Safest Cities in Arizona
Arizona has always been known for its natural beauty, its rich cowboy history and all of its timeless traditions. Arizona also has a low unemployment rate, making it one of the best places to live for millennials and anyone else looking to advance or change their career. The commercial world is constantly growing, and ample job opportunities are available primarily in the technology and bioscience industries.
In recent years, Arizona has had significant changes in crime rates. The overall rate of crime has dropped 9 percent in the last year, and murders and burglaries individually decreased by 10 percent as well. Although these are huge milestones for Arizona as a whole, residents of the following top 20 safest cities experienced even less crime over the last year. According to the most recent FBI Crime Report, the chances of being a victim of crimes in one of the 20 cities was up to 40 percent less than national averages.
Whether you want the small-town vibe of Pima or the big-city vibe that permeates Phoenix or Scottsdale, there’s a good chance you will be able to find a safe, secure place to call home.
What Are The Safest Cities in Arizona?
To find the top 20 safest cities in Arizona, we reviewed the most recent data from the FBI Crime Report from 2014 and combined it with population data from each city. We eliminated any city with less than 2,000 residents, as well as any city that did not provide a complete crime report to the FBI. We then narrowed the results to indicate only the number of violent and property crimes that were reported in each city. We calculated the results based on the likelihood of these crimes occurring per 1,000 people.
Check the remaining cities below:
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.28
Property Crimes per 1,000: 5.98
At a rate of only 5.98 crimes per 1,000 residents, Florence can boast having the lowest property crime rate of any of the cities on our top 20 list. Florence is also considered one of the best cities to live in Arizona for people who prefer a small-town lifestyle, but with easy access to the big city. Located just 61 miles southeast of Phoenix, Florence has a relatively small population of 25,536 as of the 2010 census. Florence is also a growing city: The estimated 2014 population is 26, 912.
Florence is rich in history. The city was founded in 1866 by a U.S. Indian agent named Levi Ruggles, who recognized the area for its abundant agricultural potential. The city was also the site of a large prison camp for German and Italian POWs during the World War II era.
These days, the relaxed, friendly, safe environment makes Florence one of the best places to live in Arizona for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, or simply wants to enjoy the beautiful weather throughout the year.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.45
Property Crimes per 1,000: 10.17
With a population of approximately 4,100 citizens, Clarkdale is the epitome of small-town Arizona living at its finest. Originally founded as a copper mining town in the early 1900s, Clarkdale is one of the earliest known examples of a planned community in the United States. The town’s original design included telegraph lines and amenities such as telephone, electrical and sewer service.
While the closing of the copper mine and copper smelting operation in the early 1950s initially resulted in significant hardship for Clarkdale and its citizens, the construction of the Phoenix Cement Co. facility in 1959 started the city on the road to economic recovery. The cement plant remains as Clarkdale’s primary employer to this day.
The combination of beautiful weather, quiet lifestyle and low crime rate makes Clarkdale attractive to retirees. In fact, the city is primarily known as a retirement community. Clarkdale is also somewhat of a haven for artists – the city features a prominent annual art show and includes a popular community theater.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.34
Property Crimes per 1,000: 12.01
Wellton is located in southwestern Arizona, approximately 30 miles from Yuma. Incorporated in 1970, Wellton is a relatively new city with a small population of about 3,000 residents. However, the population typically doubles during the winter season, as residents of the colder Western states and portions of Canada flock there to seek temporary refuge from the bitter winter weather. Two challenging 18-hole golf courses, along with the warm climate, serve as the primary attractive for seasonal visitors. Despite being classified as a small town, Wellton offers all the modern amenities one would expect to find in a larger community.
