2016 Safest Places in Arizona

by Susan Gulliford

Arizona’s population has grown nearly 7% since the 2010 census. With so many people moving to the Grand Canyon State, the ValuePenguin team analyzed the latest FBI Crime Report to determine the safest cities in the state. These 41 cities had crime scores that ranged from 488 to an outlier of 10,406. The average crime score for the entire state was 2,122.

The major takeaway from this research was Arizona is different than other states studied by ValuePenguin. In states such as Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, affluent suburbs of major cities dominated the top five. Despite the fact that Phoenix has a large population of 1.5 million, none of the top five were suburbs of that major city. Picturesque cities and towns in different parts of the state dominated in this report.

5 Safest Places in Arizona

These cities have an average final crime score of 671, which was 68% lower than their typical peer in the state. The team at ValuePenguin determined that these five are the safest cities in Arizona.

1. Florence

This mid-size city comes in at number one. In addition to a low rate of violent crime, it had the lowest rate of property crime in this study. Florence was the only Arizona city with a crime score below 500. It is located in the Sonoran Desert; both Phoenix and Tucson are more than a one hour's drive away. Florence is a middle-class town with a median household income $1,425 below the Arizona’s median household income.

2. Clarkdale

The safest small city earned the number two spot in the safest places list. It is approximately 31 minutes to Sedona, AZ. There were six violent crimes reported in 2014. Clarkdale’s population skews older with more people in the 45-64 and 65+ age categories than Arizona as a whole.

3. Sahuarita

The 44 sworn officers are committed to community policing, and the results of their efforts are very positive for the residents. Sahuarita had the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the fifth-lowest rate of property crime in ValuePenguin’s analysis. This mid-size city is a 30-minute drive south of Tucson. The median household income was 31% above the state’s median household income, and the town has a low level of poverty.

4. Eagar

This small community, located in northeastern Arizona at the base of the White Mountains, boasts of its appeal to tourists. The town keeps residents and visitors safe. It had the fifth-lowest rate of violent crime in addition to a low rate of property crime. People in Eagar call in to the “WeTips” line to report crime anonymously. Eagar is a middle-income community with a low rate of poverty and unemployment.

5. Thatcher

The Thatcher Police Department states that its main goal is “...to contribute to the quality of life in Thatcher.” This small city had the lowest-rate of violent crime of any community. Thatcher is in a rural area approximately 165 miles southeast of Phoenix. It is in a picturesque area (the Upper Gila Valley), hence it attracts many tourists each year.

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:

Safest Places in Arizona

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.

Rank

CityCrime Score

1

Florence488

2

Clarkdale578

3

Sahuarita699

4

Eagar781

5

Thatcher807

6

Somerton869

7

San Luis923

8

Gilbert983

9

Buckeye1,030

10

Surprise1,079

11

Wickenburg1,189

12

Lake Havasu City1,305

13

Peoria1,354

14

Snowflake-Taylor1,367

15

Prescott Valley1,471

16

Camp Verde1,525

17

Quartzsite1,528

18

Nogales1,546

19

St. Johns1,576

20

Chandler1,607

21

Payson1,636

22

El Mirage1,682

23

Apache Junction1,944

24

Prescott2,018

25

Eloy2,085

26

Pinetop-Lakeside2,114

27

Chino Valley2,201

28

Bullhead City2,251

29

Coolidge2,398

30

Casa Grande2,579

31

Mesa2,625

32

Kingman2,753

33

Flagstaff2,871

34

Globe2,895

35

Yuma2,919

36

Holbrook2,961

37

Tempe3,462

38

Phoenix3,718

39

Page3,945

40

Tolleson4,837

41

South Tucson10,406

Year-over-year Change

When people choose a city in which to live, they want a place that is consistently safe. Three communities (Florence, Clarkdale, and Sahuarita) made the top five in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, Florence and Clarkdale were number one and two respectively in both years.

Small and mid-size communities dominated the top five safest places in both years. However, small did not necessarily equal safe. The three communities with the highest crime scores all had populations of under 10,000. In fact, South Tucson not only came in last both years, it was an outlier in both 2015 and 2016.

Fewer communities reported data to the FBI in 2014 (for this year’s list) than reported in 2013. Also, a number of cities that reported crime totals last year did not report this year. Without cities such as Tucson and Scottsdale, the ValuePenguin team had a harder time making year-to-year comparisons.

Safest Places in Arizona

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 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 lies!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score

23

Apache Junction37,2742443,2761,944

9

Buckeye58,126501,9631,030

28

Bullhead City39,3372064,0752,251

16

Camp Verde11,0553262,4691,525

30

Casa Grande50,2074783,5752,579

20

Chandler252,3691852,2361,607

27

Chino Valley10,9796922,6782,201

2

Clarkdale4,1301451,017578

29

Coolidge11,8414144,2312,398

4

Eagar4,9171021,708781

22

El Mirage33,3071683,0471,682

25

Eloy17,0015002,9292,085

33

Flagstaff69,4903964,3462,871

1

Florence25,068128598488

8

Gilbert235,430891,475983

34

Globe7,3615435,3122,895

36

Holbrook4,9827834,8782,961

32

Kingman28,5262565,1572,753

12

Lake Havasu City52,8921662,0971,305

31

Mesa462,0924592,8002,625

18

Nogales20,3822362,6441,546

39

Page7,3289696,3323,945

21

Payson15,2383612,4681,636

13

Peoria164,7221482,0031,354

38

Phoenix1,529,8525723,7243,718

26

Pinetop-Lakeside4,2966983,0262,114

24

Prescott40,9923442,9982,018

15

Prescott Valley40,0352202,3181,471

17

Quartzsite3,6352483,3011,528

3

Sahuarita27,207331,444699

7

San Luis32,0591561,425923

14

Snowflake-Taylor9,6834851,4871,367

6

Somerton15,1451651,420869

41

South Tucson5,7072,43617,96010,406

19

St. Johns3,5084852,5091,576

10

Surprise125,0491101,6791,079

37

Tempe169,8124714,7373,462

5

Thatcher5,049202,099807

40

Tolleson6,80757310,3284,837

11

Wickenburg6,6572402,1481,189

35

Yuma92,0755653,6212,919

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