10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Mexico 2024: The Dark Side of the Southwest

New Mexico - Most unsafe cities you should avoid living in if you have a family

In New Mexico, one typically associates it with the possibility of encountering UFOs in Roswell and scorching temperatures, but what many don’t realize is that there are some locations in the state that pose a different kind of danger.

Indeed, New Mexico is home to some hazardous areas. The reasons vary, from issues related to illegal immigration, to the need for improved employment opportunities with competitive wages, or just people being people. Regardless of the rationale, the data provides a clear picture.

So, how did we decide on the most unsafe places in New Mexico? We turned to the numbers. We evaluated data from 22 cities, using the FBI’s most recent crime report as a source for statistics on violent crime and property crime for all locations with a population over 5,000.

Our findings revealed a few notable points. Firstly, New Mexico residents might not find these results too surprising, considering the state ranks as the second most dangerous in the U.S. Secondly, New Mexico’s violent crime and property crime rates have surpassed the national average, unfortunately not in a good way. Lastly, it would be beneficial to consider our list prior to making any life-altering decisions.

Intrigued? Interested in understanding our process and identifying the most dangerous places in New Mexico? Read on.

10 Most Unsafe Cities For 2024

Rank City Population Violent Crimes Per Capita Property Crimes Per Capita
1 Gallup 21,935 1,992 6,368
2 Belen 7,094 2,029 5,243
3 Deming 14,011 963 5,153
4 Los Lunas 15,929 1,286 4,074
5 Roswell 47,533 849 3,772
6 Clovis 38,734 673 3,805
7 Artesia 12,366 525 3,040
8 Las Cruces 103,520 496 3,580
9 Taos 5,963 318 5,316
10 Bernalillo 10,353 821 2,240

With 146 law enforcement agencies and nearly 5,000 police officers in the state, not every area can be covered adequately. Consequently, larger cities such as Albuquerque and Santa Fe are beginning to feel the impact. However, the area suffering the most is Gallup, deemed New Mexico’s most dangerous place.

The places on our list of New Mexico’s most dangerous locations could certainly use some support. If you’re considering being a positive influence in a challenging area, or you’re just curious to see if your city is included, take a look at our list below. If you don’t find your city there, continue to the end of the page.

10. Belen

Source: twitter.com

Belen, Spanish for Bethlehem, doesn’t exactly live up to its peaceful namesake. Despite a population of only 7,094, Belen struggles with a crime rate 188% higher than the national average. This means residents have a 1 in 49 chance of being victims of serious crimes like murder, rape, robbery, or aggravated assault, and a 1 in 19 chance of being victims of property crime. Consequently, Belen ranks among the most dangerous cities in New Mexico for 2022, as well as being on the list of the state’s worst places to live.

Belen may have a rich history in the Rio Grande Valley, but its current safety levels leave much to be desired.

  • Population: 7,094
  • Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,029
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,243

9. Gallup

Situated in the northwest corner of New Mexico, Gallup is renowned for being mentioned in the song “Route 66.” However, Gallup has recently gained notoriety for ranking highest in property crime and second highest in violent crime, making it the most dangerous city in New Mexico for 2022. This notorious statistic may contribute to Gallup’s reputation as one of the state’s worst places to live.

With a population of 21,935, Gallup recorded 437 violent crimes, mostly aggravated assaults, and 987 instances of personal property crime. Travelers taking a detour through Gallup via Route 66 should beware of suspicious characters and safeguard their possessions.

  • Population: 21,935
  • Rank Last Year: 1
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,992
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,368

8. Deming

When Deming was established, it was nicknamed “New Chicago” due to its prime location at a major railway intersection. Residents expected Deming to flourish into a large, bustling city, mirroring Chicago. Although Deming didn’t experience the anticipated growth, it, unfortunately, shares one aspect with the Windy City—crime.

Deming has been among the worst places to live in New Mexico for several years. With its residents facing a 1 in 19 chance of experiencing a property crime and the city ranking fourth highest for violent crime, it’s no surprise that Deming is considered one of New Mexico’s most dangerous cities for 2022.

  • Population: 14,011
  • Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 963
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,153

7. Bernalillo

Source: zillow.com

Despite its reputation for local vineyards, Bernalillo has its dark side. Ranking among New Mexico’s most dangerous cities in 2022, the city has risen 10 places since last year. Among the town’s population of 10,353, there is a 1 in 121 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime, primarily aggravated assault. Bernalillo not only features on this list, but it also ranks among the worst and most expensive places to live in New Mexico.

Bernalillo is situated in the Sandia Mountains and along the banks of the Rio Grande River.

  • Population: 10,353
  • Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 821
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,240

6. Taos

Taos, situated in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains in Northern New Mexico, offers an artistic environment but struggles with safety. Residents here face a 1 in 18 chance of becoming a victim of property crime—a high risk for a town with just 5,963 inhabitants. The good news is that crime rates have decreased three places from last year.

Taos is one of New Mexico’s most diverse cities. However, it ranks ninth on the list of the state’s most dangerous cities in 2022. Anyone considering relocating or retiring here for the clean air and magical light should be aware that it also ranks among the worst places to live in New Mexico.

  • Population: 5,963
  • Rank Last Year: 6
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 318
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,316

5. Las Cruces

Home to New Mexico State University, Las Cruces is the state’s second-largest city. Residents here face a 1 in 201 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 27 chance of becoming a property crime victim.

As one of the fastest-growing cities and a hotspot for singles in New Mexico, Las Cruces is also one of the state’s priciest places to live. Perhaps this explains why crime rates have increased seven places from last year. Residents should remain vigilant and keep their belongings secure.

