Mesa Ranks Among Top 10 Safest U.S. Cities, Forbes Finds; Not Safest in Valley, Though -- See Our Top 10 for Valley Crime Rates

Mesa ranks seventh in the top 10 safest U.S. cities, says a recent data-crunch by Forbes magazine.

"I think it definitely goes against the stereotype," Mesa Mayor Scott Smith told Channel 3 News (KTVK-TV) in the station's blurb on the report this morning, adding that some people think incorrectly that Mesa is the "Wild West."

From the local perspective, though, Mesa doesn't really fly against the stereotype. It's one of the most unsafe cities in the East Valley, with gobs more violent crime than Gilbert or Scottsdale.

And, using 2010 figures as the Forbes study did, Mesa's the eighth worst for bad crime among the Valley's 10 largest cities.

Forbes cut-off population of 250,000 did wonders for Mesa's nationwide ranking.

We opened the calculator app on the desktop this morning and created a Valley Top 10 Safest Cities. It's based the simple division of the 2010 violent crime numbers into each city's stated population on the FBI's site. This gives the number of residents for each violent crime.

By that measure, Mesa had one violent crime per 253 residents in 2010. Only Phoenix and Glendale performed worse.

Mesa's more-affluent northern neighbor, Scottsdale, (which missed the 250,000 cut-off by 20,000 people), has a vastly better rate of one violent crime per 653 people. Gilbert nearly leaps off the chart of relative safety with one violent crime per 1,050 people, even though it has a substantial population of more than 215,000.

At the bottom was Phoenix, with one violent crime per 193 people, and Tempe, with one per 222.

Here's out Top 10 based on those calculations:

1. Gilbert

2. Surprise

3. Scottsdale

4. Peoria

5. Avondale

6. Chandler

7. Glendale

8. Mesa

9. Tempe

10. Phoenix

Just for kicks, we figured the ratio for Apache Junction (1 per 307), Paradise Valley (1 per 1,338), El Mirage (1 per 290) and South Tucson (1 per 39).

We'd take Mesa over South Tucson any day.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern