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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:

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 City Crime Score
1 Helena  511
2 Satsuma  579
3 Vestavia Hills  725
4 Southside  749
5 Rainbow City  775
6 Moody  918
7 Pelham  954
9 Roanoke  1,091
10 Pell City  1,105
11 Hartselle  1,155
12 Daphne  1,165
13 Opp  1,194
14 Alabaster  1,203
15 Hamilton  1,215
16 Daleville  1,360
17 Rainsville  1,383
18 Athens  1,387
19 Glencoe  1,424
20 Montevallo  1,462
21 Hoover  1,539
22 Madison  1,551
23 Oneonta  1,690
24 Albertville  1,698
25 Auburn  1,722
26 Fairhope  1,852
27 Hueytown  2,032
28 Prattville  2,047
29 Gardendale  2,048
30 Saraland  2,091
31 Irondale  2,098
32 Robertsdale  2,114
33 Cullman  2,160
34 Enterprise  2,180
35 Wetumpka  2,208
36 Bay Minette  2,217
37 Homewood  2,219
38 Russellville  2,277
39 Atmore  2,285
40 Tuscumbia  2,358
41 Jacksonville  2,393
42 Scottsboro  2,397
43 Northport  2,399
44 Eufaula  2,458
45 Decatur  2,465
46 Demopolis  2,557
47 Foley  2,579
48 Florence  2,614
49 Greenville  2,616
50 Leeds  2,617
51 Brewton  2,655
52 Millbrook  2,679
53 Oxford  2,717
54 Chickasaw  2,845
55 Alexander City  2,915
56 Lincoln  2,936
57 Muscle Shoals  2,939
58 Gulf Shores  3,064
59 Tuscaloosa  3,103
60 Troy  3,241
61 Ozark  3,282
62 Sylacauga  3,284
63 Sheffield  3,321
64 Tarrant  3,342
65 Guntersville  3,400
66 Montgomery  3,498
67 Arab  3,520
68 Valley  3,544
69 Opelika  3,630
70 Tuskegee  3,736
71 Clanton  3,767
72 Mobile5  3,781
73 Phenix City  3,850
74 Talladega  4,063
75 Monroeville  4,159
76 Huntsville  4,224
77 Lanett  4,556
78 Jasper  4,614
79 Prichard  5,035
80 Gadsden  5,303
81 Selma  6,865
82 Birmingham  6,882
83 Anniston  7,437

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 City Population Violent
Crime per 100K
Property
Crime per 100K
Crime Score
14 Alabaster  31,568  183.7  1,938.7  535
24 Albertville  21,655  106.2  3,491.1  783
55 Alexander City 14,887  544.1  4,809.6  1,397
83 Anniston  22,567  2,375.1  7,581.9  3,416
67 Arab  8,369  549.6  6,775.0  1,795
18 Athens  24,521  24.5  3,062.7  632
39 Atmore  10,093  733.2  2,774.2  1,141
25 Auburn  59,854  210.5  2,763.4  721
36 Bay Minette  9,087  517.2  3,532.5  1,120
82 Birmingham  212,115  1,588.3  6,566.7  2,584
51 Brewton  5,445  679.5  4,389.3  1,421
54 Chickasaw  5,989  534.3  5,393.2  1,506
71 Clanton  8,773  512.9  7,500.3  1,910
33 Cullman  15,086  172.3  4,481.0  1,034
16 Daleville  5,159  445.8  1,880.2  733
12 Daphne  24,111  170.0  1,978.4  532
45 Decatur  55,836  200.6  4,389.6  1,038
46 Demopolis  7,161  670.3  3,952.0  1,327
34 Enterprise  28,031  374.6  3,403.4  980
44 Eufaula  12,874  567.0  3,712.9  1,196
26 Fairhope  17,914  301.4  3,148.4  871
48 Florence  40,236  502.0  3,668.4  1,135
47 Foley  16,101  316.8  4,863.1  1,226
80 Gadsden  36,455  982.0  7,697.2  2,325
29 Gardendale  13,697  211.7  4,103.1  990
19 Glencoe  5,193  346.6  2,445.6  766
49 Greenville  7,863  610.5  4,273.2  1,343
58 Gulf Shores  10,927  375.2  6,085.8  1,517
65 Guntersville  8,404  499.8  6,663.5  1,733
15 Hamilton  6,782  250.7  2,167.5  634
11 Hartselle  14,519  124.0  2,279.8  555
1 Helena  17,700  96.0  819.2  241
37 Homewood  25,900  258.7  3,992.3  1,005
21 Hoover  84,843  115.5  2,660.2  624
27 Hueytown  15,809  272.0  3,751.0  968
76 Huntsville  187,624  781.9  4,882.6  1,602
31 Irondale  12,387  468.2  3,253.4  1,025
41 Jacksonville  12,462  537.6  3,691.2  1,168
78 Jasper  14,182  810.9  7,869.1  2,223
77 Lanett  6,484  1,095.0  7,572.5  2,390
50 Leeds  11,934  511.1  4,374.1  1,284
56 Lincoln  6,345  551.6  5,516.2  1,545
22 Madison  46,441  323.0  2,030.5  664
52 Millbrook  15,221  486.2  4,460.9  1,281
72 Mobile  250,655  593.6  4,629.1  1,401
75 Monroeville  6,242  1,073.4  6,664.5  2,192
20 Montevallo  6,641  376.4  2,318.9  765
66 Montgomery  200,194  522.5  4,508.1  1,320
6 Moody  12,549  119.5  1,761.1  448
57 Muscle Shoals  13,584  331.3  5,786.2  1,422
43 Northport  24,765  363.4  4,005.7  1,092
23 Oneonta  6,701  328.3  3,104.0  883
69 Opelika  29,201  643.8  5,554.6  1,626
13 Opp  6,699  328.4  1,806.2  624
53 Oxford  21,208  344.2  4,903.8  1,256
61 Ozark  14,845  451.3  6,062.6  1,574
7 Pelham  22,501  88.9  1,835.5  438
10 Pell City  13,530  140.4  2,113.8  535
73 Phenix City  38,673  643.9  5,818.0  1,679
28 Prattville  35,530  228.0  3,585.7  900
79 Prichard  22,344  1,409.8  5,939.0  2,316
5 Rainbow City  9,668  103.4  1,530.8  389
17 Rainsville  5,030  258.4  2,703.8  748
9 Roanoke  6,029  182.5  2,156.2  577
32 Robertsdale  5,765  260.2  4,579.4  1,124
38 Russellville  9,798  367.4  4,235.6  1,141
30 Saraland  13,735  298.5  3,858.8  1,011
2 Satsuma  6,156  113.7  1,072.1  305
42 Scottsboro  14,846  431.1  4,021.3  1,149
81 Selma  19,705  1,370.2  10,504.9  3,197
63 Sheffield  9,123  800.2  5,184.7  1,677
4 Southside  8,564  128.4  1,389.5  381
62 Sylacauga  12,722  558.1  5,769.5  1,600
74 Talladega  15,799  784.9  6,538.4  1,936
64 Tarrant  6,259  607.1  6,374.8  1,761
60 Troy  19,097  659.8  4,932.7  1,514
59 Tuscaloosa  96,412  483.3  4,292.0  1,245
40 Tuscumbia  8,574  524.8  3,895.5  1,199
70 Tuskegee  8,842  1,029.2  5,349.5  1,893
68 Valley  9,508  767.8  5,837.2  1,782
3 Vestavia Hills  34,009  64.7  1,340.8  320
35 Wetumpka  7,573  303.7  4,476.4  1,138

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