Glance upon the blazing flag of New Mexico, with its golden background and red sun symbol of the Zia, and you can almost imagine the sun-baked terrain of this Southwestern state. Though it's the sixth-largest state, New Mexico also remains the sixth-least populated state, a diverse place that's populated by large Native American, Hispanic, and Spanish-descendant peoples. And, yes, there is plenty of scorching desert here, but the state also boasts gorgeous canyons, stunning mesas, and snow-topped mountains. It's a nature lover's paradise, and a whopping one million acres of New Mexico's forests are protected by the U.S. Government. The capital, Santa Fe, remains a big travel destination, drawing tourists with its Spanish colonial architecture, vibrant arts scene, and fiery cuisine. Albuquerque is also well-known for its adobe houses and Native American culture, but visitors are equally enchanted by the UFO-themed museums and amusement parks of Roswell, which is located near the infamous Area 51. Outside the city, the striking landscape offers plenty to discover, such as the white gypsum sand dunes of the White Sands National Monument, the ancestral Puebloan ruins of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the shimmering waters of Santa Rosa. It's a state that captures the imagination and offers something for everyone, especially for those looking to start a new life in one of New Mexico's many super-safe communities.
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.
1. SUNLAND PARK
Bordering both Texas and Mexico, this sun-baked part of New Mexico is a true crossroads town. It sits adjacent to not one, but two, major regional cities, neighboring El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. And while its neighbors may be more populous, Sunland Park still boasts plenty of character, as well as the distinction of being the safest city in New Mexico. Experiencing only 14 reported violent crimes and 177 property crimes last year, Sunland City is a great place to start a family, while also enjoying the natural beauty of the nearby Rio Grande River and Mount Cristo Ray, the latter of which is topped by the striking Statue of Christ the King. Feeling lucky? Skip the outdoors and spend the day at the Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino.
Located in Sandoval County and neighboring the city of Albuquerque, Corrales sits at a very high elevation of 5,023 feet. It's also the second-safest city in the state of New Mexico, so devoid of rabble-rousers and ne'er-do-wells that it experienced a minuscule 15 reported violent crimes and 89 violent crimes last year. That's so safe that residents may feel like skipping the sun block— though they shouldn't — because it's very sunny there. Locals love the city's rural feel, as well as nearby nature highlights such as the Rio Grande Bosque, which provides a refuge for native plants and animals.
3. RIO RANCHO
A sizable city located a cowboy hat's throw from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho remains one of the fastest-growing cities in New Mexico. And while everyone and their in-laws seems to be trying to move to Rio Rancho these days, it remains one of the safest cities in the state, last year experiencing 2.17 violent crimes and 19.69 property crimes per 1,000 people, respectively. The Intel Corporation remains a huge employer in the city, and when locals have clocked out of work, there's a good chance they're going to see the New Mexico Stars indoor football team or New Mexico Thunderbirds NBA Development League team.
This town may be located near the border of Texas, but there's little doubt that Lovington is New Mexico to the bone. Close-knit, but also quite spacious as locals love their wide-open spaces. People here are proud of their progressive values, as well as the safety of their town—Lovington experienced 31 violent crimes and 259 property crimes last year. Lovington is also the hometown of one of the greatest linebackers to ever play in the NFL: the legendary Brian Urlacher.
Located at a sky-reaching elevation of 6,460 feet, the city of Grants is located a straight shot west, down Interstate 40, from Albuquerque. Grants was originally founded in the late 1800s when three brothers—Lewis A. Grant, Angus A. Grant, and John R. Grant—established a camp to build parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. These days, it's one of the safest cities in New Mexico, experiencing 40 violent crimes and 198 property crimes last year. Locals also love visiting outdoors parks such as the nearby El Malpais National Conservation Area, and Grants remains home to the National Parks Service and Bureau of Land Management.
The Top 30 Safest Cities in New Mexico, 2017
1. Sunland Park
3. Rio Rancho
13. Santa Fe
14. Truth or Consequences
15. Las Cruces
16. Las Vegas
19. Los Lunas
To identify the safest cities in New Mexico, 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. Note that our use of the word "cities" is versatile, refers to populations of 5,000 and over, and thus includes places with the words "town" and "township."
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.