New Mexico : Safety by City
- Elephant Butte
- Las Cruces
- Los Alamos
- Red River
- Rio Rancho
- Santa Fe
- Silver City
- Truth or Consequences
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is the real name of a town about two hours south of Albuquerque.
Most people refer to it as T or C.
It was once called Hot Springs but took a radio station up on an offer to rename the town to get publicity in the 1950s.
This offbeat name change hints at the town’s spirited personality.
T or C, as locals call it, has an artsy, free-spirited culture with numerous yoga studios, eclectic galleries, and colorful murals dotting downtown.
The region has more than a dozen hot spring access points, from simple to luxurious spas with a Southwestern vibe.
You’re also at the forefront of space exploration, with Spaceport America nearby.
Hiking and camping abound in the surrounding Gila National Forest, or you can cool off in Elephant Butte Lake State Park.
You should also take the chance to see the Elephant Butte Dam, which explains how the Rio Grande was shored up to keep water flowing for farmers in this rugged desert.
Take a look at the island near the dam.
It was once a tall butte, and many thought it looked like an elephant lying on its side, hence the name.
The unique hot springs and volcanic rock views make T or C a great place to visit, even if you’re just driving through.
Warnings & Dangers in Truth or Consequences
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk, but it's still wise to keep your guard up since this is such a remote location and a very small town. You will have plenty of safe spaces dedicated to visitors to explore, which is why we feel this area is safe.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You will need a car to get to T or C. There is no public transportation, and taxis or rideshares could be limited due to the size of the town.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, but the risk stays low if you don't leave your belongings lying around on the beach or campsite. Stay with your stuff at all times, or have it secured in a safe place.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Wildfires, extreme heat, high winds, flash flooding, and severe thunderstorms can all cause problems here. You should treat it with a medium risk to stay informed. Even though many days will be sunny and cloudless, storms can brew quickly here.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
No crime data has been released about robberies since the mid-2010s, but I also can't find any relevant news stories for the past few years about muggings. Treat it with low risk, but stay in well-lit areas and don't carry valuables with you, just in case.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
The risk in T or C is low, but the White Sands Missile Range 50 miles east could be a target, as could Spaceport America. However, these locations also have security all the way to the federal government, so the risk comes with a heaping dose of safety.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The few scams here target locals, with the most recent one being someone pretending to be an officer and threatening people with arrest if they didn't give the scammer money. Anyone who knows law enforcement knows you can't buy your way out of a warrant, so that kind of education will keep this a low risk.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
T or C is actually a popular women's getaway because of the spas and luxurious treatments available. It's a family-friendly destination too. As long as you have an emergency kit in your car and know basic safety steps, you'll have a low risk.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
There's a low risk, according to the 2022 Water Quality Report. You should be respectful of the water access challenges in the desert and take conversation steps, like limiting a shower to five minutes or less. I did see some water main updates on the city's website, so that's a good resource to see if there are issues during your stay.
Safest Places to Visit in Truth or Consequences
The Truth or Consequences city website has a section about tourism.
You can also visit the Sierra County tourism site to get a look at things to do across the county.
Use the Spaceport America website to learn more about that attraction, as it stays more updated than traditional tourism sites.
Tours are available from time to time, but it’s not guaranteed.
Check the website and ask about any background checks or photo IDs required to get in.
Do not expect to get a Spaceport America tour, but seize the chance if you have the opportunity.
For many visitors, soaking in one of T or C’s hot mineral baths is the top attraction.
Several bathhouses in the historic downtown area offer private and public soaking tubs, including the iconic Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa, built in the 1930s.
The mineral-rich waters are 104°(F).
Art lovers will enjoy browsing the intriguing galleries and studios along Main Street.
Be sure to stop at the Geronimo Springs Museum to learn about the rich cultural history of the region and see Native American artifacts.
The museum grounds are home to restored historic buildings like the Larmour Hospital Building from the 1920s.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike through the surrounding wilderness or camp along the Rio Grande.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park offers excellent fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
At Clyde Tingley Beach in Truth or Consequences, you can swim in the lake’s warm waters or participate in water sports like jet skiing.
Nine ghost towns surround T or C, and you can download a pamphlet and driving tour from the Sierra County tourism site.
There are towns that once housed miners, but the location was quickly abandoned when the mines were cleared out.
You can also visit the ghost towns of your choice while taking the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway.
It’s a 150-mile drive that requires four-wheel drive high-clearance vehicles to complete.
Otherwise, you can do a tour that’s just as amazing on 138 miles of paved roadway.
Places to Avoid in Truth or Consequences
T or C is too small of a town to have a dangerous section that you should avoid.
It’s a city offset from the interstate, but use the designated exits and main roads to get where you need to go.
