Alabama is number one in the alphabet. We are also used to competing for the top five nationally in:

College football

College basketball

Heavy-weight boxing

Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

Space program


The Voice

American Idol


What am I leaving out? The many fields of excellence in Alabama could fill an entire article.

Now, two Alabama cities have scored in the top five nationally in a field that we do not want, that we need to do something about. Strongly. Unequivocally. Now.

Bessemer and Birmingham, side-by-side cities in Alabama’s populous Jefferson County, have hit the national top five in crime – not a distinction, but potentially an extinction.

The crime wave in Bessemer and Birmingham is so noteworthy that it is also newsworthy. National news. Fox News is opining about the Alabama crime wave as I am writing this. 

Alabama’s Wetumpka Herald detailed the nation’s top five crime cities:

Every city has some level of crime, but these five cities experience an immense amount.


1) Bessemer, Alabama. With 27,000 residents, Bessemer is the most dangerous city in America. You have a 1 in 9 chance of being a crime victim.


2) Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis has a crime rate 237% higher than the national average, so if you're looking to see where Elvis grew up, keep your wits about you.


3) St. Louis, Missouri. If you're in St. Louis, you have a 1 in 50 chance of being a victim of a crime. The city has very high poverty and unemployment rates.


4) Detroit, Michigan. "The Motor City," famous for its auto manufacturing, is also notorious for its crime, with a rate many times the national average.


5) Birmingham, Alabama. Local authorities have attempted to reduce crime in Birmingham, but it still remains higher than 98% of the country.

Is there a common thread among the city leaders in the crime contest? Yes. All five are governed by Democrats. Bessemer and Birmingham technically have nonpartisan municipal elections – no primaries, just all candidates running in a “jungle” election. However, the local political reality is that both are Democrat-dominated. In Bessemer and Birmingham, only Democrats are elected as mayor and in council seats, except in the handful of Lilly-white districts.

With the mayor and councils of both Alabama cities controlled by Democrats, they inflict:

Woke policies. Softness on victims’ rights. Weak support for law enforcement. Lenient bail and sentencing. No leadership on preventing crime. Blaming everyone but themselves. No accountability.

Little wonder that Bessemer and Birmingham are leaders in national crime statistics.

With these two Alabama cities being close neighbors, there is obviously a concerning regional problem with crime. If the city governments do not step up, take the leadership and begin an effective crime-fighting plan, will Alabama’s state government step in? 

State Rep. Reed Ingram (R-Montgomery) has filed a bill that could be the first step in providing state government leadership on crime fighting when the local governments fail.

RELATED: State Rep. Ingram proposes state intervention for failing municipal police departments

Bessemer is number one.

Under Mayor Ken Gulley, Bessemer has 33.18 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

Birmingham scored number five. Mayor Randall Woodfin sometimes talks about his crime problem, but is he walking the walk or just talking the talk?

This new crime report comes at a critical point in the national discussion of crime. There is a growing sense of unease about crime across the nation.

Crime should be a nonpartisan issue or maybe a bipartisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, independents, Kennedy supporters and others should all be against crime and for tough preventives. But when it comes to election time, they are not.

Democrats tend to elect soft-on-crime officials and those with no willingness to “own” the problem and take bold steps.

The 2024 elections could serve as a referendum on which party is bold enough to ensure the safety and security of all Americans, regardless of where they live or their socioeconomic status. The outcome could determine the direction of crime prevention and law enforcement policies for years, even decades, making it one of the most consequential elections in recent memory. 

While crime fighting is mostly a local, hands-on task, the federal government has many roles: Federal laws; federal courts; lack of border enforcement; legitimizing sanctuary cities; economic policies that ruin industries and destroy jobs; resources for local law enforcement; backing the blue instead of handcuffing the blue. 

The difference between the two major parties on crime fighting is clear and should be obvious to voters. One party takes crime-fighting more seriously than the other. One party has a plan for crime fighting. One party sides with victims, and the other with criminals. With the November 5 general elections approaching, crime should be a pivotal point of demarcation.

There is an old saying, so old it was heard well before Facebook: “A Democrat is someone who has not yet been mugged.”

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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