Arizona is known for being hot, dry, and home to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Vibrant blue waterfalls, stunning canyons, and bright blue skies are main draws for many who vacation (and live) there. It contains sprawling deserts, yes, but it also has 11.2 million acres of national forest that covers more than a quarter of its land. Arizona produces more copper than any other state and is home to the world’s largest telescope. The Grand Canyon receives over 5.5 million visitors each year, but its unknown how many of these visitors fall in love and convert to residents.
Safety has always been an important factor when searching for a new place to call home, but a wavering political system combined with an increase in violent crime has made safety the number one priority for many Americans. Because navigating through crime statistics can be a difficult and time-consuming process, we’ve done it for you.
Florence is about sixty miles southeast of Phoenix. It has lots of parks and historical attractions along with a fun aquatic center for kids, located downtown. Built around the Gila river, it's one of the oldest towns in the county and that old-world charm is preserved in their downtown, which houses many of the buildings that are part of the National Registry of Historic Places. There were only 34 violent crimes, at 1.26 per 1000 people, compared to the state’s average of 3.36 per 1,000 people.
Also nestled alongside a river between a handful of small mountains and hills, Sahuarita is one of the southernmost cities in Arizona, located just south of Tucson. Much of its land is used for agriculture, which is sustained by runoff from mountain peaks and Sahuarita Lake. Unlike Florence, Sahuarita is a young town, turning 23 in 2017. They're a town that's actively working to grow and better meet the needs of its future population. Not surprisingly, there were only 13 violent crimes and 339 property crimes.
Located southeast of Phoenix, Gilbert is a much bigger city than most on this list. It draws residents from the Phoenix metropolitan area and is mostly focused on being an agriculture-based community, growing at a very fast rate every year. The population has grown from 5,717 people in 1980 to 247,324 people today - 43 times larger in 30 years. Surprisingly, the trend of bigger cities having more crime rates does not follow suit here. There were only 177 violent crimes and 3267 property crimes. The city was built as a means of extending the Arizona Eastern Railway from Phoenix to Florence and holds a record high of 122 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an affluent area, with a $109k average household income. What was once the “Hay Capital of the World” is now the place to be.
4. ORO VALLEY
With stunning views of the Pusch Ridge in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Oro Valley is a beautiful place to live. It has been recognized by many popular publications, including Family Circle magazine as one of the Top Ten Best Towns for Families, Nick Jr. Family Magazine as one of the Ten Most Playful Towns in America, and Fortune Small Business magazine as #44 of 100 Best Places to Live and Launch a business. Oro Valley is a very safe place to live, with only 27 violent crimes and 583 property crimes. Their schools rank in the top third of the state with impressive student to teacher ratios - it seems that everything this city does is done well.
Maricopa, due south of Phoenix, boasts a 1.72/1000 violent crime rate and a 12.45/1000 property crime rate. This small, 47 square mile town has been renamed three times. First, it was Maricopa Wells, then Maricopaville, and then Maricopa Junction, which was eventually shortened to Maricopa. Like Gilbert, it's a young city, officially incorporating itself in 2003.
The Top 50 Safest Cities in Arizona, 2017
21. Prescott Valley
41. Show Low
4. Oro Valley
14. Lake Havasu City
25. Sierra Vista
35. Casa Grande
7. San Luis
27. Camp Verde
28. El Mirage
9. Paradise Valley
29. Bullhead City
30. Apache Junction
50. South Tucson
To identify the safest cities in Arizona, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics along with our own population data and internal research. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 5,000.
The remaining cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft) per 100,000 people. These variables were then weighted, with violent crimes accounting for 70% of the total (due to their severity) and property crimes accounting for 30%. Finally, we moved the decimal point over a few spots to show rates per 1,000 people.