Today at Movoto Real Estate, we are heading to The Grand Canyon State in order to uncover just which places within its borders are the safest. We've done the same for states like Michigan, Florida, and New York to name a few, but perhaps not yet for a state so very diverse. Its cities and towns are as varied as its natural wonders, from those who love spice, to those are saintly nice. The state is known for its conservative policies and traditional values, overall; but just how safe does that make it?
Well, according to our analysis, pretty darn safe-at least in the 10 places below. But the winner of them all? That honor goes to Sahuarita, with a total of just 385 crimes. But more on that in a moment; for now, here the 10 safest places in the state:
1. Town of Sahuarita2. Town of Oro Valley3. Town of Gilbert4. Town of Florence5. Town of Paradise Valley6. City of Somerton7. City of San Luis8. City of Maricopa9. City of Surprise10. Lake Havasu City
Surprised to see Sahuarita at the top? And just how safe is Paradise (Valley)? Keep on reading because in the following paragraphs, we'll go over the method behind our analysis and just why each of these places made it to the top. Then, we'll tell you which places won the honor of falling to the very bottom, as the very most dangerous.
How We Did It
We didn't earn a reputation as Saturday Night Scientists for simply coming up with lists off the tops of our heads; no, at Movoto, we rely on facts and figures. So in creating our safest cities lists, we went straight to the top to get our data: the FBI. In this case, we used the FBI's latest crime report for Arizona, 2012, and gathered the information for all of the places with a population of 10,000 or above. This left 42 places. From there, we looked at each place in terms of these three criteria:
- Violent crime (rape, murder, and assault)
- Property crime (theft, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts)
- The chance a resident will be a victim of crime
For violent crime and property crime, we calculated the number of transgressions per resident. We used the total number of crimes in the city or town, in order to determine a resident's chances of being the victim of a crime. Then, we ranked each place from one to 42 across the three criteria. The lower the number, the better the score.
In order to account for the differences in crime severity (i.e., stealing a lollypop is not exactly the same as holding up a convenient store), we weighted each criteria differently, placing a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime, and then the chance a resident might be the victim of a crime. Violent crime made up 50 percent of our ranking, property crime made up 30 percent, and a resident's chances of being the victim of a crime made up 20 percent.
All told, there were 210,445 total crimes committed in 2012 across all of the places in our study, meaning that the Arizona residents in our study had a one in 23 chance of being the victim of a crime overall. The good news is, of those 210,445 crimes, 188,566, or 90 percent, were non-violent property crimes, leaving just 21,879 violent crimes total.
Now that you know how we got this list, let's take a closer look at our top 10, starting with our safest place, the Town of Sahuarita.
1. Town of Sahuarita
Source: Wikipedia user Brian Basgen
Located in Pima County, this town of 25,736 residents made our list primarily for its impressively low number of violent crimes: just 11 for all of 2012. With this town's population size, that means that residents only had a one in 2,340 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
Sahuarita surely shined with its lack of violence, but it was no slouch when it came to property crime either, with just 385 total. Of those 385 property crimes, the majority (311) were cases of larceny, followed by 49 burglaries, and 14 motor vehicle thefts. All told, residents in Sahuarita had a one in 69 chance of being the victim of a crime.
2. Town of Oro Valley
Source: Wikipedia user Djmaschek
Another Pima County town, Oro Valley made our list for its low number of violent crimes. With a population of 41,786, residents in Oro Valley had just a one in 1,990 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, with a total of just 21 in 2012. Of those 21 violent crimes, there was one case of murder, four forcible rapes, three robberies, and thirteen aggravated assaults. This may not sound so nice spelled out like this, but to put that into perspective for you, let's take a look at a similarly-sized place, Prescott. Here, there were 2 murders, 14 forcible rapes, 19 robberies, and 133 aggravated assaults-and its population is actually about 1,000 people less!
It's no wonder Oro Valley was at the top of our list.
3. Town of Gilbert
Source: Wikipedia user Tony the Marine (talk)
This isn't the first time we've visited this town in Maricopa County at Movoto. Not only was Gilbert our No. 2 best city in the state; it was also the second most saintly city in all of the U.S., largely because of its low rate of theft.
With a population of 215,264, Gilbert was easily the largest place in our top 10, and yet, there were only a total of 3,591 crimes in 2012 (205 violent, 3,386 property crimes). This may sound like a lot, but proportionally, it is not. In fact, residents only had a one in 60 chance of being the victim of a crime, and just a one in 1,045 chance of being the victim of a violent crime! No wonder Gilbert is so saintly.
4. Town of Florence
Source: Wikipedia user Shereth
Florence may be the home to three state prisons, one of which is the oldest in Arizona, but according to our analysis, it is also one of the safest places in the state. This hub of Pinal County has a population of 25,795, and in 2012, saw a total of just 253 crimes. Of those, a vast majority, 224, were property crimes, and just 29 were violent.
