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    Is Sierra Vista, Arizona a Safe Place to Live

    Is Sierra Vista Safe? I believe so.

    Occasionally, I’ll have a client that asks, “Roy, is Sierra Vista a safe place to live?”

    My immediate answer has always been, “Yes. In my opinion, Sierra Vista is a safe to place to live.”

    Please allow me a moment to explain why I believe that Sierra Vista is a safe place to live.

    First, let’s divide the topic of safe into two categories: climate and crime.

    Climate:

    During my years of service in the army, I’ve learned to prepare myself and my family for a variety of environmental dangers—tornadoes in Texas, forest fires and earthquakes in California, a volcano in Washington, and freezing cold in New York, just to name a few.

    The environmental dangers we in Southern Arizona watch out for are fire and flash floods. With an average of 15 inches of rainfall per year Sierra Vista is a very dry climate, most of the year. Wildfires are usually the result of property owners burning trash, hikers abandoning campfires, and lightning strikes during monsoon season.

    For the most part, the rural area residents of Sierra Vista do what they can to prevent the spread of wildfire. They keep their trees trimmed and their acreage mowed and free of flammable debris.

    Sierra Vista is located on high desert plateau. We have a desert monsoon season that usually occurs from mid-July to mid-September. Flash floods are the result of heavy rainfall in the higher elevations with the accumulated water flowing rapidly down creek beds, washes, and gullies.

    The danger occurs when people attempt to negotiate their way across flooding creek beds.  For the most part, the residents of Sierra Vista simply avoid these low-lying areas during monsoon season.

    Crime:

    Now let’s talk about crime.

    In response to the question, “Is Sierra Vista a safe place to live?” I cannot tell you absolutely, yes, or absolutely, no. The best I can do is to offer an informed opinion.

    My opinion is based on three things: history, politics, and comparative analysis.

    History:

    Let’s start with history. Historically speaking, the residents of Southern Arizona have proven themselves to possess a low tolerance for criminal activity. In the late 1800’s the residents of Southern Arizona called upon the federal government and the local town marshals to put an end to violence. The federal government established Fort Huachuca and sent the Buffalo Soldiers to put an end to the Apache raids lead by Geronimo. The citizens of Tombstone appointed the Earp Brothers to put an end to the cattle rustling and murderous activities of the group known as The Cowboys.

    More recently, in the early 2000’s, a group of Southern Arizona residents joined together to observe and report illegal activities they were witnessing along the Arizona-Mexico border. The Minuteman Project consisted of mostly “senior citizens sitting in lawn chairs armed with binoculars and cell phones.” These concerned Southern Arizona residents helped law enforcement agencies significantly reduce the number of illegal border crossings as well as illegal drug transport and human trafficking.

    Source: kold.com/story/3282916/minuteman-project-ends-in-arizona/

    As I stated earlier, the residents of Southern Arizona have a low tolerance for criminal activity.

    Politics:

    Let’s also consider the politics of Southern Arizona. For the most part, the residents of Southern Arizona have maintained a “frontier ethos” that originated during the wild west period prior to statehood. The attitude among most residents of Southern Arizona is that optimism, individualism, and entrepreneurism.

    Source: morrisoninstitute.asu.edu/sites/default/files/arizona_future_past_0.pdf

    When it comes to political opinions, Southern Arizona residents span the spectrum from liberal to conservative on most hot-button issues. However, when it comes to private property and self-defense, you’ll find that most Southern Arizona residents hold these beliefs as sacred and undeniable. They also believe, and strongly support, the local, state and federal government’s role in keeping the peace and defending the Arizona-Mexico Border.

    Comparative Analysis:

    In my opinion the best way to answer the question, “Is Sierra Vista a safe place to live” is to conduct a comparative analysis of similar cities in the Southwest. Sierra Vista is the largest city in Southern Arizona, South of Tucson. When compared, apples-to-apples—those cities similar in population, employment, median house-hold income, median home values, etcetera—the data suggests that Sierra Vista is safer than some cities but not as safe as other cities. In short, according to the data, Sierra Vista, Arizona appears to be safer than Palm Springs, California and Farmington, New Mexico but not as safe as Bountiful, Utah and Brighton, Colorado.

    Referencing the chart above it appears that violent crimes reported in Sierra Vista, Arizona is about the same as Prescott Valley, Arizona and Huntsville, Texas. Violent crime appears to be more frequent in Casa Grande, Arizona, Palm Springs, California, and Farmington, New Mexico. Violent crime is reported less frequently in Prescott Valley, Arizona, Bountiful, Utah, and Brighton, Colorado.

    Source: census.gov/quickfacts/table

    Source: ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s.2010/tables

    All that being said, “Is Sierra Vista a safe place to live?” In my opinion, yes. Is Sierra Vista the safest city in the Southwest, apparently not. Is Sierra Vista safe enough for me and my family. I believe so.

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