Last year was Birmingham’s most violent year since the early 1990s, and several sources have ranked the city one of the most unsafe in the country. Meanwhile, Birmingham suburbs like Vestavia Hills and Mountian Brook had considerably low crime rates in 2022, and Vestavia even ranked among the safest places to live in the United States.
According to the Birmingham Police Department, the city has seen 46 homicides this year. Three of the homicides were justified. This time last year, Birmingham had already experienced 48. By the end of the year, Birmingham experienced 144.
Recently, the BPD addressed the continuing violent crime wave in a statement following five shootings over the weekend of May 20. BPD assistant public information officer Truman Fitzgerald said that the police department continues to see violence stemming from unresolved disputes.
BPD jurisdiction only extends to a central portion of the metropolitan area, and many of the city’s suburbs lie in separate municipalities that are not included in the city’s crime statistics.
1819 News used Neighborhood Scout to analyze crime statistics in Birmingham and 25 surrounding municipalities. Neighborhood Scout purports to provide crime risk analytics with 98% accuracy. It claims to use data from local authorities and updates its statistics annually.
In 2022, Birmingham’s overall crime rate was 77.09 per 1,000 people. Its violent crime rate was 20.57, and its property crime rate was 56.52. The highest crime areas within Birmingham city limits include North Central Birmingham, Ensley, Jones Valley and Garden Highlands.
Meanwhile, the crime rate for Alabama was only 31.82 per 1,000 people. Its violent crime rate was 5.96, and its property crime rate was 25.85. The national median is 4 for violent crime and 25.85 for property crime, totaling 29.85 per 1,000 people.
Neighborhood Scout ranked Birmingham seventh in its “Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.” However, another Birmingham area municipality made it even higher on the list.
Neighborhood Scout ranked Bessemer the most dangerous city in America, with a violent crime rate of 33.18 and a property crime rate of 79.33 per 1,000 people, totaling 112.51. In 2022, Neighborhood Scout reported 850 violent crimes and 2,032 property crimes in the city of just 25,615 residents.
Several other Birmingham suburbs had crime rates higher than Alabama’s, including Pell City at 33.06, Homewood at 34.77, Hueytown at 34.9, Center Point at 36.92 and Adamsville at 61.48. Gardendale and Irondale’s crime rates at 29.01 and 30.11, respectively, did not exceed Alabama’s crime rate but exceeded the national median.
Nevertheless, other Birmingham-area suburbs had crime rates lower than the national median. Less populous municipalities Chelsea, Adger and Pinson all had total crime rates of less than 8.
Vestavia Hills had a total crime rate of 8.09 per 1,000 people, mostly due to property crime. Vestavia’s violent crime was considerably low, at 0.62, despite being one of Birmingham’s most populous suburbs and a little over a ten-minute drive from some of the city's most dangerous areas.
Vestavia had the lowest total crime rate out of all municipalities in the Birmingham area exceeding 20,000 people. It even made it in Neighborhood Scout’s “Safest Cities in America - 2023” in 89th place.
After Vestavia came Morris with a total crime rate of 8.87 per 1,000 people, Alabaster at 9.12, Clay at 9.7, Helena at 9.97, Mountain Brook at 10.24, Pleasant Grove at 12.53, Mulga at 12.87, McCalla at 14.27, Trussville at 16.22, Pelham at 16.4, Moody at 18.73 and Hoover at 21.53.
Morris, Alabaster, Mountain Brook and Trussville all had violent crime rates of less than 1 per 1,000 people.
Overall, Birmingham and its surrounding suburbs had a crime rate of 39.57 per 1,000 residents. Its violent crime rate was 9.08, and its property crime rate was 30.51.
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