Most Dangerous and Safest Cities in Alabama

The Foley criminal defense lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, PC aimed to determine the safest and most dangerous communities in the State of Alabama. Our findings reveal that both violent and property crimes occur in all communities and across all racial and ethnic grounds.

There is little evidence to suggest that any one quality, characteristic, or attribute increases or decreases a community’s crime rate. Rather, crime is frequently a consequence of various societal shortcomings in the education, employment, and public institutions within a community. Attempts to reduce crime rates to a function of a race, gangs, or “thugs” is a generalized and erroneous answer for a complex and multi-faceted issue.

In order to get started, we reviewed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) crime-related statistics from reporting cities, counties, and municipalities throughout the State of Alabama and beyond. These statistics can be helpful to identify crime trends, recognize successful crime reduction techniques, and target troubled communities.

The Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics categorize crime into two distinct types: Violent Crime and Property Crime. Violent Crime statistics are based on arrests of individuals charged with hurting another person. These statistics include charges of Murder/Negligent Manslaughter; Forcible Rape; Robbery; and Aggravated Assault. Conversely, the FBI categorizes Property Crimes as those individuals arrested for non-violent, property-related offenses. These charges include: Burglary; Larceny/Theft; and Motor Vehicle Theft.

To fairly compare each community under these standards, the FBI chooses to average each community’s crime statistics. Crime statistics are averaged on a per 100,000 resident formula. This formula is used even if a community has more or less than 100,000 residents to provide consistency to the national statistics.

Based on the most recent FBI statistics from 2012, the following ten (10) Alabama communities can be recognized as having theHIGHEST VIOLENT CRIME RATES in Alabama. Violent crime is frequently the manifestation of inadequate problem resolution skills between friends and family. Random acts of violent crime are rare, but they do occur. Lack of income opportunities, an absence of quality education/job prospects and systemic disenfranchisement also play significant roles in the growth of violent crime rates in a community. In 2012, violent crime was much more prevalent in communities with larger urban populations. Prichard, a close suburb of Mobile, Alabama, tops the list:

Ranking City/Municipality Rates per 100,000 Residents
1. Prichard 2318.7
2. Anniston 2186.5
3. Bessemer 2109.8
4. Birmingham 1517.8
5. Fairfield 1369.9
6. Selma 1329.4
7. Gadsden 1006.5
8. Huntsville 923.3
9. Jasper 856.2
10. Opelika 761.0

Conversely, the communities below had the LOWEST VIOLENT CRIME RATES in Alabama. Low violent crime rates can be recognized as a community’s acceptance and validation of institutional and non-violent problem resolution techniques. There is much debate as to what societal factors are most important in the pursuit of reducing violent crime. Strong community income opportunities, access to quality primary and secondary education, residents living at greater distances from one another, and community trust and respect for law enforcement and the Court system may all contribute to a reduced violent crime rate. In 2012, Mountain Brook, Alabama had the lowest violent crime rate in Alabama. Residents of Mountain Brook also enjoy high incomes, quality schools and low unemployment rates:

Ranking City/Municipality Rates per 100,000 Residents
1. Mountain Brook 39.0
2. Vestavia Hills 64.3
3. Helena 64.4
4. Calera 76.0
5. Hoover 104.5
6. Eufaula 130.7
7. Athens 130.7
8. Trussville 137.8
9. Hartselle 146.0
10. Moody 151.4

The below communities had the HIGHEST PROPERTY CRIME RATES in Alabama. Property crime, like violent crime, is also more prevalent in urban communities plagued with high unemployment rates and poor job/educational opportunities.

Ranking City/Municipality Rates per 100,000 Residents
1. Bessemer 12680.2
2. Fairfield 11970.6
3. Anniston 10776.1
4. Selma 8626.5
5. Talladega 8137.7
6. Gadsden 8116.7
7. Jasper 7942.9
8. Gulf Shores 7593.3
9. Birmingham 6934.1
10. Phoenix City 6729.5

The below communities had the LOWEST PROPERTY CRIME RATES in Alabama in 2012. The communities in this list are characterized by higher average incomes, quality job and educational opportunities and—in some cases—more rural locales:

Ranking City/Municipality Rates per 100,000 Residents
1. Calera 802.5
2. Helena 1019.0
3. Pleasant Grove 1476.7
4 Vestavia Hills 1476.8
5. Mountain Brook 1477.3
6. Moody 1505.6
7. Pelham 2164.9
8. Alabaster 2208.7
9. Daphne 2315.5
10 Madison 2435.0

Aggregate Crime Rates are calculated by adding the sum of Violent and Property crime rates within a community in a given year. The below communities had the HIGHEST AGGREGATE CRIME RATES in Alabama communities in 2012:

Rank City/County Violent Crime Rate Per 100,000 Property Crime Rate per 100,000 Aggregate Crime Rates
1. Bessemer 2109.8 12680.2 14790
2. Fairfield 1369.9 11970.6 13340.5
3. Anniston 2186.5 10776.1 12962.6
4. Selma 1329.4 8626.5 9955.9
5. Gadsden 1006.5 8116.7 9123.2
6. Talladega 684.5 8137.7 8822.2
7. Jasper 856.2 7942.9 8799.1
8. Prichard 2318.7 6353.4 8672.1
9. Birmingham 1517.8 6934.1 8451.9
10. Gulf Shores 459 7593.3 8052.3

The below communities had the LOWEST AGGREGATE CRIME RATES in Alabama:

Ranking City/Municipality Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 Property Crime Rate per 100,000 Aggregate Crime Rates
1. Calera 76 802.5 878.5
2. Helena 64.4 1019 1083.4
3. Mountain Brook 39 1477.3 1516.3
4. Vestavia Hills 64.3 1476.8 1541.1
5. Pleasant Grove 167.4 1476.7 1644.1
6. Moody 151.4 1505.6 1657
7. Pelham 165.5 2164.9 2330.4
8. Alabaster 158.5 2208.7 2367.2
9. Daphne 180.2 2315.5 2495.7
10. Madison 205.2 2435 2640.2

If you don’t see your community in the lists above, click HERE to see other Alabama communities.

If you or someone you know needs legal advice after criminal charges, contact our criminal defense attorneys today.