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Is Albuquerque Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Is Albuquerque Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Concerns

Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city and becoming an increasingly popular city for people looking to relocate, as well as with tourists. Just over 6 million people visit Albuquerque each year.

Albuquerque is a great jumping-off point to learn about New Mexico’s interesting history by visiting the Old Town and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which teach visitors about the area’s Native American and Spanish Colonial history.

Albuquerque is one of the cultural hubs of the Southwest, with amazing museums such as the Albuquerque Museum and quirky choices such as the Turquoise Museum.

If you time your visit right, you can even catch the high-flying International Balloon Fiesta. There’s so much to do in Albuquerque, especially if you are a hot-air balloon aficionado.

However, the city also has a bit of a reputation for being unsafe. But don’t worry — we’re here to help.

If you are unsure about how to visit Albuquerque responsibly, you’re in the right place; we’ll help you figure out if the city is a safe place to visit or if you should take any precautions. Let us be your guide!

Is Albuquerque Safe to Visit in 2024?

Many colorful hot air balloons over Albuquerque for a guide to whether or not the city is safe to visit

Albuquerque, New Mexico – USA – Oct 8, 2013: Balloon Flight at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico/gmeland/Shutterstock

Visitors and new residents of Albuquerque should definitely take precautions to keep themselves safe because the city has an elevated crime rate.

However, you should still visit Albuquerque because crime doesn’t usually affect visitors. As long as you follow your instincts and use basic street smarts, you can probably avoid being the victim of a crime.

It is true that Albuquerque has a higher crime rate than many other American cities.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the city has a higher crime rate than most other American places. The crime rate is 968.5 incidents per 100,000 people. The violent crime rate is also more than twice the national average.

Common crimes in Albuquerque include:

  • Theft
  • Burglaries
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Robbery

Albuquerque residents agree that their city has a problem with crime. According to survey data gathered by Numbeo, Albuquerque scores 85.99 out of 100 on the crime index, which is a very high value.

Residents are realistic about the high likelihood of being victims of a crime in their city, especially the most common crimes such as vandalism, theft, and drug abuse.

However, many residents also bristle at the characterization of Albuquerque as a complete danger zone. They say that parts of the city are very safe, while other parts have such high crime rates that they drive up the crime rate for the city overall.

Some residents will point out that most cities have certain areas that are unsafe, and Albuquerque is no different. Plus, a look at the visitor statistics can help put your mind at ease about Albuquerque.

If the city was so dangerous, millions of people would not visit every year, including many repeat visitors. Sometimes, anecdotal evidence is a better indication of how your visit will go than crime statistics.

Besides crime, you should keep an eye out for potential natural disasters in Albuquerque. The city and the entire state of New Mexico are prone to disasters such as severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, and even tornadoes.

Check the weather report while you are there and follow the advice of the locals.

If you see everyone else heading inside, you should follow them. Definitely check the weather if you are going on hikes outside of Albuquerque, as flash flooding in the desert can happen suddenly, and it can be deadly.

Crime in Albuquerque

For a post titled Is Albuquerque Safe, a bus is pictured as a great transportation method

Pictor Picture Company/Shutterstock

Crime is definitely the biggest problem potential visitors and residents alike face in Albuquerque. The city has a higher violent crime rate and a higher property crime rate compared to the United States average.

The Albuquerque Police Department publishes an annual counting of crime statistics on its website. In 2022, the police recorded 61,734 total crimes. The majority of these, about 71%, were property crimes.

About 21% were crimes against a person or violent crimes. The remaining crimes were crimes against society, a broad category that includes offenses such as drug abuse and prostitution.

Like in most places, property crimes make up the biggest portion of crimes committed in Albuquerque. The most common type of property crime is larceny/theft, a very broad category of crime that makes up about 28% of total crimes committed in Albuquerque.

It is followed by vandalism, which makes up 15% of total crimes, and motor vehicle theft, which makes up 9.6% of total crimes committed.

The most common violent crime in Albuquerque is simple assault, which makes up 10.6% of the total crimes in Albuquerque. The next most common crime against a person is aggravated assault, which makes up 7.8% of total crimes in Albuquerque.

When you tally up different categories, including justified homicide, murder (non-negligent), and manslaughter, there were 119 homicides in Albuquerque in 2022.

That is a high number for any city. However, there are some positive trends when it comes to crime in Albuquerque. Crime has been decreasing over the past few years.

According to police statistics, violent crime has decreased by 2% since 2018, and property crime has decreased by a significant 20%. The only category that increased is crimes against society, which you, as a visitor, are unlikely to be affected by anyway.

There are a few reasons why Albuquerque’s crime rate is relatively high. Albuquerque is an economic hub but struggling with high poverty rates and income inequality, all societal factors that increase crime.

The unemployment rate is now 3.3%, but until very recently, it used to be much higher. Plus, the city struggles with an epidemic of drug abuse.

Albuquerque is definitely a city struggling with problems, but it is also a resilient city. Many visitors don’t even notice the high crime rate once they get there, thanks to the friendliness of the locals.

As long as you know which areas to avoid and which precautions to take to keep yourself safe, you should have a great time in Albuquerque.


Theft is the primary reason why you have to be on your guard in Albuquerque. It is the most common crime affecting tourists and not residents.

