Arizona’s 10 Safest Cities of 2021

Arizona 2021 safest cities badge

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the seventh annual Safest Cities report. 

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in Arizona for 2021

1. Florence
2. Oro Valley
3. Gilbert
4. San Luis
5. Sahuarita
6. Surprise
7. Somerton
8. Lake Havasu City
9. Maricopa
10. Prescott Valley

See if your city made the full list.

It has come to our attention that the population of Florence may include a significant number of incarcerated individuals, which may help drive down the per capita crime rates. We appreciate these nuances and are considering their potential impact to future reports. See our methodology for more information about population data in our rankings.

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Nearly 50% of Arizona residents are highly concerned about their safety on a daily basis, and over half (54%) think The Grand Canyon State is a safe place to call home. For the residents of the 10 safest cities in Arizona, that feeling of safety is likely to be even higher.

This year we saw a continued drop in statewide crime rates, and personal experiences with crime remained stagnant or dropped year over year. But Arizona still reports a higher incidence of crime than most of the country.

2021 Arizona crime rates

Year over year, both violent and property crime rates dropped in Arizona. Violent crime incidents dipped from 4.7 per 1,000 people to 4.6, and property crime fell from 26.8 incidents per 1,000 to 24.4.

Regionally, Arizona has the third-highest violent crime rate after New Mexico (8.3) and Nevada (4.9). And it has the third-highest property crime rate behind New Mexico (31.1) and Colorado (25.9). Among all 50 states, Arizona has the tenth-highest violent crime rate and the fourteenth-highest property crime rate.

Arizona violent crime rate for 2021 is 4.6/1,000 and property crime rate is 24.4/1,000

Level of concern and experience with crime in Arizona

Even though crime rates are trending down, Arizona’s level of daily concern about safety jumped nine percentage points from 40% to 49%. Arizonans are also more concerned about every crime classification we asked about.

Arizona crime concerns and experience: 47% worry about crime every day, package theft is the most worrisome crime, and 8% have experienced a violent crime, 14% have experienced a property crime, and 7% have experienced gun violence in the past 12 months

Crime concerns in Arizona

We asked Arizona residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Arizonans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

What crimes Arizonans are most concerned with: 51% worry about violent crime, 52% worry about property crime, 45% worry about package theft, and 49% worry about gun violence

Violent Crime in Arizona: Fear vs. Reality

Arizona sees more violent crime than most of the US, but fewer Arizona survey respondents reported a personal experience with violent crime this year—8% compared to the national average of 10%. On some level, residents seem tuned in to those higher crime rates with more daily concern and more people taking proactive personal protection measures.

  • Every day, 51% of Arizonans worry about a violent crime happening to them—that’s 10 percentage points higher than the national average.
  • 8% of survey respondents reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the past 12 months—the same percentage as last year.
  • Murder makes up just 1.1% of all violent crime in the state (US 1.4%), but among the safest cities, it makes up 2.3% of all reported violent crimes.
  • Rape accounts for 18% of all violent crime in Arizona’s safest cities, 12% across the state, and 8% nationwide.
  • 42% of Arizona survey respondents use some form of personal protection like pepper spray (US 34%).
  • 44% say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (US 44%).
57% of Arizonans worry about gun violence daily, but mass shootings decreased year over year.

Attitudes about police and gun violence in Arizona

  • Gun violence stands out as the overall safety issue Arizonans are most worried about—57% are highly concerned about it every day, versus 53% nationwide.
  • Only 7% reported having a personal experience with gun violence in the past year, while 49% say they worry about gun violence happening to them. That’s 11 percentage points higher than the average number of Americans worried about gun violence every day.
  • Arizona saw six mass shootings in 2019 and four in 2020.
  • Officer-involved shootings increased this year, rising from 75 total incidents in 2019 to 99 in 2020.
  • 49% of survey participants say they have confidence in law enforcement, versus 56% nationwide.

Property Crime in Arizona: Fear vs. Reality

Arizona sees more property crime than most states, which makes it no surprise that property crime causes the most worry in The Grand Canyon State. Even though reports of personal experiences with property crime fell year over year, Arizonans are more proactive about home security than most Americans.

