By Haddon Libby

Which city is the safest in the desert?

According to data compiled by for use by real estate agents nationwide, Twentynine Palms comes in as the safest place to live in the desert. With one property crime per 72 residents, they were the only city in the area to have lower crime levels than national average with a 51 score (safer than 51% of the United States).

Coming in second was the unincorporated area 1000 Palms with a score of 45 followed by Cathedral City at 33.


For comparison, Laguna Niguel scored 73, San Clemente 61, Simi Valley 58, Los Angeles, 28 and Santa Barbara 16.

One of the most dangerous places in America was Palm Springs with a score of 6 due to unusually high levels of property crimes. Annually, 1 in 23 residents can expect some theft to be committed against them. Ninety-four percent of America is safer than Palm Springs – not a happy statistic for a resort town.

Coming in second was Desert Hot Springs with a score of 8 and Palm Desert at 10.

Violent crimes were most likely to happen in Desert Hot Springs where 1 in 100 residents become victims of either a murder, rape or robbery each year. Indio was second with a violent incident for every 173 residents followed closely by Palm Springs with an incident for every 176 residents. The national average for violent crimes is one for every 435 people. Palm Springs and Indio led the rest of the area in rapes with one for every 2,000 residents, 50% higher than national averages. Indian Wells, La Quinta, Coachella and Rancho Mirage all reported less than one rape for every 10,000 residents.

Below are highlights by city:

Cathedral City, the safest city in the Coachella Valley basin, had one crime per 42 residents (national average 36). The safest areas were in the Vista Chino/Horizon and Landau/Tachevah areas. City Center and the Cove were the least safe.

Coachella had the highest car theft levels in the area at one per 100 residents, 4.5x the national average. Violent crimes happened to one in every 362 residents, 38% below the national average. You were safest near the City Center and least safe on 52nd between Harrison and Frederick.

Desert Hot Springs ranks as the third most dangerous place in California and 86th most dangerous in the nation due to high violent crime rates behind only Oakland and Compton. The safest areas are in the Sky Valley and southeastern areas of town while the City Center is the least safe.

While Indian Wells has the lowest violent crime rate and car theft levels, property theft caused this city to be less safe than 82% of the United States.

Indio had some of the higher rape and robbery levels in the Valley and was safer than only 15% of the country. While Monroe/40th and areas above Route 10 were the safest, City Center was the least safe.

Rancho Mirage had the second lowest violent crime levels in the area. Like Indian Wells, high property crime levels made it safer than only 16% of the United States. The northeastern area is the safest while areas south of Highway 111 have the highest crime rates.

Palm Desert was less safe than 90% of the country due to the highest theft rates in the region. You are safest if you live in Sun City or near Highway 74 and Grapevine. Down the hill near El Paseo or around Cook and Country Club are the least safe.

As mentioned, Palm Springs’ high property crime rates made it one of the least safe places in California. You are safest in the southwestern area of the city and least safe in the northeastern areas.