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The very name Alabama conjures up timeless images of the Deep South, warm nights, cotton, gracious manners, proud inhabitants and perhaps above all, the springboard for positive social change. Although the state has a proud history of agriculture, the 20th century introduced an increasingly industrialized and diverse economy.

7.26 Average violent crime per 1,000
38.55 Average property crime per 1,000

As in almost all states, preventing crime is a challenge in Alabama. Increasing urban growth in the latter 20th century has raised social pressures in some localities and sent crime statistics surging. 

  • It’s the 41st safest state in regards to property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
  • Has 7.26 violent crime events per 1,000 and 38.55 property crimes per 1,000. Violent crime figures are just over double (2.09) the national average, while property crime is slightly under the national average of 40.43.

Despite these rankings, some areas of Alabama have surprisingly low crime figures. Areas with the lowest violent crime rates overall include:

  1. Helena
  2. Hoover
  3. Vestavia Hills
  4. Pleasant Grove
  5. Northport​

The top four all are suburbs of the greater Birmingham area, while Northport is a smaller town adjacent to Tuscaloosa. All five areas have violent crime statistics that are significantly below the state 7.26 average, and also the national average for violent crime, which stands at 3.47 per 1,000.


Safest Cities in Alabama, 2019

RankCityViolent CrimesProperty CrimesViolent Crime RateProperty Crime Rate
1Helena16930.8444.904
2Hoover829780.95811.421
3Vestavia Hills244250.69012.219
4Pleasant Grove111641.07916.093
5Northport476551.85525.852
6Daphne345561.27520.848
7Cullman226141.40939.326
8Foley477822.60643.367
9Albertville226481.01930.017
10Eufaula745026.01940.830
11Madison1779313.62919.087
12Irondale543944.36831.872
13Athens136950.50026.727
14Scottsboro19258613.09739.973
15Alexander City25555117.29537.371
16Tuscaloosa4744,1744.68741.276
17Auburn2171,7113.34726.392
18Dothan5822,7358.44839.699
19Florence1891,7034.71842.512
20Leeds834296.93735.858
21Opelika2231,3997.31745.905
22Jacksonville1134898.98838.893
23Decatur1992,2843.62141.559
24Muscle Shoals816375.81145.699
25Troy22297911.46750.568
26Jasper1069197.60465.925
27Phenix City2511,4886.63339.322
28Oxford601,1012.84652.220
29Ozark15668210.71546.844
30Anniston7541,35234.34361.581
31Bessemer7872,58129.85697.914
32Prichard4041,35918.26561.440

METHODOLOGY

To identify the safest cities in Alabama, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.

Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.

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 rated them using the population of the city and 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 we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.

Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.

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