  • 14% of survey respondents reported having a personal experience with property crime in the past 12 months—that’s eight percentage points below last year.
  • 18% of Arizonans fell prey to porch pirates in the past 12 months, which lines up with higher larceny-theft rates statewide and among the safest cities.
  • Larceny-theft makes up 80.9% of all property crime reported in Arizona’s safest cities, 74.6% across the state, and 73.4% nationwide.
  • Burglary accounts for just 12% of all property crime among the safest cities, 16.2% in Arizona, and 16.1% across the US.
  • 72% of survey respondents use some form of property protection (US 62%), with security cameras and guard dogs used most often (35% each).
  • 32% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
Graph showing Arizona property crime trends between 2019-2021

A Closer Look at the Safest Cities in Arizona

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

  • 32 cities qualified to be ranked in Arizona this year. That’s less than in previous years, so we reduced our list to 10 cities instead of 20.
  • All of the safest cities have lower crime rates than the state, the Mountain region, and the US.
  • Florence is the number one safest city in Arizona for the second consecutive year.
  • 90% of the cities made our list for the second year in a row, with Somerton making its debut this year.
  • 3 cities improved in rank this year: Oro Valley, Gilbert, and Surprise.
  • 5 of the safest cities (50%) had fewer than 50 total violent crime incidents each.
  • 8 cities (80%) reported fewer than 100 total violent crime incidents each.
  • Only one city had zero murders: San Luis.
  • Gilbert and Surprise are the two most populous cities and reported nearly half (46.4%) of all violent crimes among the safest cities and 60.8% of all property crimes.
  • Florence is the only city to report fewer than 100 total property crimes.
Arizona state map showing where the safest cities of 2021 are

The 10 Safest Cities in Arizona

Florence, Arizona
#1
Florence
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    26,385
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $49,674
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.7, 1.3, 0.7
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.8, 4.9, 4.8
Oro Valley, Arizona
#2
Oro Valley
(
+1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    45,970
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $76,484
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    0.5, 0.4, 0.4
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    12.8, 13.6, 14.1
Gilbert, Arizona
#3
Gilbert
(
+1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    253,619
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $92,350
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.0, 0.9, 0.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    12.0, 13.2, 13.9
San Luis, Arizona
#4
San Luis
(
-2
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    34,192
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $34,122
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.0, 0.2, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    12.3, 14.3, 15.9
Sahuarita, Arizona
#5
Sahuarita
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    30,928
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $78,697
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.4, 1.3, 1.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    11.2, 11.6, 11.2
Surprise, Arizona
#6
Surprise
(
+1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    140,962
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $65,160
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.0, 1.2, 0.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    14.8, 15.4, 17.9
#7
Somerton
(
New
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    16,771
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $39,292
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.1, 1.2, 1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    7.7, 13.3, 10.6
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
#8
Lake Havasu City
(
-0-
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    55,413
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $51,187
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.6, 1.6, 2.2
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    12.1, 15.2, 21.6
Maricopa, Arizona
#9
Maricopa
(
-3
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    50,881
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $69,572
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    1.7, 1.9, 1.9
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    11.9, 10.0, 12.7
#10
Prescott Valley
(
-1
)
  • Circle Population
    Population
    46,700
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $50,881
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    2.0, 1.5, 2.0
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021, 2020, 2019
    10.1, 17.1, 21.4

How We Determined the Safest Cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. Learn more about your home security options—and find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems.

Didn't Find Your City in the Top 10?

We calculated crime rates for every city in the state that met our population threshold, based on the state’s median population. See how the remaining cities ranked in the list below.

NOTE: If you don’t see your city on the list, it means that it was below the population threshold or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI in 2019.

VC=Violent Crime PC=Property Crime

2021 Rank
City
Population
VC per 1000
PC per 1000
11Buckeye77,9041.416.2
12Marana48,8160.723.2
13Scottsdale260,4641.619.6
14Peoria174,5712.318.7
15Chandler259,8812.320.7
16Goodyear85,3052.024.0
17Sierra Vista44,3102.622.3
18Douglas15,7860.637.6
19El Mirage36,1852.327.1
20Mesa518,1603.818.7
21Nogales20,1122.030.2
22Prescott43,7814.915.6
23Yuma98,7693.823.3
24Casa Grande58,3664.722.9
25Glendale253,9513.431.8
26Bullhead City40,5323.233.4
27Avondale87,1172.935.5
28Flagstaff75,0134.931.6
29Kingman30,6003.343.9
30Tempe196,4994.537.8
31Tucson548,3746.932.7
32Phoenix1,688,7227.033.1

Find the Safest Cities in Each State

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Related Articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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  • Cooki

    I noticed that #8 of the Arizona’s safest cities is San Luis which is a city in Mexico. How did that happen. So is the actual Arizona city now in Mexico instead.