Safe and Dangerous Places in Tucson

Areas to Avoid Tucson


Settled in the southeastern corner of Arizona, Tucson is the second largest community in the Grand Canyon State. Tucson blends ancient culture with modern technology and wide expanses of national parks, dramatic mountain views and abundant wildlife. There is a host of entertainment opportunities, but Tucson also has one of the highest crime rates of cities its size, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is worth mentioning that there are certainly some areas to avoid in Tucson.

With a population of 486,591, the crime rate in Tucson is 10.07% compared to the national median of 4.7%. Violent offenses rate 1 in 99, while nonviolent crimes rate 1 in 10. Crime rates vary by neighborhood, with a higher concentration of criminal offenses reported in the southern part of the city and lower crime rates concentrated to the east and northwest. However, all is not lost. Although there are certainly dangerous places, Tucson boasts safe areas as well.

Top Five Safe Places in Tucson

1) With the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north and the Rincon Mountains to the east in Pima County, Tanque Verde reports a relatively low amount of crime, with 6 violent crimes and 94 nonviolent crimes last year. Settled by ranchers in the 1800s, this picturesque valley has become an affluent community, popular among equestrians, hikers and naturalists.

2) Settled near the heart of Butterfly Peak Natural Area, the Willow Canyon-Soldier Camp area of Tucson reported 11 violent offenses and 166 nonviolent offenses in 2009. The Willow Canyon-Soldier's Field area is one of the wealthiest districts in Tucson, characterized by rural surroundings and a relatively young, educated population. The wooded, mountainous area provides one of the top safe areas and is popular with hikers, cyclists, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.

3) The stunning, rugged peaks of the Coronado National Forest are a key attraction to the River Road and Sabino Canyon Road area. Primarily populated by urban sophisticates, this upper middle-income neighborhood reported 16 violent crimes and 334 incidents of nonviolent crime. The area's proximity to numerous natural areas makes it a popular tourist destination, with abundant picnic areas and guided tours.

4) The area between Speedway Boulevard and Houghton Road near Saguaro National Park reported 25 violent offenses and 484 reports of property and nonviolent offenses. Nearby, the Saguaro Wilderness Area, a nationally acclaimed desert park, is home to a dense forest of Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and the state's signature Saguaro cacti. The area is a favorite among hikers, photographers and naturalists.

Saguaro National Park; 520-733-5158; 7AM-sunset; $10 for cars and motorcycles, $5 for pedestrians and bicycles

5) The rural area from Valencia Road to Camino Verde is located on the lip of Santa Cruz Valley and is populated by relatively young, educated, middle-income residents. The area reported 51 violent crimes and 386 nonviolent offenses. Convenient to downtown and the Tucson International Airport, the area is noted for its easy commute. Residents enjoy proximity to the San Xavier Indian Reservation, the San Xavier Del Bac Mission and numerous parks for hiking, picnicking and nature observation.

San Xavier del Bac; 1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746; 520-294-2624; Mon-Fri 8:30AM-4:30PM

Top Five Areas to Avoid in Tucson

1) The urban area from Stone Avenue to Limberlost Drive ranked the highest in Tucson violent crimes, with a reported 149 incidents, and 1263 reported property crimes. According to Neighborhood Scout, a crime database, the chances of becoming a victim of crime in this area is 1 in 49. Due to high incidents of crime, the area is under increased scrutiny, according to Tucson Police Department.

2) South Tucson, located between Interstate 10 and South Second Street, reported 146 violent crimes and 701 incidents of property or nonviolent crime. The area is contained in a single neighborhood in the 85713 zip code. South Tucson is culturally diverse, and features many historic homes built before 1939. The area is among the lowest 15% in income in the U.S.

3) The relatively modern community near the Palo Verde Commerce Center at I-10 reported 141 violent crimes and 903 property crimes in 2009, which makes it one of the more dangerous places in Tucson. Bordered on the south by Valencia Road and bisected by E. Benson Highway in the zip codes 85706 and 85714, the area is a culturally diverse, lower middle-income community.

4) Tucson's downtown enclave from 29th Street to Swan Road, southeast of the University of Arizona, reported a relatively high crime rate, with 114 incidents of violent crime and 967 incidents of nonviolent crime. The zip code 85711 borders Freedom Park to the south and Tourney Park to the north. The area is an eclectic mix of ages, including singles, families with children and senior citizens.

5) The urban community located between E. 22nd Street and E. 36th Street and bisected by E. Aviation Highway reported 88 violent crimes and 659 property crimes. Young singles and families with children are the main demographic. This particular entry in the list of areas to avoid in Tucson includes Barrio Centro and Country Club Park, and borders Gene C. Reid Park to the north.

To combat and prevent crime, a battalion of pedestrian and bicycle patrols have been deployed in the downtown district to educate people about any Tucson dangers and provide a safe environment for students and the general public, according to Tucson Police Department Information Officer Chuck Rydzak. The patrols regularly canvas downtown, with concentration between 9PM and 1AM. "In order to avoid becoming a victim, be assertive," said FBI Special Agent S.E. Marshall. "Walk with shoulders back, head high. Be aware of your surroundings, and when possible, travel with another person or group of people." Special Agent Marshall also recommends stowing belongings out of sight, and making sure to lock your car and keep windows up whether parked or driving.

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