Is Phoenix Safe To Visit? Everything You Need To Know (Crime Rates And Crime Stats)


If you are thinking about visiting Phoenix and have some qualms about the safety of the city, we got you covered.

We are going to deep dive into the statistics, look at some maps, graphs and talk to the residents of the city to give you a better understanding of how safe Phoenix really is.

Is Phoenix Safe To Visit?

is phoenix safe

Phoenix is a slightly unsafe safe place to visit. In 2020, its violent crime rate of 849.37 per 100,000 people, was more than twice the national average and the highest its ever been in over 30 years. Phoenix’s violent crime rate is slightly above Los Angeles’ rate.

Phoenix’s Population

The population for the Phoenix in 2020 was 1,608,139

Phoenix Crime Stats

Here’s a breakdown of all the crimes in Phoenix for 2019 and 2020.

2019

2020

2019 vs 2020

Homicide

139

200

+43.88%

Rape

1,139

1,068

-6.23%

Robbery

3,197

3,278

+2.53%

Aggravated Assault

7,336

9,113

+24.22%

Total Violent Crime

11,811

13,659

+15.65%

Burglary

9,471

7,406

-21.80%

Theft-Larceny

39,427

36,254

-8.05%

Motor Vehicle Theft

7,076

7,429

+4.99%

Arson

201

297

+47.76%

Total Property Crime

55,974

51,089

-8.73%

*All data is from the FBI UCR

Phoenix Violent Crime Rate

In 2020 Phoenix reported 13,659 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 849.37 per 100,000 people.

  • Phoenix violent crime rate is the highest it has ever been in 30 years.
  • The national average for violent crime is 398.5 per 100,000 residents. Phoenix’s violent crime rate is 2.13x greater than the national average.
  • Arizona’s violent crime rate is 484.8 per 100,000. Phoenix’s violent crime rate is 1.75x greater than the state national average.
  • Phoenix has a similar violent crime rate to Newark, Tuscon and Los Angeles.

Here’s a map showing you how violent crime has trended in Phoenix over a 30 year period. Violent crime peaked in 1990 when there were 11,227 violent crimes reported and the city had a violent crime rate of 2259.23 per 100, 000 people.

phoenix violent crimes graph

*Violent crimes include; homicides, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults and the violent crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Phoenix Property Crime Rate

In 2020 Phoenix reported 51,089 property crimes and had a property crime rate of 3,176.9 per 100,000 people.

  • The national average for property crime is 1958.2 per 100,000 residents. Phoenix’s property crime rate is 1.6x greater the national average.
  • Arizona’s property crime rate is 2,227.7 per 100,000. Phoenix’s property crime rate is 1.4x greater than the state national average.
  • Property crime has decreased over 50% from it’s 30-year high in 1995.
  • Phoenix has a similar property crime rate to Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Dallas.

Here’s a map showing you how property crime has trended in Phoenix over a 30 year period. Property crime peaked in 1995 when there were 106,536 property crimes reported and the city had a property crime rate of 10,833.4 per 100, 000 people.

phoenix property crimes graph

**Property crimes include; arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are classified as property crimes. The property crime rate is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population; the result is multiplied by 100,000.

Phoenix Murder Stats

In 2020 Phoenix reported 200 homicides, which was a staggering 43% increase over 2019, where 139 homicides were reported.

  • In 2020 Phoenix had a murder rate of 12.44 per 100,000 residents.
  • The national murder rate is 6.5 per 100,000 people. Phoenix’s murder rate is 1.9x greater the national average.
  • As of August 22, 2021, there have been 112 homicides reported and is outpacing 2020’s number.
  • Phoenix has a similar murder rate as Las Vegas, Dallas and Albuquerque.

