Considered the “Heart of Dixie,” Alabama is best known for reaching critical Civil Rights milestones with Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s also the birthplace of American legends like Channing Tatum and Helen Keller.
In addition, the state’s love for college football and being the leading provider of steel piping is a testament to the state’s diversity.
If you’re considering visiting Alabama, it’s essential to understand the most dangerous places.
So keep reading to find out!
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Alabama
- 5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Alabama
- Alabama Safety Overview
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Most Dangerous Cities in Alabama
The top spot for the most dangerous cities in Alabama is Anniston, a town of 22,400 individuals.
Located in the state’s northeastern section, Anniston has consistently been rated as one of the worst cities in Alabama to live in.
The violent crime rate is 2,992 per 100,000 people, even with visible police presence around town.
This means Anniston has a 68% higher violent crime rate than the U.S. average.
Visitors and residents have a 1 in 10 chance of becoming the victim of a crime, so it’s best to limit daytime and nighttime activities and avoid this city if possible.
With a small population of just under 11,000, crime rates in Fairfield are 219% higher than the Alabama average and 308% greater than the U.S. average.
Fairfield is the 34th worst place to live in the U.S., with violent and property crimes remaining steady over the past few years.
The most recent numbers show 1,181 violent crimes and 880 property crimes, meaning Fairfield is a violent place to visit.
Walking around during the day is safe, but avoid going out at night unless you have rides prepared in advance.
Number three on this list is Bessemer, a southwestern section of Birmingham with a population of 26,800.
Bessemer is best known for its limestone, iron ore, and coal reserves, thus being a steelmaking hub.
Unfortunately, as the sixth worst place to live in Alabama, Bessemer has a high crime rate, despite a 25% decrease over the past few years.
Total crime is around 4,500 per 100,000 inhabitants, with violent crime being 721 and property crime making up 3,371 incidences.
Known as The Magic City due to its massive growth in the steel and iron manufacturing industries, Birmingham is the largest city in the state, with over 212,000 inhabitants.
Due to the high number of murders (88), the city has more murders per capita than most larger cities.
During the day or night, avoiding certain areas, like downtown, Ensley, and Norwood, is advisable due to gang violence.
While police patrolling is prevalent downtown, incidences continue to occur.
The suburbs, including English Village, Brook Highland, and Vestavia Hills, are much safer, with public transportation to and from downtown safe.
With a city of 22,300 residents, Prichard has a low livability score, primarily due to the overall crime rate being 2.1 times higher than the national average and 97.3% higher than other U.S. cities.
After 2017, crime dropped to 32%, with murders and violent crime events hitting 1,193.
Prichard was ranked as the 12th worst place to live in the U.S. despite criminal activity decreasing due to police engagement.
Daytime activities continued to be safe but avoided going out at night, especially as a solo female traveler.
With only 6,200 residents, Lanette is a tiny town in east-central Alabama with a crime rate that’s three times higher than the national average.
Twenty years ago, Lanette was plagued by gang violence and gang wars.
However, in the early 2010s, the local government focused on removing gang concerns in this small city.
Recently, the crime rate has declined due to the lack of gang presence, but violent crime has increased compared to the previous five years.
Property crime is on a downward trend, however.
Walking around during the day is safe, but at night, there are often crowds of individuals in alleyways and on street corners, so staying at home is advised.
The chances of becoming the victim of a crime in this small town are 1 in 11.
In south-central Alabama, Selma has a lengthy history of the drug trade, crime, and gang violence.
In the early 2000s, Selma experienced gang wars that resulted in many shootings.
With a population of only 19,500 residents, it continues to have a high crime rate for its small size, with violent crime incidences of 13.70 incidences per 1,000 people and a property crime rate of 105.05 per 1,000 individuals.
However, crime has fallen 5% recently, making Selma just 7% safer than other U.S. cities.
In specific areas of town, the police are rarely seen patrolling, and walking around at night is not advisable.
