2016 Safest Places in Alabama

by Susan Gulliford

Safety is major priority in deciding where to live. The ValuePenguin team analyzed the most recent FBI Crime Report to determine the safest places in Alabama. These 83 cities had populations of at least 5,000 people, and the final crime scores ranged from 511 to 7,436. The score takes into account violent and property crime and adjusts it per population size. Of the top five safest places, three are suburbs and two are communities in Northeast Alabama. For more insight, take a look at our report.

5 Safest Places in Alabama

These cities have an average final crime score of 667, which is 75% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in the state.

1. Helena, AL

This town proclaims “Helena, it’s where you want to be,” and, if you want safety, it is for you. This suburb of Birmingham earned the lowest crime score in our research on Alabama cities. The city's homeownership rate (69.7%) is not noticeably above the national average (64.9%). It's no stranger to recognition for its high quality of life: Business Week and Money recognized it as an excellent place to live. Out of the top five safest cities, Helena has the lowest amount of property crimes per 100K.

2. Satsuma, AL

Satsuma is the smallest city on this list with a population of 6,156, per the FBI Crime Report. It is also a geographically small community of 6.5 square miles. This Mobile, Alab., suburb took its name from the Satsuma oranges that were once a large part of its economy. The median household in Satsuma has a higher income ($60,062) than the median household in Alabama ($42,849). Residents of Satsuma are also older than the typical Alabama resident (41.6 to 38.3). Satsuma had only seven violent crimes and had the second smallest total number of violent crimes.

3. Vestavia Hills, AL

The largest city in the top five (population: 34,009), this Birmingham suburb has as its motto, “A Life Above.” This suburb boasts a well-educated population with 67.1% of its residents age 25-plus having a bachelor’s degree or higher and a high median household income ($81,352). The school system is well-regarded with one of its elementary schools, Liberty Park, ranked second in the state. Vestavia Hills recorded zero rapes for the year surveyed.

4. Southside, AL

Another small community (population: 8,564), Southside is located in Etowah county. The town was incorporated relatively recently, in 1957. The town boasts a solid median income of $67,090 and a low poverty rate of 5.1%. It had the fourth-lowest rate of property crimes per 100,000 residents for cities that submitted property crime data.

5. Rainbow City, AL

Rainbow City is also in Etowah County, in the northeast part of the state. Adjusted for population, it ranked fifth-safest for both violent and property crime. The city’s median income in 2013 of $46,519 was close to the Alabama median income of $42,849 in the same year. Rainbow City takes its name from the Rainbow Battalion.

Population Breakdown

Although we adjusted for population in our crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000, midsize cities with populations between 10,000 and 20,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 20,000. Here are our findings:

Safest Places in Alabama

Full List of Places in Alabama

Below is the entire list of places that we included in our “Safest Places in Alabama” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to our analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.

Rank

CityCrime Score

1

Helena511

2

Satsuma579

3

Vestavia Hills725

4

Southside749

5

Rainbow City775

6

Moody918

7

Pelham954

9

Roanoke1,091

10

Pell City1,105

11

Hartselle1,155

12

Daphne1,165

13

Opp1,194

14

Alabaster1,203

15

Hamilton1,215

16

Daleville1,360

17

Rainsville1,383

18

Athens1,387

19

Glencoe1,424

20

Montevallo1,462

21

Hoover1,539

22

Madison1,551

23

Oneonta1,690

24

Albertville1,698

25

Auburn1,722

26

Fairhope1,852

27

Hueytown2,032

28

Prattville2,047

29

Gardendale2,048

30

Saraland2,091

31

Irondale2,098

32

Robertsdale2,114

33

Cullman2,160

34

Enterprise2,180

35

Wetumpka2,208

36

Bay Minette2,217

37

Homewood2,219

38

Russellville2,277

39

Atmore2,285

40

Tuscumbia2,358

41

Jacksonville2,393

42

Scottsboro2,397

43

Northport2,399

44

Eufaula2,458

45

Decatur2,465

46

Demopolis2,557

47

Foley2,579

48

Florence2,614

49

Greenville2,616

50

Leeds2,617

51

Brewton2,655

52

Millbrook2,679

53

Oxford2,717

54

Chickasaw2,845

55

Alexander City2,915

56

Lincoln2,936

57

Muscle Shoals2,939

58

Gulf Shores3,064

59

Tuscaloosa3,103

60

Troy3,241

61

Ozark3,282

62

Sylacauga3,284

63

Sheffield3,321

64

Tarrant3,342

65

Guntersville3,400

66

Montgomery3,498

67

Arab3,520

68

Valley3,544

69

Opelika3,630

70

Tuskegee3,736

71

Clanton3,767

72

Mobile3,781

73

Phenix City3,850

74

Talladega4,063

75

Monroeville4,159

76

Huntsville4,224

77

Lanett4,556

78

Jasper4,614

79

Prichard5,035

80

Gadsden5,303

81

Selma6,865

82

Birmingham6,882

83

Anniston7,437

Methodology

To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program. We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores. We removed two cities (Boaz and Midfield), which the FBI believed to have underreported its data. Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!

