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10 Safest Cities In New Mexico (2022 Update)

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, USA

Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.

New Mexico is regarded as one of the most dangerous states in the US, with only Alaska recording a higher violent crime rate per 100,000 people in 2019. The violent crime rate across the state was 856.6 per 100,000 people. Not only did this see New Mexico rank as the second most dangerous state, but it was the highest increase in crime rates, up 10% from 2018. The Land of Enchantment is home to more than 2.1 million people, making it the 16th smallest state, by population.

Despite high crime rates, there are safe cities within New Mexico, and it is home to attractions like Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, and the incredible Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It combines snow-capped mountains with incredible deserts. It was also the first state in which wine grapes were grown.

Below are 10 of the safest, larger cities in New Mexico so you can find a desirable spot to visit or somewhere safe to stay. We have included figures from the FBI’s most recent city-based statistics, from 2019.

divider 4The 10 Safest Cities In New Mexico: A Quick Look

1. Corrales

NM 448 northbound, Corrales NM
NM 448 northbound, Corrales NM (Image Credit: John Phelan, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 8,715
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 138

Corrales is a relatively small city with a population of 8,715. In 2019, it had a violent crime rate of just 138 per 100,000 and had the lowest property crime rate for medium to large cities in New Mexico. Its property crime rate was 711 per 100,000. More than 80% of the violent crimes recorded with aggravated assaults and there were no homicides recorded during the year.

Corrales has been steadily growing in population since 1980, when it had a population of just 2,791 people. By 1990, this had grown to 5,453, increasing further to 7,334 in 2000 and 8,329 in 2010. The city is known for its large concentration of trees and the area is popular for fishing and birdwatching. In 2007, it was voted among the top 20 best places to live by CNN when, at the time, it had a median home value of $450,000. It even has a local brewery.


2. Rio Rancho

NM 347 northbound, Rio Rancho NM
NM 347 northbound, Rio Rancho NM (Image Credit: John Phelan, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 99,359
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 190

Despite being the third largest city in New Mexico, Rio Rancho is one of the safest. Its population of approximately 100,000 people did endure three homicides in 2019, but it has a low violent crime rate of 190 per 100,000 and its property crime rate of 1,474 per 100,000 ranks as fourth best of the larger cities in New Mexico. Of 189 violent crimes reported in 2019, 134, or 71%, were aggravated assaults.

The original settlement was founded in 1710 by Spanish settlers and acquired by the US in 1848. As the name suggests, it was a popular ranching region, but its proximity to Albuquerque meant that it underwent considerably urban development in the 20th Century. Today, although some ranching is still ongoing, the city’s largest employer is Intel Corporation, which owns a $2 billion semiconductor fabrication plant in the city. Several new developments have been agreed and the city population continues to grow.


3. Alamogordo

Population: 31,832
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 342

Alamogordo is a medium-sized New Mexico city with a population of over 31,000 people. It has a violent crime rate of 342 per 100,000 and the 8th best property crime rate of 2,501 per 100,000. No homicides were reported in 2019 and 91% of the violent crimes were reported as aggravated assaults.

Although the present city was established in 1898, humans have been living in the area for 11,000 years. Once the city was incorporated, in 1912, it became a popular tourist spot and sites like the White Sands National Monument remain very popular with visitors and vacationers. As well as a network of municipal parks, the city has a zoo and a considerable network of walking paths. The largest employer in the city is Holloman Air Force Base, which is also estimated to account for 50% or more of the local economy.


4. Anthony

Anthony, New Mexico

Population: 9,284
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 345

The city of Anthony is one of the smallest on our list with a population of just over 9,000 people. It has a violent crime rate of 345 per 100,000 people and recorded no homicides in 2019. More than 90% of the incidents were reported as aggravated assaults. Anthony also has the second-best property crime rates with just 722 reported incidents per 100,000 population.

The small city lies on the bord of Texas and New Mexico. It is 21 miles to the north of El Paso. With a population of less than 8,000 in the 2000 census, it is a fast-growing city, having only truly been incorporated in 2010.


5. Sunland Park

Population: 18,103
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 359

Sunland Park has a population of over 18,000 people and has a violent crime rate of 359 per 100,000 people as well as a property crime rate of 1,044 per 100,000. Its property crime rate is the third best for large towns and cities in New Mexico. No homicides were reported in 2019 and 84% of violent crimes committed were aggravated assaults.

Sunland Park sits on the borders of Texas and Chihuahua, Mexico. It was incorporated in 1983 and has a 30 acre amusement park, called Western Playland, as well as a racetrack and casino. You can also get a picture with the Greetings From El Paso sign, which is located at the Substation Retail Village, while looking around the stores and restaurants.


6. Portales

Portales NM welcome sign
Portales NM welcome sign (Image Credit: Beatrice Murch, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)
Population: 11,675
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 471

Portales has a population of 11,675 and has a violent crime rate of 471 per 100,000 people. Its property crime rate of 2,612 per 100,000 also features in the list of the lowest for the state. Although its violent crime rate does rank it as one of the safest cities in New Mexico, one homicide was reported in 2019. 84% of the violent crimes committed were aggravated assaults.

