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4 Most Violent Crimes Committed in Arizona

Violent crimes are typically categorized as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In 2017, there were a combined total of 35,644 violent crimes in the state of Arizona. This is the highest number of violent criminal acts ever recorded (dating back to 1960). Below is a recap of the worst our state has to face.

4 Most Violent Crimes Common in Arizona

While some parts of our state are safer than others, there is an enormous amount of violent crime taking place every day that we simply do not see.

#4 Murder

This is divided into first- and second-degree murder, with the former being the most serious crime possible to be charged with. Arizona is one of the states that carries the death penalty for first-degree murder, with life imprisonment the only alternative. It is defined as the premeditated ending of another person’s life.

Second-degree murder is an intentional act without premeditation. It is a Class 1 felony and results in 10 to 22 years in prison. Second-degree murder of an unborn child or a child under the age of 15 carries a sentence of life imprisonment. There were 416 reported murders in Arizona in 2017.

Violent Crimes Statistics Infographic

#3 Forcible Rape (Sexual Assault/Abuse)

This falls under the “sex crimes” classification and even “minor” offenses with no bodily contact could see you receive an 18-month prison sentence or longer. The state of Arizona no longer uses the word “rape,” preferring “sexual assault” or “sexual abuse” instead. Sexual assault involves knowingly or intentionally engaging in oral sexual contact or sexual intercourse with any individual without their consent. It is typically a Class 2 felony with a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

Sexual abuse is deemed to be a lesser charge and is a Class 5 felony unless the victim is under 15 years of age, in which case it is a Class 3 felony. There were 3,581 reported cases of sexual assault/abuse in Arizona in 2017 (the most in a single year on record).

#2 Robbery

This is classified as a violent crime in the state of Arizona. Unlike a charge of theft, robbery involves an aspect of violence and is divided into three classifications: robbery, armed robbery, and aggravated robbery. Robbery is defined as taking someone’s property against their will with the use of force or threats. If you are convicted of robbery, you could receive 18 months to three years in prison, as it is usually a Class 4 felony.

Aggravated robbery involves a robbery with accomplices and carries a prison sentence of two to seven years. Armed robbery involves a robbery with a deadly weapon or simulated deadly weapon and carries a prison sentence of four to 10 years. There were 7,440 reported cases of robbery in Arizona in 2017.

#1 Aggravated Assault

This is also classified as a felony in the state of Arizona, though it is up to the prosecution to prove there was probable cause that a misdemeanor assault occurred. Causing a serious injury, such as a broken bone, or entering someone’s home before assaulting them are examples of aggravated assault.

It is a charge that ranges from a Class 6 felony to a Class 2 felony, which means you could spend just four months in jail for an aggravated assault or be sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime. There were 24,207 cases of aggravated assault in Arizona in 2017 (the highest ever recorded), which makes it by far the most common crime in the state.


Violent crimes have been on the rise in Arizona and across the country for a number of years. If you’ve been the victim of a violent crime, please speak up. You can report what happened to you to your local police department or the Arizona Department of Public Safety.