The low crime rate and ample recreational activities make Wellton one of the best cities in Arizona to live in as well as visit. Annual events include Pioneer Days, Tractor Rodeo, Fishing Derby and numerous Tri-Valley celebrations. Wellton also holds appeal for history buffs. Although it was not officially incorporated until 1970, Wellton was actually founded in 1878. While the stagecoach and later the rail industry thrived during Wellton’s early days, agriculture serves as the foundation for the city’s economy today.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.33
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.44
According to FBI statistics, Sahuarita is the second-safest city in Arizona with regard to violent crime. Located in Pima County approximately 15 miles south of Tucson, Sahuarita features a population of about 27,500. In addition to its safety and proximity to the Tucson metro area, Sahuarita offers a beautiful high desert climate – the elevation is about 9,000 feet above sea level – a modern downtown area with a small historic district and much in the way of arts and culture. All of this has helped Sahuarita earn the reputation as being one of the best places to live for young adults, families and retirees in Arizona.
Sahuarita’s history dates back to the year 200 A.D. when the Hohokam people, believed to be ancestors of the Tohono O’odham Native American tribe, first inhabited the area. The region was eventually incorporated into the United States in 1854 and became part of the Territory of New Mexico. The actual town of Sahuarita was founded in 1911, but it wasn’t incorporated as a city until 1994.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.80
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.48
Pima is a small, rural community located in the Gila Valley region in southeastern Arizona. Originally founded in 1879 by Mormon settlers who named the town Smithville, Pima encompasses a 2.5-square-mile area and features a population of approximately 2,500 residents. Pima is the site of the Gila Valley Arizona Temple, a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. The small population and rural lifestyle makes Pima among the best places to live with family members or as a single individual who is looking for a quiet, peaceful environment to enjoy some solitude.
Education, health care and social assistance ranks as the top employment categories in the Pima area, followed by retail trade, agriculture, arts, construction and finance. Despite its small size, Pima is also regarded as a business-friendly community. This is in large part due to its convenient location and proximity to larger business markets – Pima is approximately 128 miles from Tucson and 152 miles from Phoenix – as well as its abundance of modern amenities.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.89
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.75
Located just 22 miles southeast of Phoenix, Gilbert has experienced tremendous growth in recent decades: The population of approximately 5,000 in the mid-1980s has mushroomed to well over 200,000 today. Despite this enormous growth, Gilbert features remarkably low violent and property crime rates. The combination of safe living, prime location in the Phoenix metro region and rapid transformation from an agricultural society to a thriving, economically diverse suburban center has made Gilbert among the best places to live for millennials and young families.
Although Gilbert is now regarded as a booming, modern Arizona city, it actually traces its origins to the beginning of the 20th century. In 1902, William “Bobby” Gilbert sold a right-of-way through land he owned in the Mesa area to the Phoenix and Eastern Railroad Co., which subsequently constructed what became known as the Arizona Eastern Railway. A spur line was built on Gilbert’s property, which soon became the site of an agricultural community that was eventually named Gilbert. Safe to say, Gilbert has come a long way from its early days when it was known as the Hay Shipping Capital of the World.
7. San Luis
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.56
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.25
San Luis has earned the nickname Gateway to the Sea of Cortez due its proximity to the body of water that separates the Mexican mainland from the Baja California Peninsula. Located just 23 miles from Yuma, San Luis was the fastest-growing city in Arizona from 2000 to 2010. The city’s population continues to increase at a rapid rate, growing from 25,505 at the 2010 census to approximately 31,000 as of 2014. As a Mexican border town, San Luis consists of a large Hispanic population. Both sides of the border contain numerous light manufacturing and assembly plants.
A primary reason for San Luis’s tremendous growth is the city’s annexation of about 16,000 acres of land bordering the eastern portion of the town. This has helped to fuel a tremendous amount of residential, commercial and industrial expansion in the area. Retail trade, manufacturing and agriculture compose the bulk of the San Luis economy. However, the primary employer in San Luis is the city’s school district. The Arizona State Prison complex in Yuma also offers a number of employment opportunities.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.65
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.20
Another of the best cities in Arizona in terms of safety and lifestyle is Somerton. Located about 12 miles from Yuma, Somerton traces its roots to 1898 and was incorporated as a city 20 years later. Somerton has a population of approximately 15,000 living in an area encompassing about 1.3 square miles. Somerton is known for its cultural diversity due its proximity to the Mexican border, as well as it being the home region of the Cocopah Native American tribe. The Cocopah Nation is also a major employer in the area, as it operates several entertainment and lodging facilities.
