Safest Cities in Alabama – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

With a high violent crime rate of 5.20 per 1,000 and property crime rate of 28.17, Alabama is not among the safest states. However, the Cotton State’s safest cities recorded admirably low crime figures in 2018 that stand in contrast to Alabama’s statewide numbers. Let’s have a closer look at Alabama’s 5 safest communities.

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

The safest city in Alabama is Mountain Brook, an affluent suburb of Birmingham with a population topping 20K. Mountain Brook’s 2018 violent crime rate of 0.79 per 1,000 was the 2nd lowest in the state, and while the city’s total crime rate wasn’t Alabama’s best, Mountain Brook is boosted in the ranking by its excellent law enforcement-to-residents ratio of 3.49 per 1,000.

Another wealthy Birmingham suburb, Vestavia Hills, earns the 2nd spot on the list. The city of 34,000 logged just 30 violent crimes in 2018, amounting to a rate of less than 1 offense per 1,000 people. Additionally, Vestavia Hills’ property crime rate is less-than-half of the statewide rate.

Ranking 3rd is Helena, a city of just over 19K in Jefferson and Shelby counties that has been named one of the “best places to live”  by Money magazine. Helena’s violent crime rate of 3.15 per 1,000 is decent, if not spectacular, however, the city truly distinguishes itself through its excellent property crime rate, which is the lowest in the state by a considerable margin.

#4 Pelham is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. Named for a Confederate Civil War officer and home to Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham logged a respectable 1.51 per 1,000 violent crime rate in 2018, as well as a property crime rate below the national average.

Daphne, a family-friendly city of  26.6K on the eastern shoreline of Mobile Bay, earns the 5th spot on the list. Boasting low rates of violent and property crime, as well as a high ratio of law enforcement-to-residents, Daphne is one of the best places to live in the Mobile area.

Alabama’s Safest Cities

ALCityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Mountain Brook20,373162287124411.980.7911.193.49
2Vestavia Hills34,368304359546513.530.8712.662.76
3Helena19,38761131281929.903.156.761.44
4Pelham23,785364048544018.501.5116.993.57
5Daphne26,618364639549918.751.3517.393.57
6Pleasant Grove10,105161272014314.151.5812.571.98
7Alabaster33,501925798467120.032.7517.282.51
8Fairhope21,688435376258026.741.9824.762.86
9Moody13,134562062026219.954.2615.681.52
10Auburn65,5852401396143163624.943.6621.292.18
11Homewood25,52375956121103140.392.9437.464.74
12Saraland14,704514905754136.793.4733.323.88
13Gulf Shores12,014244976452143.372.0041.375.33
14Gardendale13,907943473944131.716.7624.952.80
15Irondale12,486743503942433.965.9328.033.12
16Northport25,353897727986133.963.5130.453.12
17Foley18,740487559280342.852.5640.294.91
18Cullman15,470326297366142.732.0740.664.72
19Athens26,177137685978129.840.5029.342.25
20Eufaula11,905754695654445.706.3039.404.70
21Enterprise28,4641278096893632.884.4628.422.39
22Hueytown15,367715314560239.174.6234.552.93
23Prattville35,69783122187130436.532.3334.202.44
24Sylacauga12,186776147269156.706.3250.395.91
25Jacksonville12,534854333851841.336.7834.553.03
26Opelika30,8221681214100138244.845.4539.393.24
27Oxford21,149679287499547.053.1743.883.50
28Florence39,9252061663134186946.815.1641.653.36
29Tuscaloosa101,7645144415349492948.445.0543.383.43
30Phenix City36,668235132694156142.576.4136.162.56
31Scottsboro14,4431936717186459.8213.3646.464.92
32Dothan68,5306702799233346950.629.7840.843.40
33Decatur54,2072282308148253646.784.2142.582.73
34Montgomery198,66212168480566969648.816.1242.692.85
35Millbrook15,410447284577250.102.8647.242.92
36Calera14,3342654293869448.4218.4929.932.65
37Alexander City14,5483146106692463.5121.5841.934.54
38Ozark14,3581486194076753.4210.3143.112.79
39Mobile245,4751613120947151370755.846.5749.272.91
40Troy19,15930396177126465.9715.8250.164.02
41Muscle Shoals14,143868004388662.656.0856.573.04
42Jasper13,51274103569110982.085.4876.605.11
43Prichard21,61526393047119355.1912.1743.032.17
44Talladega15,3411248054092960.568.0852.472.61
45Birmingham210,5644025132959771732082.2619.1263.144.64
46Fairfield10,625224855671079101.5521.0880.476.31
47Gadsden35,2043722495135286781.4410.5770.873.83
48Hartselle14,38561353641428.784.2424.540.42
49Anniston21,5926461696902342108.4729.9278.554.17

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.