Here’s a map showing you how murder has trended in Phoenix over a 30 year period. Murders peaked in 2003 when there were 241 murders reported and the city had a murder rate of 17.3 per 100, 000 people.

phoenix murder graph

Phoenix vs The Most Dangerous Cities In The United States

Here’s a list of the top 17 most dangerous cities in the United States ranked by violent crime rates. Phoenix violent crime rate is 2.9x less than Memphis, the most dangerous city on the list.

phoenix vs the most dangerous cities in the us

*All data is from the 2020 FBI UCR

Most Dangerous Neighborhoods In Phoenix

Here’s a map showing you the most dangerous areas of Phoenix according to residents.

phoenix most dangerous areas

  • Central City South
  • Maryvale
  • Sunnyslope
  • I-17/Indian School Road
  • West Camelback Rd & N 19th Ave
  • 24th St/Van Buren
  • The Square
  • The CASS area in downtown
  • 23rd ave and Thomas
  • W Southern Ave & S 15th Ave
  • 19th Ave and Glendale

Phoenix Crime Hotspot Map

Here’s a map released by the Phoenix Police showing you areas where there are high concentrations of crime.

phoenix crime hotspot map

Totally Incorrect Judgment Map of Phoenix

Someone posted this map on Reddit. Not sure how true it is but a lot of the comments say it hits the nail on the head. Click on the map to zoom in

What do residents of Phoenix say about its safety

  1. "Like any other major city, Phoenix has good and bad areas. If you have any sense at all, you will know when you are in a bad area. Avoid those areas and you should be fine."
  2. "Stay out of Central City South, some cops refer to it as the ‘Dead Zone’."
  3. "A pretty reliable sign that you’re in a bad neighborhood- chain link fenced front yards."
  4. "Maryvale is also known as ‘Scaryvale’. The only other time I got nervous driving around at night was in downtown Detroit."
  5. "The area around I-17 and Indian School Road has the most concentration of crime."
  6. "I have lived in Phoenix for over six decades and I have always felt safe here. Just use common sense and learn where the rough areas are."
  7. "The area near the airport is the only place I’m weary of going to."
  8. "If it starts with a “number” & ends with “Ave, it’s probably a rough area.”
  9. "Anything south of downtown or south of the airport is pretty bad. There are boarded up and abandon houses every other block."
  10. "Most of South Phoenix is not a place you want to find yourself at night."
  11. "Avoid the Square (Greenway, Bell, 32nd St., Cave Creek). It’s a very crime-ridden area.

Is Downtown Phoenix Safe?

Downtown Phoenix is a generally safe area to visit. However there are pockets of downtown that you want to avoid. The further west and south you go, the sketchier it becomes.

A good rule of thumb for Downtown Phoenix is the further east you go from Central Ave. the better it gets, and the further west you go from Central Ave, the worse it gets. The further North you go from of Van Buren, the better and the further South, the worse.

Also the southern edge of downtown where the courthouses and state government offices are, is not a great neighborhood.

And just like any other major city, downtown has it’s share of homeless people. Just don’t engage with them and keep walking and you should be fine.

Tips to stay safe while visiting Phoenix

  • Research where the rough areas of the city area and avoid going to those places, especially at night.
  • Stay on well-lit streets, where there are people. Avoid desolate streets, avoid alleys and avoid dark corners.
  • Trust your inner voice and listen to your intuition. If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, leave the situation.
  • You do not owe strangers anything. If someone approaches you and makes you feel uncomfortable, it is your right to ignore them, walk away, or call for help. If you have to choose between safety and politeness safety wins.
  • Phoenix drivers are notorious for speeding and running yellow/red lights. Pause for 2 seconds when the light turns green to make sure no drivers are blasting through the intersection.

Is Phoenix safe at night? / Is it safe to visit alone?

Phoenix can be a safer place to visit if you study the layout of the city and avoid the problem areas and also follow the safety tips posted above. Safety is never guaranteed in a high crime city.

Final Thoughts

Phoenix is a slightly unsafe place to visit. Its crimes rates are elevated, however they are not alarming.

The layout of Phoenix is a patchwork of good and bad areas and its important that you figure out which areas to avoid when you visit.

Avoid Central City South, Maryvale, Sunnyslope and all the other areas mentioned above and you should be able to mitigate your chances of becoming a victim.

Other Cities You Might Be Interested In:

Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Baltimore, Barstow, Brooklyn, Bronx, Compton, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Fort Worth, Gary, Harlem, Houston, Indianapolis, Inglewood, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Reno, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Jose, Seattle, 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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