News coming out of the Heart of Dixie often gives Alabama a bad reputation when it comes to safety. Stories like the recent shooting of a young man in a King City Super Market and the homicide of a long-haul trucker in Birmingham add to the long list of violent crimes occurring in big cities like Birmingham. According to the 2016 FBI crime reports, Alabama has the third-highest murder rate in the United States. However, according to the same data, it also has some of the lowest violent and property crime rates in the country. How can Alabama have both?
It all depends on population. Like many other states, Alabama’s big cities report high crime rates. But the smaller cities prove that there are plenty of safe places. Margaret, with a population of just 4,580, is the safest city in Alabama with less than one violent crime per 1,000 people. Other Alabama cities like Mountain Brook and Athens are almost the same. They boast .68 violent crimes per 1,000 people and .70 violent crimes per 1,000 people, respectively. With smaller populations comes less violence.
This idea is true for property crime rates also. Big cities like Birmingham, with a population over 200,000, are known not only for violent crime but also for having upwards of tens of thousands of property crimes a year. Margaret has fewer than six property crimes per 1,000 people.
The effect is true for slightly larger cities too. Beautiful towns like Daphne and Pelham have over 20,000 residents and still keep crime rates low, with property crime rates well under the national average.
As Birmingham Violence Reduction Initiative manager, Jarralynne Agee, said during a panel on inner-city violence, “If you watch the news, read the news, you might get the idea that Birmingham is the Wild, Wild West or that there’s mayhem all over the city, but that’s not true at all. A very small percent of our community is committing a large percent of the crime.”
For even more information and resources on staying safe in Alabama, see our Alabama Safety Directory, where you’ll find tips on emergency preparedness, crime prevention, and more.
The 20 Safest Cities in Alabama
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.66
Property crimes per 1,000: 5.24
Total crime: 12.60% violent, 87.40% property
2. Mountain Brook
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.68
Property crimes per 1,000: 13.94
Total crime: 4.88% violent, 95.12% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.70
Property crimes per 1,000: 24.84
Total crime: 2.82% violent, 97.18% property
4. Vestavia Hills
Violent crimes per 1,000: 0.73
Property crimes per 1,000: 11.61
Total crime: 6.29% violent, 93.71% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.13
Property crimes per 1,000: 13.09
Total crime: 8.63% violent, 91.37% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.24
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.83
Total crime: 5.43% violent, 94.57% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.35
Property crimes per 1,000: 33.50
Total crime: 4.03% violent, 95.97% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.35
Property crimes per 1,000: 6.21
Total crime: 21.74% violent, 78.26% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.37
Property crimes per 1,000: 19.68
Total crime: 6.96% violent, 93.04% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.42
Property crimes per 1,000: 37.20
Total crime: 3.82% violent, 96.18% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.59
Property crimes per 1,000: 24.37
Total crime: 6.52% violent, 93.48% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.77
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.98
Total crime: 8.05% violent, 91.95% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.79
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.05
Total crime: 8.50% violent, 91.50% property
14. Spanish Fort
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.80
Property crimes per 1,000: 21.78
Total crime: 8.26% violent, 91.74% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.85
Property crimes per 1,000: 33.33
Total crime: 5.55% violent, 94.45% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 1.98
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.90
Total crime: 15.35% violent, 84.65% property
17. Orange Beach
Violent crimes per 1,000: 2.02
Property crimes per 1,000: 31.52
Total crime: 6.41% violent, 93.59% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 2.08
Property crimes per 1,000: 22.19
Total crime: 9.37% violent, 90.63% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 2.15
Property crimes per 1,000: 12.33
Total crime: 17.44% violent, 82.56% property
Violent crimes per 1,000: 2.30
How We Chose the Safest Cities in Alabama
To identify the twenty safest cities in Alabama, we reviewed the 2016 FBI crime report statistics and population data. Cities that fell below identified population thresholds or that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI were excluded from the ranking system.
Our evaluation is based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape,
and robbery) in each city. If there was a tie, we also factored in the number of property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). To level the playing field, we calculated the rate of crimes per 1,000 people in each city. This makes it easier to directly compare the likelihood of these crimes occurring in cities with vastly different populations.
Learn more about how we rank our Safest Cities Reports
How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere
Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.
To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for Best Home Security Systems of 2018.
If you would like to contact a SafeWise Safest Cities Analyst, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.