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New Mexico – A south-western state that is immediately associated with Spanish/Mexican heritage, fabulous food and desert scenery. The state’s climate varies considerably, with some northern and eastern areas being cooler and alpine in their weather, with the southern being arid and dry. The population, occupying a state that is the 5th largest in the US in area, sits at just over 2 million. This results in a low population density, and New Mexico ranks 6th in the US for such.

Traditionally, the state’s economy was based on mining and other natural resource utilization (e.g. oil and gas) plus ranching and related agricultural industries. Tourism is also an important contributor. It is a “low tax” state which has encouraged many more diverse industries to locate there. The US military also has several major sites in New Mexico.

7.38 Average violent crime per 1,000
39.24 Average property crime per 1,000

Incomes are generally lower than US averages, with the highest being found around Albuquerque. Average state household incomes are around $47,000 – approximately 20% below the US figure. Per capita income at $25,000 is a similar percentage below US averages. New Mexico’s crime statistics indicate that violent crime is a significant problem measured against national norms:

  • It’s the 43rd safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • The violent crime rate is over double the national average (ratio 2.13) based upon 7.38 violent crimes per 1,000 compared against the national average of 3.47. This makes the state the 47th safest in the US
  • Property crime is at the national average with 39.24 per 1,000 (national level 40.43).

The safest parts of NM statistically are:

  1. Los Alamos
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Artesia
  4. Alamogordo
  5. Carlsbad

Safest Cities in New Mexico, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
1Los Alamos30931.6485.109
2Las Vegas993347.52325.380
8Santa Fe2893,1783.42637.673
11Los Lunas18578811.91550.750


To identify the safest cities in New Mexico, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.

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 rated them using the population of the city and 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 we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.

Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.

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