Safest Cities in Arizona – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Looking at Arizona’s statewide crime rates, the Copper State doesn’t compare favorably to the rest of the country, recording violent and property crime significantly above national levels in 2018. However, Arizona’s 5 safest cities performed much better than statewide crime figures would suggest, each recording a total crime rate below 15 per 1,000.

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

Arizona’s safest community is Florence, a historic town that is one of the oldest in the state. While Florence has a rich history, the town distinguishes itself in modern times by earning an excellent safety record. Florence’s total crime rate of 6.20 per 1,000 is less-than-half of that of any other Arizona community’s.

Paradise Valley is Arizona’s 2nd safest municipality, as well as the state’s wealthiest. The town recorded just 3 violent crimes in 2018, resulting in the lowest violent crime rate in the state.

Ranking 3rd is Oro Valley, an affluent suburb of Tucson notable for the many high tech firms headquartered in the town. Oro Valley posted very impressive crime numbers in 2018, including a violent crime rate of 0.38 per 1,000 that is less than 10% of the statewide rate.

Maricopa, a city of nearly 50K in the Gila River Valley, earns Arizona’s 4th spot. The city achieved the 2nd lowest total crime rate in the state in 2018, just 11.96 per 1,000, and falls to #4 only due its lower-than-average ratio of law enforcement-to-residents.

Closing out the list of Arizona’s 5 safest communities is Sahuarita, a town of around 30,000 15 miles south of Tucson that was once colonized by the Spanish. Today, Sahuarita belies its somewhat turbulent history by recording a low violent crime rate of 1.27 per 1,000.

Arizona’s Safest Cities

AZCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Florence25,98734127401616.201.314.891.54
2Paradise Valley14,51931964219913.710.2113.502.89
3Oro Valley44,8441761012762713.980.3813.602.83
4Maricopa48,660934898858211.961.9110.051.81
5Sahuarita29,896383485038612.911.2711.641.67
6Somerton16,380192182723714.471.1613.311.65
7Gilbert247,4632343273386350714.170.9513.231.56
8San Luis33,07484725448014.510.2414.271.63
9Chino Valley11,840421793022118.673.5515.122.53
10Lake Havasu City54,6788883011091816.791.6115.182.01
11Prescott Valley45,337677769684318.591.4817.122.12
12Camp Verde11,249312123224321.602.7618.852.84
13Surprise136,6111652103193226816.601.2115.391.41
14Apache Junction41,245817738885420.711.9618.742.13
15Marana46,447331076120110923.880.7123.172.58
16Mesa504,87318371002412021186123.493.6419.852.38
17Eloy19,549813514143222.104.1417.952.10
18Scottsdale254,9614225683608610523.941.6622.292.38
19Buckeye71,3181251348125147320.651.7518.901.75
20Peoria170,1773883241278362921.322.2819.041.63
21Chandler255,9866065430494603623.582.3721.211.93
22Prescott43,17213689681103223.903.1520.751.88
23Payson15,549634034346629.974.0525.922.77
24Nogales19,973416106565132.592.0530.543.25
25Sierra Vista42,574104112186122528.772.4426.332.02
26Goodyear82,1592032081148228427.802.4725.331.80
27Coolidge12,815374333947036.682.8933.793.04
28El Mirage35,7337793364101028.272.1526.111.79
29Show Low11,156594273948643.565.2938.283.50
30Bullhead City40,3541491444110159339.483.6935.782.73
31Casa Grande56,4793461478102182432.306.1326.171.81
32Avondale85,2042862739185302535.503.3632.152.17
33Flagstaff72,8523422465158280738.534.6933.842.17
34Phoenix1,653,080121105773239026984242.257.3334.922.36
35Kingman29,669118115270127042.813.9838.832.36
36Tempe188,5439137802488871546.224.8441.382.59
37Glendale249,7991167101865611135345.454.6740.782.25
38Tucson537,39239582662310153058156.917.3749.541.89

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.