unique risks in the form of gender violence.
TAP WATER RISK: MEDIUM
Tempe's Water Department notes that the tap water in Arizona originates from the Colorado River & Lake Havasu and includes water projects and tens of underground wells. Test reveal certain contaminants in the water that may exceed guidelines, but there are simple, cost-effective water filter options.
Safest Places to Visit in Tempe
Tempe is a friendly city.
Downtown Tempe, home to the city’s tourism office, offers an opportunity to grab a map & event guide before taking a stroll exploring downtown’s many restaurants, nightclubs, hip boutiques, and bohemian shops.
The Mill Avenue District offers a mile of shopping and entertainment options, plus LEGOLAND Discovery & SEA LIFE Aquarium.
Check out the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting as well.
For live music, check out the Tempe Marketplace on Friday and Saturday nights, the Center for the Arts, or ASU Gammage, a performing arts center designed by Franklin Lloyd Wright.
Depending on the time of year, Tempe offers art festivals, the Dragon Boat Festival, Rock’ n’ Roll Marathon(and half-marathon), and the always popular Tempe Town Lake & Beach Park.
Tempe Town Lake offers water activities daily, including picnic areas, hiking, running trails, Swan Paddle Boats, kayaks, and paddleboarding, among others.
Golf enthusiasts can play on two awarding, top-rated courses, with many more quality links available in nearby sunny locations.
If visiting during the spring, check out the LA Angel’s spring training camp in Tempe.
Places to Avoid in Tempe
Tempe, like any large city, has dangerous neighborhoods and areas worth avoiding as a precautionary measure.
According to studies, the southeastern part of the city of Tempe tends to rank as the safest.
The northern sections of the city tend to have higher crime rates, but these areas are high-retail locations that historically tend to attract more crime.
The perimeter neighborhoods surrounding Arizona State University are considered rough.
As such, it is a smart idea to avoid these areas (at night and alone) unless necessary.
Tempe also has several lower-income areas like Guadalupe, which don’t necessarily translate to high crime rates areas.
Most people, and especially women, are advised not to travel alone – on foot unless necessary.
If you must, stay aware of your surroundings, off your phone, and pay attention until you are in a building, a car, or with someone else.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Tempe
- Take the time to research the destination properly.
- Arizona’s heat is dry, but its impact can be deceptive and creep up on visitors, who would be mostly unaware of how dangerous the Arizona sun can be. Summer is especially dangerous if one is not cautious.
- Stay in a location/hotel with an option that allows you to lock your valuables and carry travel insurance that offers coverage for valuables and other travel-related incidents.
- Tempe is a desert location, wearing the appropriate dress is imperative – comfortable shoes, loose-fitting clothing & hats, etc. Check your shoes for desert critters before slipping your foot into the shoe.
- Check out Papago Park as well as South Mountain Park in the early morning for a hike or bike ride – before the noon sun.
- Sunscreen & bottled water are a must. A smart rule of thumb to remain hydrated in the Tempe sun is to have a minimum of one liter of water for each anticipated hour you intend to be in the heat.
- If you want to see Arizona’s beauty by trail, travel with a partner and always have a mobile phone for emergencies.
- While Tempe is walkable, there are other safe exploration options like a bike or e-scooter rentals.
- When making reservations, work with well-known companies that can be deemed trustworthy.
- Make copies of important documents, and be certain to let friends and family members know your itinerary and timeline. Update them as needed.
So... How Safe Is Tempe Really?
As cities go, Tempe is typical – offering diverse neighborhoods that include both well-cared-for homes and in homes in need of repair.
Based on FBI statistics compiled by Alarms.org, Arizona’s crime rates, as a state, were significantly above national levels.
These crime statistics note that Tempe is among the least safe cities in Arizona – ranking 36 out of 38, with Glendale, Arizona (with a population of approximately 254,000) and Tucson, Arizona (with a population of approximately 537,000) rounding out the bottom three cities.
It is interesting to note that nearby Scottsdale (with a population of approximately 250,000) fared better, with a ranking 18th on the list of Arizona’s safest cities.
Even Phoenix, with more than 1.65 million residents, ranked slightly safer than Tempe, Arizona.
According to Niche.com, Tempe’s crime rates for robbery, murder, and assault were below national averages, although crimes of rape exceeded averages, as did property and motor vehicle theft data.
How Does Tempe Compare?
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For help with visas and other official documentation (new or renewal of United States passports), contact the US Dept of State's Consular Affairs Bureau. This agency of the federal government offers guidance concerning visa applications and processing. Note; however, many private companies specialize in obtaining these travel government documents expeditiously for a fee. When in a time crunch, the additional expedition fee is entirely worthwhile.
The US Dollar is the local Tempe currency. Many places offer currency exchange options in and around Tempe. The airport offers the most convenience for air travelers who wish to exchange their currency with local currency but is likely to be more costly.
As a desert location, Tempe's summer climate is dry but sweltering. The winter offers cooler, more comfortable temperatures. July is Tempe's hottest month, with an average high temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low temperature of 84 degrees Fahrenheit. August is the wettest month, with about 6 days with at least .04 inches of some sort of precipitation.
Tempe residents and visitors can reach the Tempe area through the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, offering international travel to more than 20 locations and 80 domestic locations. The Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is only four miles from Tempe's downtown. The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport is a smaller hub offering air service from Flair, Allegiant, WestJet, Sun Country, among others.
Travel insurance offers Tempe travelers the opportunity to protect against potential financial losses (and other risks). The covered events and risks depend on the company offering the insurance and the exact travel insurance coverage selected, but range from missing a connection to another flight, the receipt of delayed luggage, and even illness or injuries.
Tempe Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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Arizona - Safety by City
|Lake Havasu City