A primary attraction in Somerton is the annual Tamale Festival, which draws about 30,000 visitors each year. The festival, which is organized by the El Diablo Arizona State University Alumni chapter to benefit area students planning to attend ASU, features a wide variety of tamale vendors who sell their delicious Mexican fare to attendees.
While agriculture is the primary economic driver in the Somerton area, light industry is rapidly becoming an economic force, as well as a key source of employment throughout the region.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.10
Property Crimes per 1,000: 16.79
Surprise derives its name from its founder, Flora Mae Statler, who reportedly claimed that she would be “surprised if the city ever amounted to much.” Despite this inauspicious beginning, Surprise is now considered one of the best places to live in Arizona, especially for seniors. Located in Maricopa County about 30 miles from Phoenix, Surprise has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years. The 2000 census population of 30,848 has swelled to an estimated 126,275 as of 2014. This makes Surprise the second-fastest growing city in the Phoenix metro area, trailing only the city of Gilbert.
Surprise’s growth is primarily attributed to the influx of retirees who are attracted by the abundant Arizona sunshine and numerous retirement communities. Sun City Grand, a prominent resort-like retirement village designed and built by the well-known Del E. Webb Construction Co., is located in the Surprise area. Surprise Stadium is the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, making the city a popular destination for baseball fans from all over the United States during the spring.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.02
Property Crimes per 1,000: 17.08
Eager is one of the best places to live in Arizona for those who do not prefer the hot desert climate that dominates so much of the state. Located at the base of the picturesque White Mountains in northeastern Arizona at an elevation of 7,000 feet, Eager appeals to people who like to experience the summer, spring, fall and winter seasons. The low crime rate, laidback lifestyle and abundance of outdoor recreational activities makes Eager ideally suited for families and anyone who is looking to escape the big city. With a population of 5,000 residents, Eager offers a small-town vibe that so many people are striving for these days.
Eager derives its name from Thomas Eager, the homesteader who founded the town in the latter part of the 19th century. The name was changed to Union to symbolize the quest for unity among the numerous small settlements in the region. The name was then changed back to Eager when the city was incorporated in 1948. Eager and the neighboring town of Springerville are now referred to as Round Valley.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 4.85
Property Crimes per 1,000: 14.87
Snowflake and the neighboring town of Taylor are located in the beautiful White Mountains region of north central Arizona, about a two-hour drive from Flagstaff and a three-hour drive from the Phoenix metro area. The two towns feature a combined population of about 10,000 residents and have experienced steady growth in recent years. While one might think that Snowflake is named for its mountain location, it actually derives its name from its founders, Mormon pioneers Erastus Snow and Willian Jordon Flake. In fact, the Snowflake-Taylor region receives only about 15.2 inches of snow on average per year.
The Snowflake-Taylor area offers much in the way of outdoor recreational activities including hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing, making it an appealing place to live for those who prefer fresh air and a slower pace of life. Nearby attractions include the Petrified National Forest and the Painted Desert, both of which are located less than 50 miles to the north. The Navajo Indian Reservation is also within easy driving distance.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.50
Property Crimes per 1,000: 19.63
Buckeye offers easy access to the big city along with all the benefits of living in a smaller town, including low property and violent crime rates. Located 30 miles from Phoenix, Buckeye is the westernmost suburb of the Phoenix metro area. Open desert and towering mountain ranges lie immediately to the west of Buckeye. The city’s estimated 2014 population was 59,470, a substantial increase from the 2010 census figure of 50,876. However, this pales in comparison to the humongous growth between 2000 and 2010. At the start of the 21st century, Buckeye’s population was a scant 6,537 and increased by a whopping 678 percent in just 10 years.