There are different forms of theft that you might encounter in the city, such as vehicle break-ins, hotel room break-ins, petty street crimes, and scams. The City of Albuquerque publishes a list of official safety tips for visitors to their city to prevent theft.

Here are some of their most important tips for when you are out and about:

  • Never leave your luggage unattended
  • Only carry what you need for the day
  • Leave valuables in a hotel safe or at home
  • Opt for a small cross-body bag or put valuables in your pockets

Accommodation break-ins are becoming more and more common and are the primary way local criminals target tourists. Research your hotel ahead of time to make sure it has a good safety rating.

Safe hotels use modern technology such as electronic room keys that make doors harder to break into and have solid doors.

Don’t tell people where you are staying, especially not your room number. If you receive suspicious visits during your stay claiming that they are staff, call the front desk to confirm.

Petty crime is definitely the most likely problem you will run into when you are visiting Albuquerque, but as long as you take the right precautions and avoid making yourself into a target, you can leave the city with all of your valuables intact.


Given Albuquerque’s reputation, most people are far more worried about violent crimes such as assault than petty theft (even though the latter is more likely to affect your vacation).

The good news is that visitors are not often the victims of violent crimes, although they do happen. Still, there is a risk of assault, which is by far the most common crime against a person in Albuquerque.

Even though the assault rate in Albuquerque is fairly high, this crime actually rarely affects tourists. You should still take basic precautions to stay safe.

Albuquerque has certain neighborhoods with very high crime rates that drive up the crime for the city overall (more on those neighborhoods later). If you venture into those areas, especially at night, your risk of being the victim of assault increases.

Be sure to ask your hotel clerk or accommodation host for advice on which parts to visit. More crimes, including assault, occur at night. Try not to venture alone after dark to unfamiliar places.

Stick to well-lit areas in safe neighborhoods and try to find a buddy if possible. The drinking culture in Albuquerque can get fairly rowdy, so be careful when hitting the nightlife.

Trust your instincts, and if it looks like there are about to be bar fights, leave. Some tourists are assaulted during robberies gone wrong.

If someone mugs you, hand over your valuables and focus on getting away safely. You can always cancel credit cards and get a new ID, but recovering from severe injuries is much harder.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Old abandoned house in Albuquerque

Mitchell Frye/Shutterstock

Avoiding dangerous parts of town is crucial to staying safe in Albuquerque. Most locals say that Central Avenue is the most dangerous part of town, especially the stretch between Washington East to the Canyon.

Central Avenue functions as a bit of a dividing line for Albuquerque. South of Central Avenue is where most of the city’s dangerous neighborhoods are located. You should also avoid the areas east of Uptown.

Other dangerous neighborhoods in Albuquerque include:

  • East Central
  • South Valley
  • The area around Trumbull Park

Things to Consider

Here are a few other things to keep in mind when planning your visit to Albuquerque:

  • Theft from vehicles is a common crime in the city. Always lock your car doors and close your windows. Don’t leave any possessions visible from the car windows, especially not valuables, as you don’t want to attract the notice of thieves.
  • Be prepared for the heat. Albuquerque is in the desert, and the weather is drastic, especially in the summer. Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, and don’t do much exploring in the middle of the day. Plus, the dry air may give you nosebleeds, so give yourself time to adjust.
  • Make sure you try the local food. Albuquerque is a gem of Southwestern cuisine, and thanks to its growing size, it has many international restaurants.
  • Be prepared for the multicultural nature of the city. New Mexico was settled by Spanish-speaking people long before it became part of the United States, and many people are bilingual.

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of downtown Albuquerque pictured for a guide to whether or not the city is safe to visit

ALBUQUERQUE, NM / USA – DECEMBER 12 2010: Pool Hall and Bar on Route 66 (Central Ave SW) between 4th St. and 5th St. in downtown Albuquerque, looking east/Pictor Pictures/Shutterstock

Here are some common questions you may want to have answers for before you head to Albuquerque:

Is it safe to walk downtown Albuquerque?

During the day, downtown Albuquerque is mostly safe. However, at night when the businesses close, most people clear out, and the neighborhood becomes home to a large homeless population. While it isn’t unsafe, it definitely feels sketchy.

Is Albuquerque safe to stay overnight?

Of course, Albuquerque is safe to stay overnight! Just make sure that you research the neighborhood where your accommodation is located and try to stay in one of the safe neighborhoods, such as the North Valley or Los Ranchos.

How safe is New Mexico for tourists?

In general, New Mexico is safe for tourists. It does have a higher crime rate than the national average, but that’s because it has a low population density which skews the results.

Is Albuquerque worth a visit?

Albuquerque is worth a visit if you want to see the hot air balloons and learn about New Mexico’s history. However, if you are pressed for time, just a visit to Santa Fe may be enough.

Why is Albuquerque famous?

Albuquerque is best known for its international balloon festival. However, the city has a lot going on besides that, and you should explore it when you visit.

So, Should You Travel to Albuquerque?

Albuquerque’s bad reputation is a bit unfair. Yes, it’s true that it has an elevated crime rate, but most crimes occur in certain neighborhoods.

The vast majority of visitors have a safe time, especially if they have the foresight to take basic precautions. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to this desert paradise today!