Safe and Dangerous Places in Phoenix

by Diana Hinojosa-DeLugan, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 14th 2010 02:26 PM

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Areas to Avoid Phoenix

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With green golf courses, excellent hiking, upscale spas, plenty of shopping and more, Phoenix is one of the best tourist destinations in the Southwest. As a savvy tourist who wants to ensure that your family's vacation is safe and enjoyable, you'll need to know about the safe places and areas to avoid in Phoenix before planning your trip to the Valley of the Sun. In doing so, you can have a safe and memorable visit!

Safe Places in Phoenix


Are you thinking about visiting Phoenix? Known as the Valley of the Sun and famous for its beautiful resorts, spas, and golf courses, Phoenix is a desert mecca that offers relaxation and year-round fun. With all the hoopla surrounding the alleged illegal immigrant crime spree, you may wonder whether Phoenix is a place that is safe to visit right now. Of course it is.

Crime is a factor in any city you visit. The Morgan Quitno survey ranks Phoenix as #10 in a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in the United States for populations of more than 500,000 based on 2003 data compiled by the FBI. Even so, Phoenix does not make the top 25 list of overall dangerous cities. If you are a savvy tourist armed with a little knowledge, you can easily visit the safe areas in Phoenix. Keep in mind that the data gathered for reporting crime varies, and it doesn't always give an accurate indication of what a city's crime index is at a specific given time. Statistics, however, do provide solid insight into the time frame upon which the report was generated. Here are a few crime facts and stats for you:

Like any other generally safe city, Phoenix has its good and not-so-good neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Scout website names the neighborhood with the lowest crime as the popular Parkview Estates in Deer Valley. It has a crime index of 91, with an index of 100 being the safest. Parkview is located off the intersection of Interstate 17 and the 101 Loop. It is a suburban area frequented by urban sophisticates. While there, you can take your family to Deer Valley Park or to the nearby Adobe Dam Recreation Area (23280 N. 43rd Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85310, (602) 506-2930).

Adobe Dam Hours: Daily 6AM-10PM

The neighborhood at Chandler Boulevard and Ray Road is the second place that is safe in Phoenix. With a low crime index rating of 90, this suburban area is reported among the top 15% of the wealthiest communities in America. When you visit, you will notice that the streets and public areas are well maintained and lit at night. You might want to check out the stores at the Ahwatukee Foothills Towne Center at Interstate 10 and Ray Road, if you love to shop.

Coming in third with a crime index of 87, the neighborhood of Vista del Cerro and Firebrand Ranch, nestled south of South Mountain Park, is another excellent place to visit. Easily accessible from Interstate 10, this neighborhood is a great choice for the travelling golfer. The Foothills Golf Club (2201 East Clubhouse Drive, (480) 460-4653) and the Club West Golf Club (16400 S. 14th Avenue, (480) 460-4400) are a stone's throw away. Outdoor enthusiasts won't want to miss South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the US with 16,000 acres of land that includes 51 miles of horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking trails.

The Equestrian Trails Neighborhood abutting Ahwatukee off Interstate 10 is one of the safe areas in Phoenix and ranks as number four on our list. With a crime index of 85 out of a possible 100 according to Neighborhood Scout, it is in the same general vicinity as the Awhatukee Country Club (12432 S. 48th Street, (480) 893-1161). If hiking or just being outdoors is your idea of a great vacation, then you may wish to visit the nearby South Mountain Park. Families can take the kids to Mountain Vista Park (13647 S. 50th Street, (602) 262-6111) to splash in the Splash Pad Play Area. Both parks offer some amazing vistas, especially at sunrise and sunset, so don't forget your camera.

Mountain Vista Park Hours: Daily 5:30AM-11PM

If you prefer a more urban area, then visit the neighborhood located at Camelback and 44th Street. With a crime index of 79, it ranks as Phoenix's fifth safest. Located near the famous landmarks of Phoenix, Camelback Mountain (5700 N. Echo Canyon Parkway, (602) 256-3220) and the Praying Monk, it is centrally located for shopping, hiking, or visiting the nearby tourist attractions in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale that include upscale shopping, a multitude of galleries and spring training for the San Francisco Giants.


Areas to Avoid in Phoenix


Just as important as knowing the safe areas in Phoenix is knowing the dangerous places as you plan your travels around town. The City of Phoenix Police Department's Crime Analysis and Research Unit's (CARU) June 2010 report provides data for both violent crimes and property crimes. Property crimes include arson, theft/larceny, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. While violent crimes include, murder, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault. In the first six months of 2010, larceny crimes topped the property crime list at 15,967 crimes, followed by burglary with 6,158 incidents, and 3,232 motor vehicle thefts. Violent crimes included 45 criminal homicides, 207 forcible rapes, 1,266 robberies, and 1,722 aggravated assaults.

Based on the June 2010 CARU report, the highest property crime area is in the Alhambra district. The majority of crimes occurred between 19th and 7th Avenues, and the area extends to about one-half mile on both sides of West Bethany Home Road. Interestingly, just two miles south of Bethany Home Road to Indian School Road, between 19th and 27th Avenues, is the highest density of reported violent crimes. This does include the area near Christown Spectrum Mall (1703 W. Bethany Home Road, (602) 249-0670) and Solano Park. If you travel there, just be vigilant.

A second area of concern is the West Phoenix area. CARU reports that just west of 51st Avenue, extending about one-half mile on both sides of West Indian School Road, is another major hot spot for both property and violent crimes. If you continue to travel west on Indian School between 67th and 83rd Avenues, it remains a high violent crime area. If you are visiting this area or any of the other areas to avoid in Phoenix, be aware of your surroundings; it can go a long way to promoting your safety.

West Phoenix, roughly between Indian School Road and I-10 tends to rank very high in the number of crimes that are reported. Gang activity is one reason for this. This area leads in the number of violent crimes reported. Homicide and aggravated assault are major threats that make this neighborhood one of the scary places in Phoenix. In 2009, CARU reported a total of 8,732 violent crimes for the city.

If you are going to travel frequently in the inner city, you'll want to keep an eye out for the Central City area of town, especially Thomas Road. There is a smattering of violent crime hot spots as you travel eastbound on Thomas Road starting near the Interstate 17 intersection, followed by the 7th Avenue intersection (near Encanto Park), and then between 32nd and 40th Avenues. When unsure, just stay clear.

The last of our dangerous places in Phoenix is the area around East Roosevelt Street and East Van Buren Street near Interstate 10. CARU numbers suggest that this area northeast of downtown is unsafe because of the aggravated assaults and rapes that take place there.

Overall, Phoenix is a safe city and really is a great place to visit. The Phoenix Police Department is highly responsive, and the residents are friendly. Don't let sensationalized news reports steer you away from taking your vacation in the Valley of the Sun, just try to stay within the safe areas. If you need the Phoenix Police, the non-emergency crime reporting phone number is (602) 262-6151.

Important Tip: If you are traveling to Phoenix with minors, you also need to know that Phoenix has a curfew. Parents whose teens violate curfew, may be held responsible (with some limited exceptions) pursuant to Phoenix City Code, Chapter 22. If you have a minor between 16 and 18 years old, the teen cannot be unsupervised between the hours of midnight and 5am. Minors under 16 must have parental supervision between 10PM and 5AM. At the city's website, the full text of Phoenix's curfew ordinance is available.

Now that you are armed with the facts, see you in Phoenix! Remember the safe and dangerous places in Phoenix, and you'll have a vacation of a lifetime.

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