Since real estate agents are prohibited from recommending a neighborhood/area, I can't direct you to a particular neighborhood. There are also a number of factors that would affect your selection, primarily price range followed by home size, yard size, etc. The home search tool on my website is extremely easy to use with a mapping tool and is broken into neighborhoods.
You mention an easy commute and living outside of the city...well...being that the VA hospital is well inside Phoenix, it may not be possible to have both. The easiest access to the VA hospital will be from SR51 (Piestewa Peak Parkway), but you have to get into SR51 from I-10 or Loop 101 or 202. If you will be working "normal" hours, these routes are heavily traveled and there is no real mass transit into city.
Here is a link to information about schools/districts http://www.greatschools.net/
For crime statistics go to the individual city website and then to their police department. I believe all valley cities have crime statistics on their websites.
As much as I would love to help you find a house to buy, especially with the current prices, you would probably be better off renting first and then finding what fits your family.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any help.
The Arizona Native