10 Safest Cities In New Mexico (2023 Update)
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 does 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.
The 10 Safest Cities In New Mexico: A Quick Look
|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. Over 80% of the violent crimes were 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 it 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
|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 endured 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 the 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 it underwent considerable urban development in the 20th Century. Today, although some ranching is 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 constructed, and the city population continues to grow.
|Violent crime rate per 100,000:||342|
Alamogordo is a medium-sized New Mexico city with 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 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.
|Violent crime rate per 100,000:||345|
The city of Anthony is one of the smallest on our list, with 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 rate, with just 722 reported incidents per 100,000 population.
The small city lies on the border 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 been incorporated in 2010.
5. Sunland Park
|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.
|Violent crime rate per 100,000:||471|
Portales has a population of 11,675 and 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 ranks 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, 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 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
|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 has 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. 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.
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, 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.
|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.
|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 has a high incidence of rapes, with a rate of 139 per 100,000.
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.
|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 returned. 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.
How 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. 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 and 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 traveling alone. Similarly, avoid alleys, dark parks, and secluded spots late at night.
Related Read: 25 Safest Cities in Mexico (With Pictures)
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 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 in the Land of Enchantment.
Featured Image Credit: NorthAmericanStories, Pixabay