2015 Safest Places in Arizona

Contents

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:

5 Safest Places in Arizona

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. 

Factor Value
Population 26,682
Crime Score 488

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.

Factor Value
Population 4,090
Crime Score 627

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.

Factor Value
Population 15,014
Crime Score 687

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.

Factor Value
Population 25,535
Crime Score 695

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.

Factor Value
Population 9,651
Crime Score 797

Population Breakdown

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:

Map of the Safest Places in Arizona

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. 

Full List of Places in Arizona

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.

Methodology

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. 

Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city come in!

Rank City Population Violent Crime per 100k Property Crime per 100k Crime Score
46 Bisbee 5,463 74 217  3,510
16 Buckeye 55,710 49 1,328  1,298
35 Bullhead City 39,577 76 1,716  2,347
20 Camp Verde 10,942 33 259  1,444
37 Casa Grande 50,058 229 1,975  2,713
28 Chandler 248,718 575 5,900  1,778
23 Chino Valley 10,850 50 207  1,514
2 Clarkdale 4,090 5 51  627
7 Clifton 3,499 11 42  870
42 Coolidge 11,820 66 662  3,190
33 Cottonwood 11,285 44 401  2,072
14 Eagar 5,034 15 106  1,221
34 El Mirage 32,837 86 1,173  2,087
30 Eloy 17,602 72 506  1,915
38 Flagstaff 67,963 246 2,869  2,739
1 Florence 26,682 24 198  488
8 Gilbert 225,232 193 3,472  1,010
48 Glendale 234,006 905 13,626  3,958
52 Globe 7,414 77 488  4,156
18 Goodyear 71,048 94 1,716  1,428
51 Holbrook 4,988 49 362  4,136
44 Kingman 28,400 128 1,621  3,345
19 Lake Havasu City 52,891 87 1,252  1,428
21 Marana 37,469 37 1,056  1,470
11 Maricopa 44,871 62 819  1,106
36 Mesa 456,155 1,807 12,916  2,498
17 Nogales 20,736 39 523  1,413
47 Page 7,330 59 467  3,707
6 Paradise Valley 13,286 13 215  829
31 Payson 15,192 56 483  1,947
25 Peoria 161,641 254 3,830  1,561
49 Phoenix 1,502,139 9,492 60,085  4,032
39 Pinetop-Lakeside 4,266 34 193  2,799
29 Prescott 40,752 124 1,085  1,788
15 Prescott Valley 39,209 82 751  1,264
24 Quartzsite 3,648 16 93  1,533
4 Sahuarita 26,535 17 349  695
9 San Luis 28,231 37 539  1,083
27 Scottsdale 225,523 337 5,766  1,688
13 Sedona 10,036 20 217  1,184
50 Show Low 10,732 125 577  4,045
5 Snowflake-Taylor 9,651 21 109  797
3 Somerton 15,014 15 187  687
55 South Tucson 5,694 150 849  9,556
32 St. Johns 3,584 19 127  2,013
12 Surprise 122,497 149 2,120  1,129
45 Tempe 168,501 831 7,876  3,474
10 Thatcher 4,999 1 144  1,095
53 Tolleson 6,754 37 676  4,672
54 Tucson 525,486 3,368 34,587  5,232
22 Wickenburg 6,583 15 197  1,491
41 Willcox 3,678 11 263  2,976
26 Williams 3,019 12 97  1,671
43 Winslow 9,326 95 385  3,257
40 Yuma 96,014 587 3,375  2,969

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