When deciding where to live, safety is a top priority. Our team at ValuePenguin has analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safety of cities and towns in Arizona. These 55 ranged in a crime score from 488 to an outlier of 9,556, with an average of 2,272. We found that the five safest places to emerge shared different characteristics: they ranged from small to midsized cities; they fell on every section of the state map; and they classify themselves as cities, towns and, in one case, sister towns.
Phoenix fell near the bottom of our rankings with a crime score of 4,032. In fact, 114 of the 248 murders reported to the FBI two years ago took place in the state’s capital. Still, Tucson – Arizona’s other major college city – had a higher crime score, with 5,232. South Tucson, a small city nearby, was our study’s outlier, ranking last despite its population of less than 6,000 residents.
We did adjust our crime score metric for population size, also taking into account both the amount of violent and property-related crimes per 100,000 people (more on our methodology below). For more insight, take a look at the report:
These cities have an average crime score of 659, 71 percent lower than their typical peer in Arizona. With some of the state’s lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.
1. Florence, AZ
With a crime score of 488, Florence tops our rankings despite being the only place among the top five to report a murder in 2013. The town also has the highest population among its especially safe neighbors. An hour-long drive from Phoenix, Florence is ironically the site of the Arizona State Prison; inmates brought by train from Yuma at the beginning of the 20th century built it themselves. Speaking of construction, Florence should take a major step forward once its Territory Square project is complete.
2. Clarkdale, AZ
A town of less than 5,000 residents, Clarkdale reported just 56 crimes to the FBI two years ago, only five of them of the violent variety. Overlooking the Verde River and resting a half-hour’s drive from popular retreat Sedona, it is a city for those with a love of the outdoors. This is intriguing when you consider that Clarkdale was originally a “company town,” where employees – many of them miners – at a copper outfit lived and worked.
3. Somerton, AZ
Equidistant from the California and Mexico borders, Somerton is the western-most place on the list. Its crime score of 687 was 70 percent lower than that of the average Arizona city. Many of its residents (who have a median age of just 25.5 according to 2012 data) work in the growing and processing of fruits and vegetables, so it’s no wonder that Somerton hosts an annual tamale festival serving 25,000 visitors. The city is also the home of the native Cocopah Nation.
4. Sahuarita, AZ
The southern-most city on our list – it’s located a half-hour’s drive from Tucson and the University of Arizona – Sahuarita comes in fourth with a crime score of 695. The city can revel in its safety when it celebrates its 21st birthday on September 26, as locals will gather for its annual “Fiesta Sahuarita.” One of the city’s other top attractions is the Titan Missile Museum, which recounts Cold War history by featuring a warhead-delivering Titan II.
5. Snowflake-Taylor, AZ
Snowflake and Taylor, the northern-most towns of Arizona’s White Mountains, combine here because their 22-person police department and chambers of commerce joined forces. Their 130 reported crimes from 2013 are the second-lowest total on our list. The sister towns, as they call themselves, were both founded by Mormon pioneers. Snowflake, which, yes, occasionally does get snow, is actually named after early church leaders Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake. Nowadays, outdoors adventures are a highlight, fishing in particular; the towns claim they have the only places in the world to catch Apache trout.
Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 3,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 50,000. Here are our findings:
This is an interactive map of the 55 cities and towns that were analyzed in our study as well as the 2013 FBI report. Roll your cursor over each dot for the city name and crime score.
Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Arizona” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2013 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 3,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.
We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.
|Rank||City||Population||Violent Crime per 100k||Property Crime per 100k||Crime Score|
|19||Lake Havasu City||52,891||87||1,252||1,428|