Rank

CityPopulationViolent Crime per 100KProperty Crime per 100KCrime Score

14

Alabaster31,568183.71,938.7535

24

Albertville21,655106.23,491.1783

55

Alexander City14,887544.14,809.61,397

83

Anniston22,5672,375.17,581.93,416

67

Arab8,369549.66,775.01,795

18

Athens24,52124.53,062.7632

39

Atmore10,093733.22,774.21,141

25

Auburn59,854210.52,763.4721

36

Bay Minette9,087517.23,532.51,120

82

Birmingham212,1151,588.36,566.72,584

51

Brewton5,445679.54,389.31,421

54

Chickasaw5,989534.35,393.21,506

71

Clanton8,773512.97,500.31,910

33

Cullman15,086172.34,481.01,034

16

Daleville5,159445.81,880.2733

12

Daphne24,111170.01,978.4532

45

Decatur55,836200.64,389.61,038

46

Demopolis7,161670.33,952.01,327

34

Enterprise28,031374.63,403.4980

44

Eufaula12,874567.03,712.91,196

26

Fairhope17,914301.43,148.4871

48

Florence40,236502.03,668.41,135

47

Foley16,101316.84,863.11,226

80

Gadsden36,455982.07,697.22,325

29

Gardendale13,697211.74,103.1990

19

Glencoe5,193346.62,445.6766

49

Greenville7,863610.54,273.21,343

58

Gulf Shores10,927375.26,085.81,517

65

Guntersville8,404499.86,663.51,733

15

Hamilton6,782250.72,167.5634

11

Hartselle14,519124.02,279.8555

1

Helena17,70096.0819.2241

37

Homewood25,900258.73,992.31,005

21

Hoover84,843115.52,660.2624

27

Hueytown15,809272.03,751.0968

76

Huntsville187,624781.94,882.61,602

31

Irondale12,387468.23,253.41,025

41

Jacksonville12,462537.63,691.21,168

78

Jasper14,182810.97,869.12,223

77

Lanett6,4841,095.07,572.52,390

50

Leeds11,934511.14,374.11,284

56

Lincoln6,345551.65,516.21,545

22

Madison46,441323.02,030.5664

52

Millbrook15,221486.24,460.91,281

72

Mobile250,655593.64,629.11,401

75

Monroeville6,2421,073.46,664.52,192

20

Montevallo6,641376.42,318.9765

66

Montgomery200,194522.54,508.11,320

6

Moody12,549119.51,761.1448

57

Muscle Shoals13,584331.35,786.21,422

43

Northport24,765363.44,005.71,092

23

Oneonta6,701328.33,104.0883

69

Opelika29,201643.85,554.61,626

13

Opp6,699328.41,806.2624

53

Oxford21,208344.24,903.81,256

61

Ozark14,845451.36,062.61,574

7

Pelham22,50188.91,835.5438

10

Pell City13,530140.42,113.8535

73

Phenix City38,673643.95,818.01,679

28

Prattville35,530228.03,585.7900

79

Prichard22,3441,409.85,939.02,316

5

Rainbow City9,668103.41,530.8389

17

Rainsville5,030258.42,703.8748

9

Roanoke6,029182.52,156.2577

32

Robertsdale5,765260.24,579.41,124

38

Russellville9,798367.44,235.61,141

30

Saraland13,735298.53,858.81,011

2

Satsuma6,156113.71,072.1305

42

Scottsboro14,846431.14,021.31,149

81

Selma19,7051,370.210,504.93,197

63

Sheffield9,123800.25,184.71,677

4

Southside8,564128.41,389.5381

62

Sylacauga12,722558.15,769.51,600

74

Talladega15,799784.96,538.41,936

64

Tarrant6,259607.16,374.81,761

60

Troy19,097659.84,932.71,514

59

Tuscaloosa96,412483.34,292.01,245

40

Tuscumbia8,574524.83,895.51,199

70

Tuskegee8,8421,029.25,349.51,893

68

Valley9,508767.85,837.21,782

3

Vestavia Hills34,00964.71,340.8320

35

Wetumpka7,573303.74,476.41,138

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