You shouldn’t drive haphazardly around the neighborhoods.
You need to avoid going into an area where you don’t know the conditions of the roads.
In early 2023, two Ohio women were leaving T or C when they disappeared.
Luckily, their families knew where they were planning to be and called the police when they didn’t show up at the airport to return home.
It turns out the women took a “scenic route” to get to the airport and ended up on gravel and dirt roads.
Eventually, they were stuck in the mud.
Even as they tried to walk to safety, a woman got stuck in the mud and lost her shoes, having to take the rest of the walk barefoot.
Luckily, they were rescued, but the story doesn’t always end that well.
Another woman got disoriented on a drive around Elephant Butte and ended up driving into the lake.
She didn’t make it.
Stay on designated highways and always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Once you get outside of T or C, you won’t have reliable mobile phone service.
At every opportunity, stop to get gas.
Gas stations are few and far between, especially if you’re visiting the nearby ghost towns.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Truth or Consequences
- The city has its own police department. You can find them on Facebook @TorCPoliceDepartment or call (575) 894-1204 with your own safety questions. Another option is to email TorCPD@torcnm.org.
- Sign up for CodeRED notifications through the Sierra County Emergency Management website. While you’re there, read through the Disaster Resource Guide. You’ll be better prepared for severe weather or other safety risks.
- If you are traveling in an RV or towing a boat, you need to find a place where you can park it legally. The T or C town ordinance prohibits parking or setting up on city or private property. You must use a designated recreational vehicle park.
- Learn about safe driving around semi-trucks, as many will be on the main highway in and out of town. You should know where the truck blind spots are and learn how hard to maneuver they are because if you cut them off, you could cause an accident.
- If you are traveling with a pet, they are required to be on a leash no more than six feet in length at all times. Dogs can never be off-leash in town. There is a dog park in town if you need a place to play without a leash.
- You can check the Rocket Launch website to see if one is happening during your visit. Ask around town for the best place to see a launch, as most are closed to the public at Spaceport America.
- I cannot emphasize enough how windy it can be in spring. When I lived in Las Vegas, we joked that there was no real spring. It was “wind season” instead. The desert gets howling winds that kick up dust storms, tumbleweeds, and other debris. It can also rip down tents and items that aren’t secured outside.
- Those who want to fish at Elephant Butte State Park will need a fishing license from the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game. Be sure you get a non-resident license.
- Never go underwater in a hot spring or let the water get into your eyes, nose or mouth. Don’t even splash a little on your face. While it’s very rare, the risk of brain-eating amoebae can be present in any hot spring. Since 1962, 157 have been infected by the amoebae, and only four have survived. The latest victim was a 2-year-old in Nevada in 2023.
- Elephant Butte Lake visitors can enjoy the great outdoors while still having the comfort of wireless internet. Just be sure to stay south of Monticello Point.
So... How Safe Is Truth or Consequences Really?
The truth? It’s either one of the safest cities in New Mexico or among the top 15 Most Dangerous.
It’s hard to get a grasp on the truth since official crime data hasn’t been released since 2020, and even before that, the information didn’t give much context beyond raw numbers.
For example, I can tell you that the violent crime rate in 2020 was slightly below the national average and half the New Mexico violent crime rate.
I will tell you to get ahead of any search result you do for “Truth or Consequences Crime,” that one of the most horrific true crime stories happened outside of town.
A man dubbed the “Toy Box Killer” tortured and killed women in his “dungeon.”
That man is dead, but his story has made headlines with the surge of True Crime TV shows.
The best advice I have for you in T or C is to mind your own business, use standard safety precautions, and stay aware of your surroundings.
The rural nature of this town can be offputting for big city people, but it’s a beautiful area with safe places to explore.
How Does Truth or Consequences Compare?
|Truth or Consequences||74|
|Sao Paulo (Brazil)||45|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||43|
- Visas - All international visitors will need a passport and a visa or visa waiver, depending on the country of origin. More detailed information can be found on the U.S. State Department website.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency that can be used in this country. You should exchange currency before you get to T and C. It's just too small of a town to have what you need. Your home bank will offer the best rates for exchange, and most places here take credit cards, which offer the best fraud protection anyway.
- Weather - Summers are scorching here, with highs near the triple digits from June through August. Winters are pleasantly mild but can get below freezing at night. Pack layers, sunscreen, sunglasses, and sturdy shoes.
- Airports - Albuquerque International Sunport is two hours north, and that is the largest commercial airport location nearby. There's a small airport in Grant County, but that's also two hours away and has very few flights (one of which is to Albuquerque).
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance makes sense when traveling to a remote area with the potential for severe weather that can cause delays and cancellations. You should also invest in travel health insurance if you don't have health coverage in America.
Truth or Consequences Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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