As a city involved in the Civil War, Gadsden tells the story of part of Alabama’s history and emergence as a steel, textile, and manufacturing industrial location.
With a population of 36,300 residents, the area has 1,000 violent crimes per 100,000 people, 179% higher than the U.S. average.
Also, property crimes are at 7,000 per 100,000 residents, despite a strong police presence.
Exploring during the day is safe, but it’s essential to be vigilant if trekking out at night, especially as a solo female traveler.
Public transit is a safe option for getting around town, day or night.
Number nine is Tarrant, a tiny town of only 6,300 residents.
While no significant worries exist regarding touring the area during the day and female solo travelers will be safe, the area has a crime rate 143% higher than the state average and 210% higher than the national average, with a low livability score.
There were 511 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and 2,674 property crimes per 100,000 people.
The town has been known to have a few panhandlers and pickpockets attempting to scam locals and visitors, but public transit is generally safe.
The town of Troy boasts a population of just under 19,000 and has double the average violent crime rate in the U.S., with 445 violent crimes and 676 property crimes.
The city has experienced decreased violent crimes but increased property crimes in recent years, so Troy is number 10 on this list.
Walking around and enjoying outdoor activities is safe during the day, but nighttime strolls and exercises should be enjoyed with caution.
Several recommended hotels exist in the area with robust security, but don’t walk around with large sums of cash or flash valuables.
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Alabama
One: Be Prepared for the Heat
Given its location in the U.S., Alabama’s summer heat and humidity can be treacherous.
While most places are air-conditioned if you plan to hike in the summer, be prepared with plenty of bug spray, sunscreen, and water, and dress accordingly.
Also, the winters in Alabama are mild, dry, and comfortable, but the state is known to get ice storms which can be hazardous when driving or walking.
Two: Never Flash Valuables in Public
Alabama is a poor state, with many individuals and families below the national poverty line.
High crime rates, including theft, flashing cash, jewelry, or expensive electronic items in public, can make you a target for crime.
Therefore, don’t bring expensive items when visiting or keep them in the hotel safe.
Three: Be Aware of your Surroundings
Navigating Alabama’s colorful neighborhoods is a must when visiting the state.
However, always be aware of your surroundings; if you have a bad feeling, go the other way.
There are countless safe places to visit during the day and night where you will never have a problem, but never let your guard down, and always know your quickest route out of an area.
Four: Stay Away from Protests
Protests are an American right and can be impactful unless they turn violent.
Unfortunately, many protest types in the U.S. begin as a good idea but turn ugly instantly.
If you see a large mob gathering, go the other way or stay away from them.
Remember, their cause is not your fight, and you don’t want to get wrapped up in a situation that can cause injury or arrest when visiting.
Five: Be Careful When Camping
If you’re headed to the Alabama wilderness, know plenty of dangerous and poisonous wild animals can cause injury.
The best steps to take are notifying the ranger’s office of your visit, itinerary, and return date and bringing a medical kit in case an injury occurs.
Also, never veer off designated paths and camp at predetermined campsites.
Alabama Safety Overview
READ THE FULL REPORT: Alabama Safety ReviewSafety Index:
- OVERALL RISK: LOW
- TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
- PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
- NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
- MUGGING RISK: LOW
- TERRORISM RISK: LOW
- SCAMS RISK: LOW
- WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Frequently Asked Questions
Was Alabama a high-crime state in 2022?
Yes, the violent and property crime statistics show that Alabama has higher than the national average crime rates.
On the plus side, both crime types have decreased year over year.
What's the nicest city in Alabama?
Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, is ranked as the best place to live in the state due to the countless family-friendly activities like riverside parks, museums, zoos, outdoor attractions, and festivals.
What are the most common property crimes in Alabama?
Like most states, robbery, and theft are the state’s two most common property crimes, comprising 71% of all property crimes.
The next closest crime is a burglary at 19%, compared to 16% nationally.