The city, which is named for a local watering hole that sprung from a rocky ledge, was established in 1909. In 1934, the Eastern New Mexico University was established and has expanded to become the state’s third largest university. Known for being the United States’ largest producer of Valencia peanuts, Portales’ economy relies heavily on the growing and exporting of peanuts and the manufacture of peanut butter.


7. Las Cruces

City of Las Cruces
City of Las Cruces (Image Credit: Jpawela, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)
Population: 103,520
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 497

Las Cruces is New Mexico’s second largest city, by population, with more than 100,000 residents, although it is still considerably smaller than the largest city and capital, Albuquerque, which as a population five times larger. Despite its size, Las Cruces ranks well as a safe place to visit or live with a violent crime rate of 497 per 100,000, although its property crime rate of 3,581 per 100,000 is not as promising. 10 homicides were reported in 2019 and 75% of violent crimes were aggravated assaults.

The city of Las Cruces is surrounded by mountains with the Organ Mountains to the east and is 40 miles from El Paso and Sunland Park. The city houses Virgin Galactic headquarters and, 55 miles to the north, Spaceport America. The White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range are the biggest employers in the region. Visitors can enjoy annual wine festivals, a pumpkin festival, and a Day of the Dead festival and a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The main campus of New Mexico State University is also in Las Cruces.


8. Artesia

Population: 12,366
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 526

Artesia has a population of 12,366 people and, in 2019, had a violent crime rate and property crime rate of 526 and 3,041 per 100,000 people, respectively. No homicides occurred in the year, and over three quarters of the recorded violent crimes were aggravated assaults.

Artesia was named in 1903 and incorporated in 1905. An artesian aquifer was found in the area and led to its early growth, but this ran dry in the 1920s. Today, the city relies on dairy as well as gas and agricultural industries. The city is home to Abo Elementary School, which is the only public school located entirely underground. David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell To Earth was filmed in the Artesia Restaurant and Hotel.


9. Clovis

Clovis airport
Clovis airport (Image Credit: Pete unseth, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International)
Population: 38,734
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 674

Clovis is a moderately sized city. Its 38,734 residents reported a violent crime rate equivalent to 674 incidents per 100,000 population and a property crime rate of 3,805 per 100,000 in 2019. The violent crime rates include two homicides reported in the 12 months, and 68% of the crimes were aggravated assaults. The city does have a high incidence of rapes, with a rate of 139 per 100,000, though.

The city of Clovis began in 1906 and was incorporated in 1909. Although the city has a somewhat chequered past, with a mass shooting that killed two and injured four in 2017, and a mass escape from the Clovis prison in 2008, it is considered a safe city. Ranching, peanut growing, and cotton farming are popular in the area. In the 1960s, musicians including Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison recorded music at the Norman Petty Recording Studio.


10. Bernalillo

Bernalillo, New Mexico, USA - panoramio
Bernalillo, New Mexico, USA – panoramio (Image Credit: MARELBU, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 3.0 Unported)
Population: 10,353
Violent crime rate per 100,000: 821

Bernalillo is a relatively small city with a population of just over 10,000. It has a violent crime rate of 821 per 100,000 and a property crime rate of 2,241 per 100,000 population. In 2019, one homicide was recorded and 87% of the city’s violent crimes were aggravated assaults.

Bernalillo is strongly linked to the New Mexico wine scene. The wine grape was first introduced in the 1620s and, although poor weather conditions saw its popularity dip, it has come back as strong. The New Mexico Wine festival is held annually on Labor Day and many local residents are involved in the growing and cultivation of grapes, as well as the larger wine industry.

divider 4How To Stay Safe In New Mexico

Although some parts of New Mexico may be considered unsafe, most incidents of violence and crime can be avoided by staying alert and doing your research. When visiting the state, follow these basic tips to help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.

  • Keep Your Valuables Out Of Sight – Although New Mexico is packed with photo opportunities, avoid walking around with cameras and cell phones out. Try to keep them in a bag or a secure pocket and leave other valuables in your hotel room or other location.
  • Research Your Location – Wherever you stay, do your research before you travel. Look for safe places to eat and drink as well as places to visit. Research emergency services and try to get information from locals as well as other visitors to the area.
  • Avoid Crime Hotspots – While doing your research, find those areas that are considered the most dangerous and avoid them, especially if travelling alone. Similarly, avoid alleys and dark parks or secluded spots late at night.

Related Read: 25 Safest Cities in Mexico (With Pictures)

divider 4Conclusion

New Mexico has one of the highest violent crime rates of any state in the US, and saw a significant increase in 2019. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a safe visit. Above, we have listed ten of the safest cities with a population of around 8,000 or more and provided tips to help keep you safe while you are in the Land of Enchantment.


Featured Image Credit: NorthAmericanStories, Pixabay

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