  • Population: 103,520
  • Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 496
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,580

4. Artesia

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Strolling down Main Street in Artesia requires caution. The town ranks ninth for both violent and property crime. Although down 7 places from the previous year, Artesia’s residents have a 1 in 32 chance of falling prey to property crime and a 1 in 190 chance of becoming a violent crime victim. Given the town’s small population of 12,366, these statistics are distressing.

Named after the artesian springs in the area, Artesia is positioned between Roswell to the north and Carlsbad to the south. Interestingly, despite these alarming numbers, it also ranks among New Mexico’s best places to live.

  • Population: 12,366
  • Rank Last Year: –
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 525
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,040

3. Clovis

Despite being one of New Mexico’s most diverse cities, Clovis struggles with safety issues and ranks among the state’s most dangerous. Situated close to the Texas border, the city is named after the ancient inhabitants believed to have crossed the Bering Strait in pursuit of migrating mammoths.

While Clovis might be an excellent place for single people, it disturbingly ranks first for rapes and tenth for murders statewide. However, residents can find solace in the fact that Clovis’s rank on this list has dropped six places from last year.

  • Population: 38,734
  • Rank Last Year: –
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 673
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,805

2. Roswell

Source: history.com

Notorious for the UFO incident of 1947, Roswell has earned a reputation as one of New Mexico’s most dangerous cities in 2024. It serves as the county seat of Chaves County and hosts Eastern New Mexico University. As a Roswell resident, there is a high probability that someone has attempted to steal your personal property, with larceny rates standing at 1,362.

Sadly, Roswell isn’t just featured on this list but also appears on the list of New Mexico’s worst places to live. With figures rising four places since the previous year, the situation appears dismal for both Roswell’s residents and its rumored extraterrestrial inhabitants.

  • Population: 47,533
  • Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 4)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 849
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,772

There are many dangerous states and cities in the U.S. and Mexico, you should be informed about this information before moving, so you can keep your family, property and yourself safe.

1. Los Lunas

Los Lunas
Source: acommunitythatworks.com

With a rapid growth rate, Los Lunas, a city in New Mexico, has become a hotbed of risk, rising to become one of the state’s most dangerous cities in 2024, one place up from the previous year.

Located just 19 miles from Albuquerque, Los Lunas was established by the Luna family, its original settlers. Modern-day residents face a 1 in 24 chance of becoming a property crime victim and a 1 in 77 chance of falling victim to violent crimes like rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Despite these alarming figures, Los Lunas, being part of the expanding Albuquerque metropolitan area, stands as one of New Mexico’s wealthiest cities.

  • If you want to read more articles on New Mexico check here.

Affluent individuals residing in this city should be particularly vigilant about their possessions.

  • Population: 15,929
  • Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,286
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,074

Turnaround – Safest Cities in New Mexico

  1. Grants (Pop. 8,937)
  2. Alamogordo (Pop. 31,832)
  3. Truth or Consequences (Pop. 5,791)
  4. Sunland Park (Pop. 18,103)
  5. Edgewood (Pop. 6,161)
  6. Lovington (Pop. 11,322)
  7. Anthony (Pop. 9,284)
  8. Rio Rancho (Pop. 99,359)
  9. Raton (Pop. 5,939)
  10. Corrales (Pop. 8,715)


Which city in New Mexico has the highest crime rate?

Gallup, with a population of 21,935, ranks highest in New Mexico’s crime rate statistics. It’s especially notorious for property crimes, with a rate of 6,368 per 100,000 inhabitants. It also ranks second in violent crimes, with a rate of 1,992 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Which city is the second most dangerous in New Mexico?

The second most dangerous city in New Mexico is Belen. Despite its relatively small population of 7,094, Belen faces a high crime rate, particularly in violent crimes (2,029 per 100,000 inhabitants) and property crimes (5,243 per 100,000 inhabitants).

Which city ranks highest for violent crimes in New Mexico?

Belen ranks the highest in violent crimes with 2,029 incidents per 100,000 people. Violent crimes include offenses like murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Despite the overall crime rates, are there safer cities in New Mexico?

A: Yes, despite the high crime rates in some cities, there are safer locations within New Mexico. Cities such as Grants, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences, Sunland Park, Edgewood, Lovington, Anthony, Rio Rancho, Raton, and Corrales have been identified as some of the safest in the state.

Which city in New Mexico has seen the most significant increase in crime over the past year?

Bernalillo has seen a significant increase in crime over the past year. The city has risen ten places in the ranking, making it one of the most dangerous cities

Is Albuquerque, NM a dangerous city?

The city has been dealing with higher than average rates of both property crime and violent crime compared to the national average.

Violent crime rates include offenses such as armed robbery, aggravated assault, rape, and murder. Property crimes involve burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. Albuquerque’s high crime rates have been a topic of concern for residents, city officials, and law enforcement alike.

However, crime rates can vary significantly within the city, with some neighborhoods being safer than others. It’s also worth noting that the city has been making efforts to address these issues, through measures like increasing the police force, investing in community programs, and working to tackle underlying social issues.


New Mexico faces significant challenges in terms of crime rates, with the state ranking as the second most dangerous in the U.S. Cities such as Gallup, Belen, and Roswell have particularly high crime rates, while Albuquerque struggles with above-average rates as well.

However, it’s important to remember that crime levels can vary within cities and neighborhoods. Taking necessary precautions, staying informed about local crime trends, and supporting efforts to address these challenges can contribute to creating safer communities in the state.

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