People looking to relocate have a lot of things to think about, and one of those is definitely how safe an area is. If you’re moving to Alabama, you may be at a total loss when deciding which place is safe enough for you. That’s what we’re here to help with.
Here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’ve analyzed crime data from the Heart of Dixie to produce a ranking of the 10 safest places therein. Helena came out on top, joined by nine other low-crime places:
1. City of Helena
2. City of Mountain Brook
3. City of Vestavia Hills
4. City of Pleasant Grove
5. City of Alabaster
6. City of Hartselle
7. City of Fort Payne
8. City of Madison
9. City of Hoover
10. City of Moody
How We Created This Ranking
Our ranking is based on the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report and covers all places in Alabama with populations of 10,000 or larger. If your city doesn’t appear, it’s because local law enforcement does not report crime statistics to the FBI.
We gathered data for seven types of crime:
- Vehicle theft
We then divided these crimes into four distinct categories:
- Violent crimes
- Property crimes
- Total crimes
To create our ranking, we calculated the number of each type of crime on a per 100,000 person basis. This ensured that places with different population sizes could be compared fairly, and is a common practice in comparing crime rates.
Using this data, we ranked each place from 1 to 52 for each crime category, with one being safest. We then weighted the ranking so that murder, violent crime, and property crime each comprised 30 percent of the final score, while total crime made up 10 percent.
The place with the lowest average of these weighted rankings was our safest, and that happened to be the small city of Helena.
The first place on our list is a very small city, with a population of only 16,793. With that small town feel comes a sense of safety, one that the numbers absolutely back up. To start with, there were no murders at all in this little place, and very few violent crimes in general, where it ranked No. 3 for that criteria.
There was also nearly no property crime with 1,020 crimes per 100,000 people, which scored No. 1 for that criteria. Residents had just a 1 in 92 chance of being a victim of any crime here in 2012, and it would most likely be property crime rather than things like murder or assault.
2. Mountain Brook
Mountain Brook may have placed No. 2, but it was only .025 behind the first place city in Big Deal Score. Again, there were no murders reported in 2012 here and very low property crime. There were also no rapes reported and there were only 24 assaults per 100,000 people, which gave Mountain Brook place the No. 1 score as far as lowest violent crime.
The only reason that this place was not No. 1 is that it has only slightly higher property crime than Helena, ranking No. 3 for that criterion. The chance of being a victim of a crime here was 1 in 66.
3. Vestavia Hills
Sticking with the trend so far, no murders were reported here in 2012, and there was low violent crime as well as property crime, both of which ranked No. 2 for their categories. This means that the total crime ranking here was No. 3. Locals had merely a 1 in 65 chance of being the victim of a crime, and that would most likely be property crime rather than something violent.
4. Pleasant Grove
The “Good Neighbor City” had no murders reported in 2012 and no robberies reported, either. There were few vehicle thefts, and only 168 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Property crime was tied for the third lowest, and the total crime ranking was fourth.
Violent crime did rank No. 11, but the numbers are still lower than most in the nation, and the chance of being a victim of a crime here was only 1 in 61.
Yet another city that had no murders reported for 2012, alabaster also had very low property crime, ranking seventh safest overall for that criterion. The total crime rank here was No. 7 as well, with locals only having a 1 in 42 chance of being the victim of any sort of crime.
The violent crime ranking here was No. 9, which is the main reason this place didn’t score higher. But with six rapes per 100,000 people and 133 assaults per 100,000 people, this city is still much safer than most others in the state.
Hartselle kept up up the trend of no murders reported in 2012, and had the sixth lowest violent crime on out list. The property crime was admittedly a bit higher than some others in our top 10 and ranked No. 11 for that criteria. In particular, this small city had 2,128 thefts per 100,000 and 542 burglaries per 100,000. That’s still quite a bit lower than the majority of places on our overall list.
While the chance of being a victim of a crime was 1 in 34 here, quite a bit higher than elsewhere in the top 10, the likelihood of being the victim of a violent crime here was very very low.
7. Fort Payne
This place is downright peaceful with (yet again) no murders in 2012 and the No. 8 low violent crime ranking as well. Property crime ranked No. 13, a bit higher than the rest of our top 10, but still very low with merely 3,306 property crimes per 100,000 people. Compared with much larger places like Montgomery, which has 5,769 property crimes per 100,000 people, it’s really not bad.
Because Fort Payne is still very small city, the likelihood of you being the victim of a crime is only 1 in 29. Still, this place has a great small town feel that’s perfect for families, singles, and retirees alike.
This is one of the larger cities on our top 10 with a population of 42,938. you might think that a bigger place means more crime, but here that simply isn’t the case. For starters, the property crime ranked only No. 9 for that criteria, and there were no murders in 2012. All that comes out to this place having the No. 9 total crime ranking and a 1 in 38 chance of being a victim of a crime.
Hoover had the fourth lowest violent crime ranking and the 10th lowest property crime, with only 2,647 crimes per 100,000 people.
Why is this place not higher in the standings? Unfortunately, Hoover is one of only two cities in our top 10 that had any murders in 2012, a fact that bumped its murders per 100,000 ranking to No. 18. Beyond that, this is one seriously safe city.
Last on our top 10 list is the 11,726 person city of Moody, with no rapes reported in 2012 and very few assaults per 100,000 people. The violent crime ranking here was seventh overall and the property crime was ranked fifth lowest. All this added up to locals only having a 1 in 60 chance of being the victim of a crime.
While this place only had one murder reported in 2012, its population is so low that the murders per 100,000 ranked 32nd.
Sweet Home Alabama
After reading this, we’re sure Alabamians can breathe a sigh of relief. The places in this state are pretty safe in general, and many of our top 10 have strong, thriving, and friendly communities. All this and more make the Yellowhammer State a great place to call home.