Buckeye derives its name from its founder, Ohio native Malin M. Jackson. In the late 1880s, Jackson developed 10 miles of land around a waterway that he called the Buckeye Canal – with Ohio being known as The Buckeye State. He originally named the newly created town Sidney after his Ohio hometown, but soon changed it to Buckeye due to the importance of the canal to the town and surround area.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 0.20
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.99
If you are seeking to live in the safest city in Arizona in terms of the lack of violent crime, you will want to consider the small town of Thatcher. Located in Graham County in southeastern part of the state just a few miles to the north of Mt. Graham, Thatcher features an estimated population of just 5,000 residents. The surrounding area is largely rural, making Thatcher extremely appealing to those who prefer open spaces as opposed to big-city living.
As with many of the towns in this part of Arizona, Thatcher has Mormon roots. The town was founded in the late 18th century by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The first official settler was a Mormon named John M. Moody, who arrived in Thatcher in 1881 with his family. Today, Thatcher is the home of Eastern Arizona College, primarily a two-year college that also features a nursing school. The Gila Valley Arizona Temple, a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is also located in the Thatcher area.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.48
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.03
Peoria is a northern suburb of Phoenix. With an estimated 167,000 inhabitants, Peoria ranks as the ninth-largest city in Arizona in terms of population. Peoria also encompasses 178 square miles, making it the sixth-largest Arizona city in terms of land and water mass. While most of Peoria lies in the Salt River Valley, the northern portions extend into the surrounding mountains. In 2008, Peoria had the distinction of making Money magazine’s list of the Top 100 Places to Live in the United States.
Peoria was named for the city of Peoria, Illinois. In the late 1800s, several of what would become Peoria’s original settlers were recruited from Illinois to help establish a community near the newly constructed Arizona Canal. The construction of a spur line of the Santa, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad in Peoria near the end of the 19th century helped to fuel the town’s growth. These days, Peoria is rapidly becoming known as a resort and leisure community that attracts retirees from the nearby northeast valley, as well as from the colder climates in the U.S.
15. Lake Havasu City
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.66
Property Crimes per 1,000: 20.97
Lake Havasu City rests upon the eastern shore of Lake Havasu, a large reservoir on the Arizona-California border created by the construction of Parker Dam on the Colorado River. Unlike many Arizona cities that trace their roots to the Old West, Lake Havasu City offers a more recent history. The city started as an Army Air Corps rest camp during the World War II era. The subsequent acquisition of 13,000 acres of federal land surrounding Lake Havasu in the 1950s led to the further development of the city.
Today, Lake Havasu City boasts an estimated population of approximately 53,000 residents. A prominent feature in the area is the old London Bridge that spans a portion of the Colorado River. The bridge was purchased from the city of London in 1968 when it was removed to enable the construction of a new bridge. Lake Havasu City is a popular destination for college students on spring break due its abundance of beachfront resorts and other activities geared toward the university crowd. The city’s youthful vibe also makes it one of the best places to live for young adults.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.40
Property Crimes per 1,000: 21.48
Wickenburg lies about 65 miles to the northwest of Phoenix. Billing itself as an authentic Western town, Wickenburg takes pride in its rich culture and history. With its relatively remote location and small population of approximately 6,600 residents, Wickenburg ranks as one of the best cities to live in Arizona for those who are for a laidback lifestyle, while still having easy access to a major metropolitan area. When you come to Wickenburg, you can expect to find plenty of horses, hats, history and hospitality.
The Arizona gold rush of the mid-1860s provided the impetus for the founding of Wickenburg. A German prospector named Henry Wickenburg made the long journey from his homeland to Arizona in hopes of striking gold. Wickenburg’s efforts were successful: His Vulture Mine in the Vulture Mountains ultimately produced more than $30 million in gold. While the nearby town that sprung up during the gold rush bears Wickenburg’s name to this day, it wasn’t until the post-World War II era that the community was developed into a modern American town.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 1.85
Property Crimes per 1,000: 22.36
Although Chandler is technically a suburb of Phoenix, it is a large, thriving American city in its own right. Chandler’s estimated population of 254,276 makes it the fourth-largest city in Arizona and 78th largest in the United States. This represents a significant growth since the 2010 census, when the population was listed as 236,123. Thus, Chandler epitomizes the tremendous expansion that is prevalent throughout the Phoenix metro area.
