The State of Safety in Alabama 2021

The SafeWise Team is pleased to release the third annual State of Safety report.

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Alabamans worry more about every type of crime than the rest of the country, with 56% expressing high concern about crime and safety on a daily basis. Alabama’s level of daily concern is 19% higher than the national average of 47%, but do the state’s crime rates justify that level of worry?

2021 Alabama crime rates

Alabama’s violent and property crime rates are higher than the national average, but both have decreased somewhat year over year. The violent crime rate dipped 2% from 5.2 incidents per 1,000 in 2020 to 5.1 this year. That still leaves Alabama 38% higher than the national average when it comes to the number of violent crimes per capita.

Despite higher overall crime rates, both violent and property crimes decreased year over year in Alabama.

Property crime fell 5% year over year, to 26.7 incidents per 1,000 people. Last year, Alabama saw 28.2 incidents per 1,000. The Yellowhammer State has the highest property crime rate in the East South Central region, followed by Tennessee at 26.5 incidents per 1,000. Tennessee beats Alabama for the highest violent crime rate, with 6.0 incidents compared to Alabama’s 5.1 per 1,000.

Higher overall crime rates may be the reason 82% of Alabamans think crime is on the rise (more than in any other state), and only 4% think it’s declining. Nationwide, 66% of people think crime is rising despite a steady decline in national crime rates over the past decade.

Alabama crime rates: violent crime is 5.1/1,000 and property crime is 26.7/1,000

Level of concern and experience with crime in Alabama

Even though Alabama has higher crime rates, the state’s overall level of concern dropped from 59% in 2020 to 56% this year. That drop in daily concern reflects the state’s downward trend in regard to crime rates. But experience with crime (which is not always reported to law enforcement) rose in every category except property crime.

Violent crime is the most worrisome to Alabamans, and two out of 10 survey respondents told us they had a violent crime experience in the past 12 months—slightly higher than last year. Property crime experience dropped 26% year over year, but reports of gun violence experience more than tripled—from 6% last year to 19%.

Crime concerns in Alabama

We asked Alabama residents which crimes they worry may happen to them. See if Alabamans are concerned about the same crime issues as the rest of the country.

View the complete 2021 State of Safety report.

Violent crime in Alabama: Fear vs. reality

Alabama sees more violent crime than most of the country, and it’s one of just nine states that’s more worried about violent crime than any other crime issue.

  • Every day, 55% of Alabamans worry about a violent crime happening to them—that’s 14 percentage points higher than the national average.
  • 19% of survey respondents reported having a personal experience with violent crime in the past 12 months—90% higher than the national average of 10%.
  • Alabama sees the same percentage of murders and rapes as the rest of the country, with murder accounting for 1% of all violent crime and rape making up 8%.
  • Robberies make up 16% of all violent crime in Alabama—27% lower than the proportion nationwide.
  • Aggravated assault makes up 75% of all violent crime, which is 10% higher than the proportion across the country.
  • Nearly 5 in 10 Alabama survey respondents use some form of personal protection like pepper spray. Nationwide, only 3 in 10 use some kind of personal protection.
  • 51% say their personal safety has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (US 44%).
Nearly 2 in 10 Alabamans reported a gun violence experience in the past year—the highest number in the US.

Attitudes about police and gun violence in Alabama

  • 61% named gun violence their top safety concern (US 53%).
  • 50% are most worried about a gun violence incident happening to them (US 38%), and 19% reported an experience with gun violence in the past 12 months.
  • Reported gun violence experiences jumped 13 percentage points year over year, and Alabama’s experience is 138% higher than the national average of 8%.
  • 39% worry about police violence daily (US 40%) and 61% have confidence in law enforcement (US 56%).
  • Both mass shooting incidents and officer-involved shootings decreased year over year in Alabama.
Violent crime rate trend in Alabama 2019 -2021

Property crime in Alabama: Fear vs. reality

Alabama sees more property crime than most states, but its property crime rate is trending downward. Reported experience with property crime also dropped year over year.

  • 1 in 4 survey respondents reported having a personal experience with property crime in the past 12 months. That’s higher than the national average but 26% lower than last year.
  • 24% of Arizonans fell prey to porch pirates in the past 12 months, which is 4 percentage points higher than the national average.
  • Larceny-theft is the most common property crime in Alabama, making up 71% of all property crime (US 73%).
  • Burglary makes up 20% of all property crime in Alabama, compared to 16% nationwide.
  • 76% of survey respondents use some form of property protection (US 62%), with firearms and guard dogs used most often.
  • Of those that use property protection, 45% use firearms and 41% use guard dogs. Nationally, 26% of Americans use those methods to secure their property.
  • 27% say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic (US 29%).
Property crime rate trend in Alabama 2019 - 2021

The safest cities in Alabama

For the purposes of this report, the terms “dangerous” and “safest” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.

We couldn’t rank the safest cities in Alabama this year due to limited information reported to the FBI. Hoover was the only city that provided data to the FBI in 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available). Hoover’s crime rates are detailed below.

Hoover, Alabama
Hoover
  • Circle Population
    Population
    85,670
  • Circle Dollar
    Median Income
    $89,452
  • Circle Gun
    VC Rate 2021
    1.3
  • Circle Property
    PC Rate 2021
    22.4

How we determined the safest cities

Learn how we identified the safest cities on our methodology page.

How to make a safe home anywhere

Whether your city made our list or not, we encourage everyone to be proactive about home security. Learn more about your home security options—and find out which companies we recommend for every budget and lifestyle in our roundup of the Best Home Security Systems.

Find the safest cities in each state

Click on the state image or dropdown menu below to check out the safest cities for each state.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

FBI: Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “2019 Crime in the United States,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

US Census Bureau, "Data Explorer," Accessed November 18, 2020.

Best Places, “Find a Place Search Tool,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

SafeWise, “2021 State of Safety survey,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “Past Summary Ledgers,” Accessed January 6, 2021.

Gun Violence Archive, “General Methodology,” Accessed March 15, 2021.

Melody Hicks, Ben Stickle, Joshua Harms, American Journal of Criminal Justice, “Assessing the Fear of Package Theft,” January 04, 2021. Accessed March 15, 2021.

For definitions and more on data sources, see our methodology page.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past eight. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime reports and spotting trends. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips.

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