To break that down even further for you, of the 224 property crimes, 169 were cases of larceny, 47 burglary, and eight were motor vehicle theft. Of the violent crimes, there were 28 aggravated assaults and one robbery-which, good news, means no reports of rape or murder.
5. Town of Paradise Valley
Source: Flickr user Wickerfurniture
This affluent town in Maricopa Valley has graced the pages of Movoto once before, as the fifth best city in the state, largely due to its lack of crime.
With a population of just 13,177, it may be no surprise that Paradise Valley saw a lower number of overall crimes (just 265 total), but the crazy low violent crime rate here may shock even residents. With a total of nine violent crimes in 2012, residents in Paradise Valley had just a one in 1,464 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, and a one in 52 chance of being the victim of a crime overall.
To put that into perspective for you, just look at the similarly-sized city of Coolidge. Here, there were a total of 726 crimes for the year, 70 of which were violent, giving residents a one in 17 chance of being the victim of a crime, and a one in 174 chance of being the victim of a violent one. Which odds would you prefer?
6. City of Somerton
Source: Wikipedia user Jesse Shapins
This Yuma Valley city of just 14,687 came in at No. 6 on our list primarily for its overall low chance of being the victim of a crime; just one in 61. That's because with its population size, Somerton only saw 18 violent crimes and 224 property crimes, for a total of 242 overall. Of those violent crimes, all 18 were cases of aggravated assault, making Somerton the least. harmful, for want of a better word, in our list. Of the 224 property crimes, the majority, 64 percent, were cases of larceny, 31 percent were cases of burglary, and the rest were motor vehicle theft.
7. City of San Luis
Source: Flickr user Ken Lund
Another gem of Yuma County, the City of San Luis came in high in our analysis for its low chance of being the victim of a violent crime; just one in 971. That's because with a population of 28,168, San Luis only saw 29 violent crimes in 2012, the majority of which were cases of aggravated assault.
Aside from the 29 violent crimes, there were also 582 reports of non-violent property crimes, including 352 cases of larceny, 158 burglaries, and 72 motor vehicle thefts. So while residents did have a one in 48 chance of being the victim of a property crime, they at least seem to be safe from harm in San Luis, which we felt was the greater priority by far.
8. City of Maricopa
Source: Google Maps
This city in the Gila River Valley did well in our analysis for its residents' low chance of being the victim of a crime. That's because this city of 44,881 saw just 902 total crimes in 2012, only 58 of which were violent, giving residents just a one in 50 chance of being the victim of a crime, a one in 53 chance of being the victim of a property crime, and a one in 774 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
To put this into perspective for you, consider some of our least safe cities, like Kingman and Coolidge, where residents have a one in 15 and one in 17 chance of being the victim of a crime respectively.
9. City of Surprise
Source: Wikipedia user Venske
Residents in this Maricopa County city were probably not too surprised to see that it made our list; in fact, it's not even the first time we've mentioned Surprise in one of our posts. Largely due to its safe streets, it was also featured as our No. 6 best city in Arizona.
Just how safe is it? Well, in 2012, Surprise only saw a total of 2,650 crimes, which may sound like a lot, but considering the population size of 120,793, it's really quite low. In fact, residents in Surprise only had a one in 46 chance of being the victim of a crime, and just a 1 in 746 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, with its total of three murders, eight forcible rapes, 62 robberies, and 89 aggravated assaults in 2012.
10. Lake Havasu City
Source: Wikipedia user Nor56Ubr6
Unlike the last place on our list, it may come as something of a surprise that Lake Havasu City, widely known as one of the wildest Spring Break destinations in the U.S., is also one of the safest. In 2012, Lake Havasu City only saw a total of 1,414 crimes, with the city's population of 53,513, this meant that residents had a one in 38 chance of being the victim of a crime. This, in itself, is not terribly low; but where Lake Havasu really proved itself was in its low violent crime rate, 58 in 2012, giving residents just a one in 923 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
The Bottom Of The List
As promised, now that we've shown you the 10 safest places in Arizona, we're going to show you those few at the bottom of our list: the most dangerous places in the state.
The third most dangerous place in Arizona was the city of Glendale. With a population of nearly 233,000, it's no surprise that there is more crime here, but proportionally, Glendale is still dangerous. In 2012, for example, Glendale saw a total of 16,079 crimes, 1,145 of which were violent, and of those, 12 were murders.
The second most dangerous place, Show Low, saw a total of just 656 crimes, but its population is just 10,773. That means that residents in Show Low had a one in 16 chance of being the victim of a crime.
Finally, with the honor of being the most dangerous place in Arizona, Tucson had a total of 36,791 crimes in 2012, which is high even for its population of 531,535. This means that residents had a one in 14 chance of being the victim of a crime, and scarier still, just a one in 138 chance of being the victim of a violent crime.
The good news is, these numbers don't reflect all of Arizona; and in fact, as we've seen in our analysis, some places in the state are veritable safe havens-especially compared to Tucson.
Featured Image Source: Flickr user dhilung