Is Albuquerque Safe To Visit?

is Albuquerque safe

If you only look at the statistics, Albuquerque is not a safe place to visit. It is consistently ranked on lists of most dangerous cities in the United States.

In 2020 it was ranked #9 of most dangerous cities, only coming ahead of cities like Stockton, Memphis and St. Louis and Detroit.

If you talk to residents of the city, you will get a different perspective, with many saying the city is not the ‘hell hole’ or ‘war zone’ the media portrays it to be.

Other have even said it is ‘completely safe’, save for certain ‘hot spots’ within the city.

Who are we to trust?

Lets further explore some metrics, maps and viewpoints to give you a better understanding of the safety of Albuquerque.

How much crime is there in Albuquerque?

Neighbourhood Scout awarded Albuquerque a score of 1 on the crime index, indicating that the city is highly unsafe. The index is on a scale of 1-100, with the latter being the safest.

To give some perspective on what this means, Albuquerque has a higher crime rate than 99% of the other cities in the state of New Mexico.

From 2018-2020, the total crimes against property, including motor vehicle theft, fraud, robbery, burglary, larceny, stolen property, and destruction, decreased noticeably.

However, the city still has the highest property crime rate in the nation, with around 73 per 1000 persons.

However, some crimes against persons increased over the same duration, including aggravated assaults and simple assaults.

The total number of aggravated assault cases in Albuquerque increased by 456 from 2019-2020, which is 4%.

Here are the crime stats report for 2019 and 2020:

Violent Crime 2019 2020 % Change
Aggravated Assault 5,397 5,635 +4.4%
Intimidation 425 393 -7.5%
Simple Assault 7,522 7,821 +3.9%
Justifiable Homicide 6 6 0%
Murder Non-Negligent 80 76 -5%
Negligent Manslaughter 8 2 -75%
Kidnapping/Abduction 577 543 -5.8%
Sex Offenses 951 775 -18%


Property Crime 2019 2020 % Change
Motor Vehicle Theft 5,690 5,213 -8.3%
Larceny/Theft Offenses 21,793 19,142 -12.1%
Burglary/Breaking and Entering 5,843 5,112 -12.5%
Destruction/Damage/Vandalism 10,131 10,010 -1.1%
Fraud 4,429 3,963 -10.5%
Robbery 1,752 1,454 -17%
Stolen Property 649 596 -8.1%

**All data is from the 2020 Albuquerque Police Crime Stats Report**

What is the murder rate in Albuquerque?

In July of 2021, KRQE reported that Albuquerque reached 73 homicides and were outpacing previous years by roughly 75%.

‘In the same time frame in 2020, there were only 40 homicides. In 2019, by the end of July, there were only 46 homicides.’

By August of 2021, KQRE reported that Albuquerque reached 80 homicides, which were more homicides than all of 2019

Moreover, 44 of the 63 cities in the Major Cities Chiefs Association saw an increase in homicides during early 2021, which suggests that the increase might be a general trend.

Worst Neighborhoods in Albuquerque

Albuquerque crime map

Rank Name Violent Crime (Per 100,000)

The difference from Nat. Avg.

1 Quigley Park 5,836 332%
2 La Mesa 4,472 231%
3 Montgomery Heights 4,179 209%
4 Jackson Area 4,053 200%
5 Kirtland Community 3,874 187%
6 Crestview Bluff 3,765 179%
7 Elder Homestead 3,623 168%
8 Enchanted Park 3,206 137%
9 Loma Del Rey 3,146 133%
10 Skyview West 3,128 131%

Quigley Park

Quigley Park is one of the worst neighborhoods in Albuquerque to live in. The area’s crime rates are 459% above the national average, and 132% higher than Albuquerque’s average.

La Mesa

Even by Albuquerque’s standards, La Mesa is one of the worst places to live. The neighborhood sports a crime rate that’s 127% higher than the average in Albuquerque, and La Mesa is notorious for violent crime.

Montgomery Heights

Montgomery Heights is a small neighborhood in Albuquerque with little more than 500 residents. However, while the area is cozy, it’s far from friendly. Residents of Montgomery Heights have a 1 in 7 chance of falling prey to a crime, and the violent crime rate is 1001% higher than the national average.

Jackson Area

High violent and property crime rates, inadequate housing opportunities, and terrible schools are some of the many reasons why Jackson Area is one of the worst neighbourhoods in Albuquerque.

Kirtland Community

To Kirtland Community’s credit, the area’s real estate prices are below Albuquerque’s average by 43%. So does that mean it’s a good place to shift to? Not quite.

Crestview Bluff

Crestview Bluff’s modest population of 1665 is far from friendly, with the neighborhood crime rates exceed Albuquerque’s average by a whopping 56%. Yet, despite the terrible crime rates, Crestview Bluff is located close to many amenities, and the cost of living is notably low.

The neighborhood’s unemployment rates are more than 25% less than the US average, but this positive point isn’t enough to redeem the area. In addition to the high crime rates, Crestview’s terrible schooling and meager graduation rates make it a poor choice for families.

Elder Homestead

With a great deal of nearby amenities to choose from, low cost of living, and average housing options, Elder Homestead is one of the less terrible neighborhoods on our list. So what drawbacks made it earn its place here?