Chandler has much to offer in terms of economic opportunity, making it one of the best places to live for millennials, young professionals and anyone else seeking career growth. Many major companies have headquarters and satellite campuses in the Chandler area, including Intel, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Verizon Wireless, to name a few. Much of the job growth has occurred along the so-called South Arizona Avenue Corridor, an area of the city spanning between Arizona Avenue and Gilbert Road. Since 2003, nearly 3,000 jobs have been created in this area alone.
18. Prescott Valley
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 2.20
Property Crimes per 1,000: 23.18
Prescott Valley is located in central Arizona about 90 miles due north of the Phoenix metro area. With an estimated population of about 42,000, Prescott Valley ranks as the 24th-largest city in Arizona. Prescott Valley’s elevation is approximately 5,100 feet above sea level, making it among the best cities in Arizona for those who prefer mountain living over the desert. Prescott National Forest, located just 10 minutes away, offers ample opportunities to participate in outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, boating and camping.
The discovery of gold along Lynx Creek in 1863 caused many people to flood to the Prescott Valley area. The region, which was formerly known as Lonesome Valley, was eventually settled by ranchers during the 1880s, who supplied beef to the miners and other settlers in the area. The 1890s saw the development of the first hydraulic gold mining operation in Lynx Creek Canyon, which was followed by a gold dredging operation in the 1930s. The modern Prescott Valley economy consists of a mixed bag of manufacturing, industrial, service and retail businesses.
19. Camp Verde
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 3.26
Property Crimes per 1,000: 26.69
Camp Verde is yet another rural, picturesque small town in Arizona that is also steeped in history and tradition. Located about 90 miles north of Phoenix near the historic Montezuma Castle National Monument and Fort Verde State Historic Park, Camp Verde is a favorite tourist destination. However, the small population of about 11,000 and beautiful mountain setting makes Camp Verde one of the best cities to live in Arizona for families and individuals who want to get away from it all.
Camp Verde is known for its numerous festivals held throughout the year. The Camp Verde Cornfest has been a popular annual summer event since 1991 and offers much in the way of food, music and family entertainment. Other yearly events that draw plenty of visitors include October’s Fort Verde Days, the June Crawdad Festival and the February Pecan, Wine and Antiques Festival.
Violent Crimes per 1,000: 3.61
Property Crimes per 1,000: 24.68
Payson is located in the virtual geographical center of the state, about 90 miles northeast of Phoenix. The drive from the Phoenix area to Payson along Route 87 is renowned for its scenic beauty. Payson is nestled between the Tonto National Forest and Mazatzal Wilderness area, making it the ideal spot for outdoorsmen. The Mogollon Rim, which forms the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau, is located just north of Payson and features many cold-water lakes that are popular fishing destinations.
Payson’s estimated population is 15,245, which actually represents a slight decrease from the 2010 census figure. Payson is known for its rural Western culture. A popular event is the annual Arizona State Championship Old Time Fiddlers Contest, which attracts prominent fiddle players from across the United States. Payson also stages multiple rodeo events each year. Doin’s Rodeo, which takes place every August, is known as the world’s oldest continuous rodeo. The Tonto Apache Indian Reservation sponsors the Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo each May.
Here are the remaining Arizona cities:
|22. St. Johns
|23. El Mirage
|26. Chino Valley
|28. Apache Junction
|31. Casa Grande
|33. Bullhead City
|44. South Tucson
Is it Safe Where You Live?
No matter where you live, feeling safe in your house and home will bring greater peace of mind for you and your family. Even if your city is on our list, Titan Alarm still recommends that you add extra security to your home with a monitored home security system from Titan Alarm. To learn more about home security services that we offer, give us a call 602-680-4567 or contact us today!
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Updated by Titan Alarm on November 5, 2018.