Border towns as safe as anywhere in Arizona

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(24 HOURS ON THE BORDER) -

Listening to the way some politicians describe the border, you might think it's still like the Wild West. 

But in fact, some of the state's border towns are among the safest places to be in Arizona. 

"We're not dodging bullets down here, we're safe, we have not had a homicide in Santa Cruz County in five years," Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

When it comes to violent crime, the facts back him up.

It turns out the Town of Nogales is about as dangerous as Paradise Valley. 

Nogales has a population of roughly 20,000 people, slightly higher than the more affluent Paradise Valley. Yet, when it comes to violent crime, there is very little difference. 

Neither town reported a murder in 2015, according to FBI crime stats. That same year, Nogales reported 20 violent crimes while Paradise Valley reported 16, and there were five rapes in Paradise Valley and none in Nogales. 

"I think people perceive the border as a very chaotic environment all the time and I would say that that's a misperception that exists along the border," said Felix Jose, deputy chief patrol agent for the Tucson Sector. 

FBI crime stats also show Yuma is about as safe as the similar-sized valley city Avondale. 

Yuma reported more violent crimes in 2015, 453 to 279, but there were eight murders in Avondale compared to five in Yuma.

That's not to say border towns are light on nonviolent crimes. Two years ago, there were seven car thefts in Paradise Valley, far fewer than the 90 vehicles swiped in Nogales.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

Click to learn more about Morgan .

Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

When he’s not out looking for the next big news story, Morgan enjoys hiking, camping, cheering for the Arizona Wildcats and spending time with his family at their southern Arizona ranch.

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