Well, Homestead is an exceptionally unsafe neighborhood – residents have a 1 in 9 chance of becoming a victim. Moreover, the area has terrible schooling and low graduation rates. These factors make it one of the worst neighborhoods in Albuquerque.

Enchanted Park

With a serene name like “Enchanted Park,” it’s unfortunate that the neighborhood is one of the worst places to live in Albuquerque. The crime rates in the area are higher than Albuquerque’s average by 34%, and both the cost of living and rental prices are higher than the city’s average.

Loma Del Rey

With crime rates that are 91% higher than Albuquerque’s average, and many violent crimes, Loma Del Rey is one of the most unsafe neighborhoods to live in. In addition, rental prices in the area are 50% higher than the city average, and the cost of living is relatively high too.

Skyview West

Skyview West is another neighborhood with alarmingly high crime rates, exceeding Albuquerque’s average by a high 83%. In addition, while real estate prices in the area are notably low, rental prices are significantly higher than the city’s average

Skyview West’s list of problems doesn’t end here, though; the neighborhood also suffers from high unemployment and poor schooling. On the whole, this neighborhood couldn’t be any less family-friendly.

Is Downtown Albuquerque safe?

Downtown Albuquerque is one of the safest parts of the city, although many residents advise steering clear of Central Avenue.

To encourage tourism, Downtown Albuquerque is being revitalized, and the area is quite an attractive place.

Driving tour of Downtown Albuquerque

What do residents of Albuquerque say about it’s safety?

  1. I think the stuff in the media about property and auto theft is definitely true. That said, the thing about reading things online is that it’s always going to sound far worse than reality. The media selects people who have something out of the ordinary happen to them. Most people lead relatively boring lives and don’t really have anything to say and you never get those viewpoints. Albuquerque is not perfect, but it’s not the third world warzone some people like to portray it to be.
  2. People often say "Albuquerque is not that bad" and "every city has bad areas" and that’s either ignorance or blatant lying. We need to stop trying to downplay the serious crime problem here. Residents who think that crime isn’t bad need to start looking around them. Just drive around neighborhoods and look at how many homes have bars on their windows and security signs out front. That’s not normal! Homeowners don’t put bars up because it looks nice, they do it because there is a crime problem and the problem is so bad that its worth the cost of putting on bars. The crime is here and easy for anyone to see.
  3. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years and I’m pretty sure everything here has become worse. The stats are disturbing. And I’m convinced it’s even worse than that, because I don’t believe we’re getting honest numbers from the police and other authorities.
  4. Crime IS a problem as is the chronic shortage of police officers, neither of which is likely to be resolved in the near future.
  5. Yes, it is a pithole. I finally moved out of this sh*thole after growing up here. I’ve had cars stolen and broken into in every neighborhood I’ve lived. I even moved to a decent neighborhood (for Albuquerque) and it was still trash.
  6. They steal more cars in Albuquerque than anywhere I have ever lived.
  7. Albuquerque isn’t like it is in Breaking Bad. This town is mild to medium at worst. I been here 8 years and the worst crime I have experienced was my car being broken into and some hoodies being stolen
  8. I’m from ST. Louis, and this city is far from bad. The most prevalent crimes here are theft, vandalism, and gang on gang stuff.
  9. Auto theft/break-ins and property crime is quite bad in certain parts of the city. Outside the bad areas, you’d never know it to be different than any other sprawling western city. I have lived in places where I legitimately feared to leave my house at night, and during the day, made sure not to draw attention to myself. Albuquerque is nowhere near that.
  10. Albuquerque isn’t good when it comes to crime, but it ain’t Baltimore, Detroit or Flint.

Tips to stay safe while visiting Albuquerque

  • Lock your car and leave nothing of any value whatsoever in it. Check it regularly.
  • Car theft is a pretty big issue so please don’t park it in an unsavory area.
  • Just totally write off the area west of Eubank, east of San Mateo, and south Copper or Central. There are exceptions, but for the most part that area is known as the “War Zone”
  • Get to know the tougher areas of Albuquerque and limit your visits during daylight.
  • Doing anything alone at night is a huge thing to avoid if possible (this goes for MEN, too).
  • Keep a low profile. Make sure you are dressed in a way that doesn’t make you look like a walking wallet. Don’t be walk around and displaying any overt signs of wealth, like jewelry and watches.
  • The answer on the street is always “NO”. If you are ever offered a gift while walking, just ignore and keep moving forward.
  • Always maintain awareness of your surrounding, including who is in front of you and who is behind you.
  • Stay on major roads/streets, and act like you belong here. Don’t drift off into alleys and unlit areas.
  • The homeless will hit you up for money, cigarettes, drugs, just keep walking and don’t engage them.

Final thoughts on the safety of Albuquerque

After looking at the stats and making a considerable effort to factor in the opinions of the residents of the city, we’ve come to the conclusion that Albuquerque can be a safe place to visit if you understand the layout of the city, know which areas to avoid and use common sense along with street smarts.

One thing that everyone can agree upon is that there is a huge property crime issue in the city. Be super vigilant of your car and your belonings inside your car.

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Barstow, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Reno, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Slab City, St. Louis, Stockton

Mariska Lee

Mariska is a recovering attorney who gave up her professional job to discover new perspectives of life while traveling in a 2009 Ford Transit. She has been living the van life for 3 years and has not looked back since.

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